Karnataka, Center Join Hands for a Healthy Drive

The state government has decided to merge its Arogya Karnataka program with the center’s Ayushman Bharat, the national health protection scheme, and Minister for Health and Family Welfare Minister Shivananda Patil said it could cost ₹1000 crore on the state exchequer. The minister said the state government will have to spend more money from its kitty as all the beneficiaries are not likely to be covered by the center. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Ayushman Bharat would come to effect by end of September, the state government of Karnataka has been in a fix to merge the schemes. Shivananda Patil said, “We have become liberal now in our decisions and are planning to merge both the schemes and work hand-in-hand with the health policies. It is not the question of who (the state or the Center) is going to get the name and fame for this program. The co-branding exercise is in people’s interest. We want to secure the future of people in the state.” This is likely to cost an additional burden of ₹1000 crore on the state exchequer.

Patil said that while the state government’s Arogya Bhagya program will cover 1.43 crore families, the Center’s program will cover only around 62 lakh families. He explains, “The center is likely to fund 60 percent of the cost for only the 62 lakh families, while the remaining 40 percent will have to be borne by the state government. We will shell out the entire cost of the remaining families that we have decided to provide.” He also said the proposal would be placed before the Cabinet shortly. He also said that this decision had been taken after Chief Minister of HD Kumaraswamy gave the nod. Not just that, while the state government program has an annual health coverage of ₹1.5 lakh a year for a family of five and an additional assistance of ₹50,000 in some cases, it will now expand to ₹5 lakh a year per family. From where will the state get the extra money at a time when the state is reeling under financial crisis? – India Times

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