Rajasthan Right to Health Act: Constitutional Guarantee fulfilled or a Draconian law?

Rajasthan Right to Health Act: Constitutional Guarantee fulfilled or a Draconian law?

Opinion on Rajasthan Right to Health Bill Constitutional Guarantee Fulfilled or a Draconian Law

The Right to Health Bill drives its legitimacy from right to life as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Thus it is both ethical and legal. Then how come the private health providers, doctors, pharmacists and others who gathered on the roads of Jaipur Rajasthan call it a draconian law is beyond comprehension.  The fact that no one needing health care should be deprived of it on the ground of one’s financial capability or accessibility is an ideal worth achieving. In all fairness the government of Rajasthan has taken a step in that direction after its other equally admirable initiative in the form of Chiranjivi yojna.

Next as per a full page advertisement published in major news papers of the state it is clear that the Act was passed after due consultations and participation of all stake holders and appropriate procedures. As regards the question of footing the bills the state government is committed to reimburse the same. The process and procedures of the reimbursement of course is going to be as per rules, terms and conditions which are going to be framed within the provisions of the parent act. It is well known fact that all private health providers are entertaining referrals from various governmental, autonomous and corporate organizations on the basis of the agreements or contracts they enter into. Thus there is a marked difference between an Act and the Rules framed under the Act.

“Health is the right of every citizen, but providing it is the responsibility of the state government. Because they are incapable of doing so, they are putting it on doctors. We are ready to support the government but we cannot shoulder the entire responsibility. The government spends around Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 to run each bed in their hospitals. Who will provide us with this money? The Act does not say who will pay these expenses. We urge the government to take back this draconian Bill.” - Dr. Sharad Kumar Agarwal, National President, IMA

Moreover, the Law, also gives every resident of the State the right to emergency treatment without paying a single penny to any health-care institution, and specifies that private health-care institutions would be compensated for the charges incurred for such treatment.

"Every injured citizen brought for medical treatment should instantaneously be given medical aid to preserve life and thereafter the procedural criminal law should be allowed to operate in order to avoid negligent death" - observation by the Supreme Court in 1989

SImilar to the Right of Education, the Right to Health has also taken the private players into its ambit. And why not... the fundamental rights cannot be the responsibility of the State alone. The Right to Health Bill is one of the most justified acts on line of ethics. The right to recieve treatment through accessibility and affordability for all and across all institutions dealing in this business forms the crux of the Bill.  While the State will bear the cost for those who cannot afford from its own coffers, it will compensate correcly for the cost of treatment for those who cannot afford, if treated at private institutions.

The doctors and others who flooded the streets of Jaipur to protest the law have some misgivings as per reports available in news papers for example they  said they were distrustful of the government’s promise of recompense for expenses incurred for treating patients during an emergency, there is no definition of the term emergency or claimed to be apprehensive of the government’s interference in their functioning once the law is enforced etc etc.

Although, all of them believe that health care is a right of the people; only, they believe that the State would have to be the sole provider. It is felt that after having converted  a progressive ideal into law, Rajasthan government should now should whole heatedly gain the trust of the doctor and other stake holders with large heartedness and those opposing the act should also to rise above the differences, and work with the government to save human lives. Doctors should realize that theirs is a noble profession and rethink whether going on stikes every now and then enhance the reputation of their profession. They are highly educated individuals and are dealing in the business of saving human lives.

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