15 states, 5 UTs to join national health scheme

Fifteen states, mostly ruled by the BJP and its allies, and five Union territories on Thursday joined the central government's flagship Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission, under which 10.74 crore families would be provided with Rs 5 lakh annual medical insurance cover.

Health Ministry officials hope at least another five states would join the scheme — dubbed as Modicare after Prime Minister Narendra Modi — by the end of June.

Left-ruled Kerala formed a committee to decide whether it suits them to join the central scheme, while non-BJP states such as West Bengal, Punjab, Odisha and Delhi remain undecided. The new government in Karnataka is also yet to decide.

After signing a memorandum of understanding with the BJP-led states and UTs, Union Health minister J P Nadda said the success of the flagship scheme would hinge upon the active participation of the states.

"States need to own the scheme while the Centre will design the policy framework with all possible flexibility and support. We shall work together, learn together, so that we work with the spirit of cooperative federalism, to perfect the largest health assurance scheme in the world,” he said.

Nadda said 80% of the beneficiaries in the rural areas have been identified based on the socio-economic caste census of 2011. People from poor and marginalised section of the society in rural and urban areas would be elgible for the cashless treatment facilities.

At the moment, the government finalsed the package rates of 1,352 treatment protocols and surgeries. While private hospitals oppose the rates proposed by the government, Nadda said discussions with the hospital and medical insurance companies were going on to bring everyone on board.

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15 states, 5 UTs to join national health scheme

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