COVID-19 Treatment Costs In Private Hospitals Likely To Stretch Most Indians' Wallets
Coronavirus treatment in a host of private hospitals, as we have seen from numerous complaints across the country, is beyond the wallets of a vast majority of Indians.
Coronavirus treatment in a host of private hospitals, as we have seen from numerous complaints across the country, is beyond the wallets of a vast majority of Indians. A Twitter user gave the instance of one corporate hospital which put out a rate card for COVID-19 treatment. A casual look at the charges mentioned in the instance cited in the tweet will make us realise that treatment for COVID-19 is beyond the pockets of most Indians.
The cost of treatment spelt out In the rate card is mind-boggling, to put it mildly, starting at—Rs.25,000 plus for a bed in a general ward to Rs.27,000 plus for a shared bed, to Rs. 30,000 plus for a room to Rs. 53,000 plus for an ICU bed without a ventilator and Rs. 72,000 plus for a bed equipped with a ventilator. The cost of medicines provided, Liver Function Test, renal tests, ambulance expectedly costs extra.
99% Indians will be in sure shot debt at these prices 😶— Dhruv Rathee (@dhruv_rathee) June 12, 2020
This is what happens when the govt spending on healthcare is so little pic.twitter.com/0arzRKX9c8
The exorbitant cost of COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals has forced governments across the country to step in. Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have capped the cost of treatment for coronavirus patients to ensure that they remain within affordable limits.
A sting operation done by a reputed television channel showed hospital authorities in Delhi asking for a deposit of Rs.5 lakhs in order to admit a COVID-19 patient. Calls made to several other hospitals elicited a similar response. Likewise, calls made to hospitals in Chennai also drew similar responses and were highlighted by a prominent television network.
COVID-19 treatment has clearly become unaffordable for middle-class Indians, looking at these examples. Elsewhere in the world, universal healthcare is built into the system and most developed countries have a sound hospital network. Not only does India's healthcare system have huge gaps, but where there are private players there is also a lot of exploitation as complaints related to the treatment of COVID-19 patients reveal. The big question now is will the Centre, the state governments or the courts intervene and act decisively to ensure that the costs of COVID-19 treatment are within the range of the common man?