A bench comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde & Justice Aniruddha Bose issued notice on Thursday while hearing a plea seeking nationwide cost regulations at private and corporate hospitals for treatment of Covid-19 patients. The apex court stated that it could not interfere in matters of Private Hospitals, without giving them an opportunity of being heard.
A bench also asked the petitioner whether the cost regulation prayed for was in tune with the imposition of an upper limit for calculating charges in hospitals.
Advocate Sachin Jain, petitioner-in-person argued that a regulation had to be imposed on these entities as they were given unfettered powers to charge patients by the government.
“In Private hospitals that are dedicated covid hospitals, there is no qualification as to how much they hospitals can charge. Patients are being charged between 10 and 12 lakhs. Government has given them unfettered powers to charge.”
CJI Bobde observed, “We agree with you but we cannot interfere with regard to private hospitals without hearing them. How can the Government decide?”
Jain further argued that this imposition of unfettered and huge charges covered only providing hospital beds to the patients.
The petitioner contended that the issue of cost regulations of private and corporate entities for treatment of COVID19 patients was a matter of “urgent consideration” as many hospitals were exploiting patients “to make a fortune out of their miseries in the hour of national crisis”.
It elucidated its submissions by pointing to the surging bills of Covid-19 patients and the resultant barrage on reimbursements from insurance companies.
The petition reads,
“It is submitted that if such inflated billing by the private hospitals can become a cause of concern for the insurance industry, what will be the plight of a common man who neither has a fat wallter nor an insurance cover to reimburse, in case, he requires hospitalization in a private hospital. It is a matter of grave concern that a large section of people in India still do not possess any insurance cover and are also not benefited under any government health scheme.”
Read the petition here: