The Sehat Sahulat Program, a flagship healthcare scheme of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, is on the verge of closure in Punjab as the State Life Insurance Company (SLIC) has given its first-ever clear warning due to non-payment of pending liabilities amounting to Rs. 83 billion.
Over 25 million families are benefiting from free treatment at 724 public and private hospitals under this program.
According to reports, political motives are one of the main reasons behind the possible closure of the program.
During its brief tenure last year, the PML-N government allegedly signaled to slow down the health card program launched by the PTI, ignoring the scheme’s success stories of rendering free healthcare services to all citizens.
Despite the mega program’s success, it seems that political games have put the health of millions of people at risk.
On March 14, SLIC wrote to the Punjab government, warning them about the potential closure of the Sehat Sahulat Program due to outstanding dues. Despite sending several reminders, the government has not yet cleared pending liabilities.
The Punjab government had allocated a substantial amount of Rs. 125 billion for the Sehat Sahulat Program in the fiscal year 2022-23 to meet the healthcare needs of Punjab’s people. Out of this amount, only Rs. 31 billion has been released, leaving Rs. 94 billion still outstanding.
The insurance company has complained that the Punjab Health Initiative Management Company (PHIMC), which is responsible for implementing the Sehat Sahulat Program in Punjab, has not paid current premium invoices worth Rs. 83.5 billion, leading to financial difficulties for the program.