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Devise master plan for affordable health care, especially in times of health crisis: SC

Supreme Court. File  

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to convene a meeting of the Health Ministers or Secretaries within a week to devise a master plan which focuses on affordable health care, especially in times of health crisis.

The court found it unfortunate how even the National Health Bill of 2009, which defined ‘affordable’ health care, did not “see the light of the day”.

A Bench led by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said the Bill had specifically defined ‘endemic’, ‘epidemic’ and “health care establishment” in it. The Bill could have acted as a crucial law to provide affordable health care in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court directed the Centre to use its powers under the Disaster Management Act to come up with a master plan by taking a cue from the existing Public Health Acts of various States and the National Health Bill, 2009.

“Thereafter, a second meeting of the Health Ministers/Secretaries of all States and Union Territories may be convened for collating the information received from the States and Union Territories regarding the steps taken by the States. After receipt of the information from all the States and Union Territories, the Government of India may file a comprehensive report with a compilation of the information received from the States and Union Territories,” the Bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, said.

The top court directed States which already have Public Health Acts to consider fine-tuning them in the model of the National Health Bill, 2009.

The court had earlier said no one should be turned away from hospitals due to higher cost of treatment.

It was hearing a plea filed by advocate Sachin Jain who has sought direction for regulating the cost of treatment of COVID-19 at private hospitals.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 4:07:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/devise-master-plan-for-affordable-health-care-especially-in-times-of-health-crisis-sc/article32491732.ece

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