New Delhi, August 5: The Supreme Court on Wednesday suggested there should be cheaper treatment for Covid-19 patients in smaller towns and asked the Centre to consider the aspect of prompt release of claims by insurance companies which cannot keep their hands off at the time of pandemic.
The apex court was told by the Centre that health is a state subject and primary responsibility in terms of management of Covid-19 rests with the states, news agency PTI reported.
In a report filed in the top court, the Centre proposed that states “may on a priority basis arrive at fair rates for private hospitals to ensure that there is no over-charging from Covid-19 patients or indiscriminate hikes for patients”.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which was hearing the pleas including the one filed by advocate Sachin Jain who has sought direction for regulating the cost of treatment of Covid-19 at private hospitals across the country, suggested there should be cheaper treatment for coronavirus infected patients in smaller towns.
The court made the suggestion after counsel appearing for private hospitals said that uniform price capping may not be feasible as it may vary in big and smaller cities.
The Bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, observed insurance companies cannot keep their hands off at the time of pandemic and the government should consider the aspect of prompt release of dues by them.
The bench was told by an advocate appearing for private hospitals that price capping for Covid-19 treatment should not be made applicable in cases of co-morbidities.
The apex court has posted the matter for further hearing after 15 days. The Centre, in its report filed in the apex court, has said depending on the number of cases and availability of health infrastructure in government set-up, states may consider exploring utilising health facilities in the private sector.