COVID-19 patients were charged “exorbitant fees” for private treatment in the absence of specific guidelines, a parliamentary panel led by Samajwadi Party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Ram Gopal Yadav, said in a report, adding lives could have been saved with the implementation of a sustainable pricing model.
Mr Yadav, the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on health, submitted on Saturday the report, titled “Outbreak of Pandemic Covid-19 and its Management”, to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.
“…Cost of health service delivery increased due to absence of specific guidelines for Covid treatment in private hospitals as a result of which patients were charged exorbitant fees,” the committee was quoted by news agency PTI as saying in its report.
“The Committee is of the view that arriving at a sustainable pricing model to treat COVID patients could have averted many deaths,” it added.
The panel pointed out that the state-run healthcare infrastructure was inadequate to deal with the pandemic.
Calling the public spending in healthcare “abysmally low” for a country with a population of 1.3 billion, the panel demanded that the Centre enhanced its investment in public healthcare system.
“The committee, therefore, strongly recommends the government to increase its investments in the public healthcare system and make consistent efforts to achieve the National Health Policy targets of expenditure up to 2.5 per cent of GDP within two years as the set time frame of year 2025 is far away and the public health cannot be jeopardised till that time schedule,” the report said.
Several state governments had capped the prices of COVID-19 beds in private hospitals after allegations that they had been charging exorbitantly from patients infected with the coronavirus.
1.32 lakh people have died in India after contracting the coronavirus, which has so far infected 90.5 lakh people.
With inputs from PTI