While hearing a plea on Thursday seeking nationwide cost related regulations for treatment of Coronavirus patients at private and corporate hospitals, the Supreme Court issued notice, observing that the Court could not interfere in matters of Private Hospitals, without giving them an opportunity of being heard.
A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde & Justice Aniruddha Bose asked the petitioner as to whether the cost regulation prayed for was to the tune of imposition of an upper limit for calculating charges in hospitals.
Advocate Sachin Jain, petitioner-in-person argued that there must be a regulation for all entities as government has given them unfettered powers to charge patients.
"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" he said.
"We agree with you but we cannot interfere with regard to private hospitals without hearing them. How can the Government decide?" - CJI SA Bobde said.
Jain further argued that this imposition of unfettered and huge charges did not encompass surgical treatment, but only providing hospital beds to patients.
The plea averred that the issue of cost regulations across the country to private and corporate entities for treatment of COVID19 patients was a matter of "urgent consideration" as many private hospitals were commercially exploting patients suffering from the deadly virus "to make a fortune out of their miseries in the hour of national crisis".
It further elucidated its averments by pointing to various reports of surging bills of covid patients and the resultant barrage on insurance companies for reimbursements.
"It is submitted that if such inflated billing by the provate 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 bebefitted under any government health scheme." - the petition reads.
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