For health card program, Dr Yasmin Rashid, president of the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf (PTI) Central Punjab, says the “anti-poor people” PDM’s government is planning to roll back the Universal Health Insurance being offered through the Sehat Sahulat Card, depriving the masses of decent healthcare indoor facilities across the province and federally administered areas.”
Asserting that the health card program is in danger, former health minister Dr Rashid on Monday told a news conference at the party office that the Sehat Sahulat Card had revolutionsed the healtcare services for every person in Punjab as well as in Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistant and Azad Jammu and Kashmir—after due approvals at all constitutional forums, including PDWP, CDWP, Ecnec, and the Punjab cabinet.
“As many as 3.368 million people have received healthcare services at public as well as 821 empaneled private hospitals since the Sehat Sahulat Card was completely launched in all districts of Punjab in March last year – only a few days before the PTI federal government was toppled,” she explained.
She said this revolutionary program offered 46,000 additional beds in private hospitals that could otherwise be created by establishing 87 new hospitals at a recurring annual cost of Rs1illion. She said that the public hospitals in Lahore had 10 angiography machines which increased to 35, with 25 machines available in private hospitals in Lahore for the poor. It noted that 98% of beneficiaries, provided satisfactory feedback on the services used.
Mechanism of Health card program
The former health minister explained the mechanics of the health card program, saying the Punjab government had negotiated with the lowest bidder, State Life Insurance Corporation, and agreed to a premium of Rs 4,350 per family per year.
Later, she said, a tripartite agreement was signed after the approvals of the PDWP, CDWP, Ecnec and the Punjab cabinet. She stated that the PC-I was revised at a cost of Rs399 billion and approved by the PDWP on March 18, last year, after the original PC-I was prepared at a cost of Rs3,800 per family per year at a total cost of Rs332 billion.
The former minister said the federal government’s CDWP meeting a couple of days ago on January 27 had re-discussed the universal character of theHealth card program “putting into question its sustainability”. She revealed that the PMTC had postponed the agenda and returned it to the provisional provincial cabinet for further consideration.
Asserting that a caretaker cabinet cannot take a policy decision on a decision taken by the elected government’s cabinet, Dr Rashid regretted that one could not expect anything better from the anti-poor regime. She also reminded reporters about the audio leak, saying, “Maryam Nawaz was asking his uncle, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to roll back the health card as PTI has nothing else to show to people”.
She promised that she would go to court should the interim government attempt to have the health card program cancelled. “PML-N will also face public anger if it tries to rob the much needed healthcare facility for people,” she warned. Dr Rashid stated that the PML-N was already aware of its popularity among people and that this was the reason why it was fleeing the elections despite repeated claims by the PTI.