The controversial Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which, if passed will give the state government power to determine fees charged by private hospitals, may be put on the backburner due to opposition from several legislators.
The bill triggered a huge debate in the assembly on Tuesday and has now been referred to a joint select committee for a detailed study on possible implications for both private hospitals and patients, the Times of India reported.
Coming down heavily on the Congress, the BJP-led opposition, suggested that the bill be referred to the select committee, while stating that the Centre has taken several steps to make healthcare affordable to the marginalized sections.
The bill, which was piloted by Minister for Health, KR Ramesh Kumar, however, argued that the proposed bill was meant to regulate private medical establishments and not doctors.
â€śThere is a false campaign that doctors will be sent to jail if the new legislation comes into effect. Doctors are protesting the streets without knowing the ground reality. The bill aims to end exploitation of patients by private hospitals,â€ť the Minister said.
He told members of the assembly that the government had discussions the bill with private hospital associations and soothed their fears of the bill being too rigid, before footing it in the Assembly.
â€śPrivate hospitals overcharge patients, conduct repetitive tests and do not hand over the dead bodies until the bills are cleared. The drugs are overpriced and they are completely misusing medical insurance schemes. Insurance companies have blacklisted 349 private hospitals. There are 266 cases of medical negligence reports this year and 251 are against private hospitals. If the government can't control them or question them, who will?â€ť the minster asked.
However, a few Congress and BJP members were not happy about the health Ministerâ€™s statement.
Congress MLA, Maalaaka Raddy said that the bill is too idealistic and impractical. â€śThe bill has the potential to give rise to medical activists, who are capable of threatening doctors. If this bill is passed, activists will camp outside every private hospital and will not allow them to function properly,â€ť he said.
BJP MLA, S Suresh Kumar said that government hospitals should also be brought under the ambit of the bill. â€śActivists have increased in the society and they will take advantage of the patientsâ€™ charter and harass hospitals. This bill can be misused in multiple ways. Please refer the bill to the joint select committee,â€ť he said.
The BJP and JD(S) members urged the ruling party to refer the bill to the committee, after which it was decided that the bill would not be tabled in the session.