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`Punjab Parliamentarian Dr Gandhi seeks PM's intervention to regulate private healthcare cost

Dharam Vira Gandhi, a parliamentarian from Punjab and a qualified medical practitioner, has sought urgent intervention of the Prime Minister to ensure affordable healthcare to all citizens.

twitter-logo Joe C Mathew   New Delhi     Last Updated: December 21, 2017  | 23:52 IST
Punjab Parliamentarian Dr Gandhi seeks PM's intervention to regulate private healthcare cost

The debate over whether or not the government needs to regulate private healthcare industry has reached Prime Minister Narendra Modi's door steps.

Dharam Vira Gandhi, a parliamentarian from Punjab and a qualified medical practitioner, has sought urgent intervention of the Prime Minister to ensure affordable healthcare to all citizens.

In a letter to the PM with copies to the ministers of health and chemicals and petrochemicals, Gandhi wants the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to be asked to take necessary steps to expand the list of medical devices under price control. He wants all medical devices to be brought under the definition of 'drugs' to make this happen. Gandhi also wanted the government to take necessary measures to control the prices of diagnostics and other investigations and impose price control on healthcare charges.

"Even though 'health' is a state subject, the concurrent list provides the jurisdiction to the Union government to introduce a regulatory framework to impose price control on health charges", the letter stated.

Gandhi alleged that private sector hospitals are charging exorbitant prices for providing healthcare. "Your government's vision to enhance the limit of Rashtriya Swasthya Bhima Yojana (RSBY) from RS 30,000 to Rs 100,000 have not reduced the financial burden of healthcare. There have been reports that private hospitals are using the government's health scheme to attract patients and then charging hefty fees by offering treatments not listed under RSBY. Furthermore, these schemes cover only people below poverty line, while middle class are left with no option", he stated.  

Referring to the latest Central Bureau of Health Intelligence report, he states that 24.9 per cent of Indian families are borrowing money to pay hospitalisation costs.

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