The recently concluded Budget session of the Rajasthan Assembly revived the debate around the ‘Right to Health Bill’.
About the Bill:
The legislation, if passed, will provide mandatory free and affordable medical services in hospitals, clinics and laboratories — both public and privately owned.
Rajasthan would be the first State government to establish and protect the legal rights of patients to access equitable healthcare services.
The Bill also provides for strengthening the public healthcare system.
The Bill provides the right to health and access to healthcare for people in the state.
This includes free health care services at any clinical establishment to state residents.
The Bill sets certain obligations on the state government to ensure the right to health and maintain public health.
Health Authorities will be set up at the state and district level.
These bodies will formulate, implement, monitor, and develop mechanisms for quality healthcare and management of public health emergencies.
The Indian Constitution does not explicitly talk about a right to health.
A “right to health” is derived from the right to life and liberty as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Key Issues and Analysis:
There is no provision for reimbursing private health establishments for providing free healthcare services. This may make these establishments commercially unviable and violate Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.
The District Health Authority is required to upload an action-taken report on the web portal for complaints. The Bill does not specify who will have access to the report on the web portal. This may infringe on the patient’s right to privacy in medical cases.
Implementing the right to health may increase the financial obligation of the state. The Bill does not provide for such additional costs.