Congress ruled Rajasthan becomes the first state in the country to guarantee right to health
The Right to Health Bill passed by Gehlot govt makes it mandatory for hospitals to provide treatment in emergency cases without waiting for medico-legal formalities
Congress ruled Rajasthan has passed a landmark Right to Health Bill (RTH) on Tuesday that gives every resident of the state “the right to free consultation, drugs, diagnostics and emergency care at all public hospitals”.
Private hospitals that have been allotted land by the state government at concessionary costs, will not be able to charge the emergency patient.
Medical and Health Minister Parsadi Lal Meena said that the Bill was a major welfare step aimed at protecting the interests of the poor. Meena said the Gehlot government would reimburse the expenses to the health care provider if a patient was unable to pay the requisite charges after emergency care.
Political watchers say that the Bill’s provisions are consistent with several Supreme Court verdicts that have affirmed that the Right to Health is a key part of the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
While the Bill was hailed by health rights activists and a large section of the society, doctors and paramedical staff of private hospitals and nursing homes have protested the Bill, saying its “draconian provisions” would stifle the private health sector.
The agitating doctors said the amendments suggested by them to the Select Committee were not carried out and the Bill had made it mandatory to provide free treatment without defining an emergency. The Bill was tabled last year in September but due to protest, it was later sent to the Select Committee.
Reacting to protest, Meena said the private doctors’ demand for withdrawal of the Bill was not justified.
It is worth recalling here that the Congress had made a promise to legislate the right to health in its manifesto for the 2018 Assembly election. The Gehlot government has pointed out that the State government had allotted land to several big hospitals on concessional rates and they were duty-bound to provide treatment to all the patients.