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05 Feb 2018

Government mulls using Aadhaar for 'Modicare'

Will Aadhaar be mandatory for Modicare too?

One of the biggest announcements in Budget 2018 was the National Health Protection Scheme, or 'Modicare,' the "world's largest government-funded program."

It will have 50cr beneficiaries. In comparison, the LPG subsidy scheme has just 14-15cr subscribers.

Even as the SC hears petitions against Aadhaar, the government is mulling using the unique ID for Modicare, reports ET.

Aadhaar will have many benefits, officials said.

In context

Will Aadhaar be mandatory for Modicare too?


About Modicare, the "world's largest government-funded program"

Under Modicare, each of 10cr poor families, about 50cr beneficiaries overall, will get up to Rs. 5L annually for secondary and tertiary healthcare.

It will help India realize the goal of Universal Health Coverage and also generate jobs, Jaitley said.

Apart from this, the government will set up 1.5L health and wellness centers for free diagnostic services and essential drugs.

Additional 1% levy to raise Rs. 11,000cr for the scheme

The government has levied a 1% cess to raise Rs. 11,000cr for this scheme. UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan explains that under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, schemes where money is spent from the Consolidated Fund of India have to be linked to Aadhaar.

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How will Aadhaar help the scheme?

Using Aadhaar for managing beneficiaries will have several benefits, officials said. For one, it will help genuine applicants get services conveniently, Bhushan said.

"This will also enable quick start of treatment once a person reaches hospital," a government official said.

If a person gets hospitalized frequently, the system will detect it and can prevent fraud "if a patient is repeatedly conniving with a doctor."


Center mulls direct transfers to hospitals' bank accounts

Beneficiaries for Modicare will be chosen based on Socio-Economic Caste Census data, officials said.

The Center is considering using Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) here and transferring the insurance claim directly to the hospital's bank account.

It is already following this scheme in fertilizer subsidy, where it transfers the money to accounts of fertilizer companies once farmers have authenticated themselves with Aadhaar.


Ahead of elections, proper implementation is crucial for the govt

Critics have raised concerns over how money would be raised for this ambitious scheme. Presently, just Rs. 2,000cr has been allocated to it.

Incidentally, the government had announced the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana in 2016 to give a cover of Rs. 1L for one-third of the population. It never took off.

But the success (or failure) of Modicare might affect the 2019 polls.

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