The Protest of Rajasthan Doctors Continue: Why Do They Want the Right to Health Act Repealed?
Right to Health Bill: Doctors in Rajasthan are protesting the Right to Health Act. The historic law has some holes that are unsettling private practitioners.
Protest of Doctors in Jaipur
In response to the Indian Medical Association’s call for a national strike against Rajasthan’s recently passed Right to Health Act, nearly 20,000 doctors gathered for a rally on Monday, March 27. Since the historic Bill was passed in the Rajasthan Assembly earlier in March, this was the largest anti-law protest.
“Roll back the Draconian Act,” has been their ongoing demand.
What does the Historic Law state?
The first-of-its-kind, historic Act is hailed as moving the nation one step closer to achieving Universal Health Coverage by establishing access to healthcare as a constitutional right.
Under the Act, any resident of Rajasthan is permitted to visit a private or public hospital for an outpatient or inpatient consultation, emergency transport, emergency medical care, or emergency diagnostics.
Care for accidents, animal or snake bites, pregnancy complications, or other emergencies as determined by the state health authority would all fall under the category of emergency treatment.
What does the bill state in the event of an emergency?
A patient seeking treatment in a private setting in an emergency would not be required to pay a deposit in advance or in advance for either treatment or diagnostics.
If a patient is unable to pay for treatment at a private facility, the state government will reimburse the hospital for the costs of stabilizing and transferring the patient to another facility.
What is missing from the bill?
According to some experts, the reimbursement process is not completely specified in the historic bill.
Critics also argue that there is too much uncertainty in the repayment process as well, claiming that it does not specify,
Who will pay the bill (for emergency care)?
To whom should the hospitals address their invoices?
What will the government pay? Will transportation, equipment, and diagnostic tests be reimbursed?
When is the bill going to be paid? How much time should the clinics wait between payments?
Why are doctors worried?
The line between rights and obligations is thin.
“It’s called the Right to Health Bill, but the term “right” refers only to the name. Due to the fancy list of rights and obligations in the bill. The issue is that they do not complement each other. Doctors will ultimately pay for it in terms of money and other issues if the implementation is forced,” according to Dr. Bruno Mascharanus.
Concerns about unfair prosecutions and lawsuits
What would happen if the clinic was not set up to handle the emergency case is one of the worries that the doctors have. Will they face charges?
“Will I be expected to keep my small private clinic open 24 hours a day, seven days a week in case of an emergency? Isn’t it true that I have a right to a private life?” According to Dr. Amit Yadav, former president of the Jaipur Association of Resident Doctors (SMS hospital), who attended the rally on Monday.
What did the doctors say about the bill?
Not against the “right to health,” but there are drawbacks that must be addressed.
Many doctors, activists, and public health experts have come out in support of the Act’s spirit and goals, but say the gaps must be filled before it can be implemented.
“Despite having admirable intentions, this bill, in my opinion, is flawed, lacking, and nothing more than a mirage. If we move forward with it, it will cause more harm than good,” claims Dr. Mascarenhas.
There is no doubt that this health bill will transform the public health system by granting public health rights to the people. Yet there is a certain flow, according to practitioners, which is required to be addressed by the government before implementing it.
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