This article tells about the ongoing issue in Rajasthan where the state is facing a crisis and it can be called a very serious medical emergency in the state. Doctors in Rajasthan staged a protest against the Rajasthan government’s proposal for the right to health bill.
In the state, all the doctors are heading toward the state assembly to demand the withdrawal of the bill. The right to health bill intends to provide free and affordable medical services in both public as well as private hospitals.
The bill had received negatives from private healthcare facilities who believed that the bill might lead to overburdening of private hospitals. The protestors also claimed that the bill is hastily prepared and ignores the ground realities.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT TO HEALTH BILL?
Rajasthan became the first state to pass the right to health bill in the state assembly which gives every resident of the state the right to avail free services at all public health facilities. Also, similarly, healthcare services will be provided free of cost at select private facilities.
According to the bill, free healthcare services, including consultation, drugs, diagnostics, emergency transport, procedure and emergency care, will be provided at all public health institutions and select private facilities.
Also, all residents will be entitled to emergency treatment and care for accidental emergencies without prepayment of any fee or charges. Neither government nor private hospitals nor doctors can refuse a person seeking emergency treatment.
In the case of medico-legal nature, no public or private hospital can delay treatment merely on the ground of receiving police clearance. The legislation also says that after emergency care stabilization and transfer of a patient, if a patient does not pay requisite fees, the health care provider shall be entitled to receive requisite charges or proper reimbursement from the state government.
RIGHT TO HEALTH OR RIGHT TO WEALTH
The right to health bill has become a bone of contention both parties are suffering simultaneously. The doctors have claimed that bill does not help patients much but penalize doctor’s hospitals. They said this bill is also violating article 19[g] of the constitution which provides the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business to all citizens whereas according to the government,
India is a signatory of the article 25 of the universal declaration human rights  by the united nation that grants the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of humans including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services. Also, this bill intends to provide protection and fulfillment of rights and equity in health and well-being as mentioned under Article 47 of the Indian constitution.
Protesters pointed out that bill created a big issue for private establishments, it is commercially unviable and there is no provision for reimbursing private health establishments for providing free healthcare services. The doctor disavowal this bill by giving several arguments such as under the act, what constitutes ‘EMERGENCY’ is not defined properly.
Another concern they spell out is fear of wrongful prosecution as according to the act a patient can file a lawsuit against a doctor for refusing to treat him or there can be a case the clinic is not equipped to handle emergency cases. Lastly, they stated that redressed mechanisms mentioned in the bill will not let doctors work in peace.
The government counter-argued that the bill is the right direction. They told about the 1996 Supreme Court judgment that all medical practitioners must provide emergency care. Also, articles 38, 39, 42, 43, and 47 of the direct principle of state policy [DPSP] put the obligation on the state to ensure the effective realization of the right to health and this is the act which promises health services to individual and communities without them suffering from financial hardships.
Around 50000 private doctors and family members and pharmacy owners hit the streets of Jaipur to protest against the right to health bill which leads to the extreme suffering of patients. Patients were not treated and had a high risk of life during the doctor’s protest. Simultaneously this bill also treated tension for doctors for their livelihood, providing all free services is a question of the right to wealth.
There should be some middle way to cure this issue. Some amendments should be done. The government should give assurance for further changes in the bill and it should be done in consultation with representatives of the Indian Medical Association. The scheme will be implemented by the doctors only on the ground level so their concerns need to be taken into account.