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Thursday February 22, 2024

Treatment on health card to continue but not for all: Punjab ministers

The ministers say those who travel abroad or afford Rs8,000 or more mobile phone bills are not eligible for free treatment

By News Desk
July 03, 2023
Treatment on health card to continue but not for all.—The News/file
Treatment on health card to continue but not for all.—The News/file 

LAHORE: Punjab caretaker ministers Dr Javed Akram and Amir Mir announced on Sunday that treatment through the health card would continue but everyone would not be entitled to benefit from it.

Addressing a press conference here, they said that from now onwards, all those who travel abroad or afford a mobile phone bill of Rs8,000 or more would not be eligible for free treatment on the health card.

“If someone’s mobile [phone] bill is Rs8,000 and electricity bill is Rs100,000, then the individual is not poor. We will acquire deserving persons’ data from the Social Welfare Department now. The caretaker government has no political motive behind the health cards,” they added.

“If someone wants to get medical treatment from a private hospital, then the individual should bear 30 per cent of expenses and the remaining 70pc will be borne by the government,” the minister said. Caretaker Health Minister Dr Javed Akram said there was a gross misuse of health cards, introduced by the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. He said the policy decision was taken to save drain of funds. He claimed that the misuse of health card depleted resources.

To address the issue, a Rs1.5 billion fund had been established, and only the government hospitals would provide free heart treatment. Additionally, the minister said, the government had decided to restrict the presence of Pakistani flag on the health card.

Information Minister Amir Mir clarified that the health card programme would continue with some limitations. He claimed that the health card had been misused in the past, leading to individuals profiting from it. He said the Sehat Card Scheme had been launched in Nawaz Sharif’s era in 2015 only for deserving persons.

Dr Javed Akram announced that Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) would be used as Sehat Health Cards to avoid misuse of the health insurance facility. He alleged that some people became millionaires through the Sehat Cards due to its misuse. “The Benazir Income Support Programme’s data is incomplete. The programme had been started for the poor people. It was detected that stents were unnecessarily used on account of health cards,” he added. To a question, the health minister said the election commission was responsible for conducting polls, but not the caretaker government.