SC to govt: Can Covid treatment cost at pvt hospitals be capped? | India News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre whether a direction could be passed to cap the cost of treating Covid-19 patients in private hospitals and if a certain percentage of those who contacted the disease could be treated free in these hospitals, as also charitable ones, that got land free of cost from governments.
Petitioner Avishek Goenka’s counsel argued before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, M R Shah and V Ramasubramanian that private hospitals were charging exorbitantly to treat Covid-19 patients, almost 10 times of what government hospitals were billing and pleaded that the pandemic situation should not be exploited to fleece patients.
The bench asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta to obtain instructions from the government on framing a scheme to put an upper limit on the cost of treatment for Covid-19 patients.
In another petition filed by advocate Sachin Jain, who too had sought capping of costs in private hospitals, a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy asked why private and charitable hospitals, constructed on land allotted free by governments, be not asked to treat a certain percentage of Covid-19 patients without charge. The Centre had responded saying it had no statutory framework to ask private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients free of cost.
Various private hospital associations through senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi contended that most private and charitable hospitals had already been asked by governments to treat a certain percentage of patients free.
Rohatgi said in Delhi, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital had been converted into an exclusive Covid-19 facility which had affected its economics.
The bench asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta to obtain instructions from the government on framing a scheme to put an upper limit on the cost of treatment for Covid-19 patients



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