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Ayushman Bharat not for all Covid patients: Govt, pvt hospitals

The Centre on Friday opposed the idea of charging Ayushman Bharat rates from non-beneficiaries suffering from Covid-19.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jun 06, 2020, 07.57 AM IST
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Delhi: The Centre on Friday opposed the idea of charging Ayushman Bharat rates from non-beneficiaries suffering from Covid-19. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said the scheme was meant for people in the lower strata of society and could not be extended to others. “We are doing the best we can for the lower strata,” he said.

Appearing for an association for private hospitals, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi contended no hospital was making profits. General hospitals such as Ganga Ram have been converted into Covid hospitals, he said. Hospitals have no business left. “This will only lead to their closing down.” The Healthcare Federation too rejected the suggestion made in a public interest litigation. Representing the federation, senior advocate Harish Salve argued that Ayushman Bharat was a heavily subsidised scheme and other patients cannot be charged at the same rate. Salve and Rohatgi claimed the hospitals had set apart free beds and treatment to the extent mandated and sought two weeks to make formal submissions in the case.

Petitioner advocate Sachin Jain said the Covid-19 rates for treating Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries was Rs 4,000 daily, whereas it was Rs 50,000 for others and sought extension of the rates for others. A three-judge bench led by the CJI said that it was not interested in passing any orders against all private hospitals but was only talking about charitable hospitals and others who had secured government land at concessional rates and were under obligation to offer concessional treatment under a court ruling. There’s no reason why they cannot provide treatment for Covid-19 on a no-profit, no-loss basis, if not free, the CJI said.
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