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COVID-19: Supreme Court Asks Whether Private Hospitals Can Treat On Ayushman Bharat Schemes

COVID-19: Supreme Court Asks Whether Private Hospitals Can Treat On Ayushman Bharat Schemes
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The Supreme Court on Friday asked private hospitals whether they were prepared to provide COVID-19 treatment on Ayushman Bharat rates, media reports said.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked private hospitals whether they were prepared to provide COVID-19 treatment on Ayushman Bharat rates, media reports said. An apex court Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde in a plea seeking free treatment to COVID-19 patients observed that it would not pass orders to all private hospitals, but might do so in the case of charitable hospitals which are built on free government land. The matter is likely to be taken up after two weeks.

In another plea, another Bench of the apex sought a reply from the Union government in a public interest litigation (PIL) on fees to be charged by private hospitals for treatment to COVID-19 patients. The apex court also wanted a transparent mechanism to be set up in the PIL which sought treatment cost in private hospitals to be capped.

The apex court Bench consisting of Justice J Ashok Bhushan, Justice MR Shah and Justice V Ramasubramanian heard the matter. The Bench asked the Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta to file the Centre's reply to the plea.

The PIL maintained that treatment in private hospitals created barriers between the wealthy and those who could not afford treatment. The plea filed before the Supreme Court seeks the directions of the apex court on capping the costs of treatment provided by private hospitals to coronavirus patients. It also seeks directions to the Centre to frame a mechanism in the matter. The PIL also points to the parallel in West Bengal where the state government has fixed costs of treatment for coronavirus patients in private hospitals.

The matter is likely to be taken up for listing at the apex court next week.

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