On Tuesday, Rajasthan passed the Right to Health Bill, making it the first state to do so, despite protests from the opposition BJP, who wanted changes to the provisions, and a group of doctors demanding withdrawal of the legislation, the bill was passed.
The legislation grants all residents of the state the right to receive free Outpatient Department (OPD) and Inpatient Department (IPD) services at all public health facilities.
Additionally, select private facilities will also offer similar healthcare services at no cost.
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As per the provisions of the Bill, complimentary healthcare services, such as consultation, drugs, diagnostics, emergency transport, procedures, and emergency care, will be extended at all government healthcare institutions and specific private facilities, subject to terms and conditions specified in the forthcoming rules.
Right to emergency treatment
The legislation also ensures that all residents are entitled to emergency treatment and care for accidental emergencies without any advance payment of fees or charges.
Notably, in cases of medico-legal issues, no hospital, public or private, can postpone treatment solely due to awaiting police clearance.
Reimbursement from state
The bill further states that in situations where the patient is unable to pay requisite charges after emergency care, stabilization, and transfer, the healthcare provider can receive appropriate fees or reimbursement from the state government.
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Overall, the law provides 20 rights to the residents of Rajasthan, aiming to safeguard their health and well-being, in compliance with Article 47 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
The government stated that the Bill intends to ensure equitable access to healthcare services and the protection of the Right to Health.
Why are doctors opposing the bill
Private healthcare providers have opposed the bill, arguing that it disregards suggestions made by medical practitioners, lacks proper preparation, and overlooks the practical realities of healthcare, which is already an over-regulated field. They believe that the bill might lead to unnecessary regulation and control over healthcare.
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Some experts have reportedly stated that various government schemes already provide free medical services to people, making the Right to Health Bill redundant.
Additionally, the protesting doctors view the bill as an over-regulation of the medical institution. They believe that the execution of the bill may overburden private hospitals, and it is an unrealistic approach to healthcare.