The state government is in a fix after some of city’s five-star private hospitals have demanded that they should not be forced to make concessions for the poor if the government wants them to participate in the state-run cashless health insurance scheme.
Private hospitals that are registered under the Bombay Public Charitable Trust Act get certain incentives, such as concession in land rates, to reserve 10% of their hospital beds for the poor and to provide medicines at a subsidised rate. Private hospitals in Mumbai have been at loggerheads with the government over these provisions. To add to it, last month the government introduced the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana, a cashless insurance scheme that will give the poor access to high-quality healthcare.
“These hospitals don’t want to implement the two government schemes simultaneously. They want one of them scrapped,” public health minister Suresh Shetty said in the legislative assembly on Tuesday. Shetty said he has requested chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to consider the hospitals’ demand, since the reservation scheme was not monitored closely by the authorities concerned.
However, it won’t be easy for the government to accede to the demand, with opposition parties and Congress members equally opposed to granting any relief to the hospitals.
Amin Patel of the Congress told HT that he and his like-minded colleagues would discuss the issue with health minister and then with CM. “We will demand a quota in all private hospitals for the insurance scheme. They must run both the schemes… they cannot reject their social responsibility,” he said.
Opposition members who raised the question told HT that they would get the private hospitals to mend their ways.