Supreme Court Hears Plea Seeking Regulation of the Cost of COVID-19 Treatment in Hospitals

While hearing a plea on April 30, 2020, seeking nationwide cost regulations for COVID-19 treatment at private and corporate hospitals; the Supreme Court observed that without giving Private Hospitals an opportunity of being heard, it could not interfere in its matters. A bench comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde & Justice Aniruddha Bose of Supreme Court asked the petitioner as to whether the cost regulation prayed for was to the tune of the imposition of an upper limit for calculating charges in hospitals.

Advocate Sachin Jain, petitioner-in-person contended; “In Private hospitals that are dedicated COVID hospitals, there is no qualification as to how much the hospitals can charge. Patients charged between 10 and 12 lakhs. Government has given them unfettered powers to charge”. Jain further argued that this imposition of unfettered and huge charges did not encompass surgical treatment; but only providing hospital beds to patients.

Further, the plea averred that the issue of cost regulations; across the country to private and corporate entities for treatment of COVID19 patients; was a matter of “urgent consideration”. As many private hospitals were commercially exploiting patients suffering from the deadly virus. In order to make a fortune out of their miseries in the hour of national crisis. It further elucidated its averments by pointing to various reports of surging bills of COVID patients and the resultant barrage on insurance companies for reimbursements. Taking note of the contentions, the Supreme Court issued notice in the matter.