Budget 2018: Seeking to allay concerns about the funding of the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) announced in the Union Budget, Health Minister J P Nadda today assured that finances will never be a problem and said the Centre was working out the nitty-gritties of the programe. Touted to be the world’s largest government-funded health care programme, the scheme is aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary health care. “We will give the details but not today. We are working on the nitty-gritties. We have to work that out with all other departments as well. We will give the details (later),” Nadda told reporters here without explaining the modalities of how the government proposes to go about implementing the scheme.
He said the government is committed to roll out this programme. “We have made all arrangements for it.” He said every aspect of the scheme “has been calculated” and the details of the programme will only be shared when the government is ready to roll it out. Asked who will pay the premium for the scheme, Nadda said “The government will pay for the premium with state’s share. For this Rs 2,000 crore has been kept for it as of now.”
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The National Health Protection Scheme, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday in his Budget 2018 speech, will cover approximately 50 crore people. “History is witness that whatever we (the BJP-led government) have committed, we have completed. That is why finance is not the problem, has never been the problem and will never remain a problem,” Nadda said. Asked about an earlier scheme where the government had announced a Rs 1-lakh coverage, Nadda said that under that programme, there were only four crore beneficiaries, whose number has been enhanced now.
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He said state governments are ready for implementing the scheme and the financial arrangements will be made accordingly. “States have to decide whether they want to subsume with this (scheme) or they want to run on their own,” he said. The health minister said there were a lot of operational problems in the earlier scheme which have been rectified in the present one. He said that all the diseases will be covered under the scheme.
“It is not only an insurance. There are many models which we are going to work out. That is why I am not saying now. We will come out with a full programme. We are going fast on it,” he said, adding that the government is committed on it. He said no specific date for the roll out has been fixed as yet, but it will be done “very soon”.