Why are Rajasthan’s docs protesting against the Right to Health Bill?

The doctors have been on strike for over two weeks now


With doctors on strike for over two weeks now, patients in Rajasthan are having a tough time.

The government hospitals are overloaded since private hospitals, path labs and diagnostic centres are closed. The government hospitals have been able to admit and attend to only a limited number of patients, primarily the ones who are in a serious state and need emergency care as they are already under pressure.

It all began with the state government proposing the Right to Health Bill, which is aimed at ensuring that affordable healthcare is made available to everyone. The Bill made every individual eligible for treatment, which means there is no way doctors can refuse to attend to a patient, particularly in an emergency situation.

Private doctors are unhappy with the Bill since ‘emergency’ can be interpreted differently by different people. They feel the ‘emergency’ category needs a more specific definition.

Also, since the Bill requires emergency cases to be handled under any circumstances, doctors wonder how somebody with a cardiac emergency will be properly treated or helped at a hospital specialising in urology or orthopaedics. The striking doctors are demanding that this kind of compulsory medical care should be offered only by the large hospitals offering multiple facilities.

It is reported that the protesting doctors may also be considering withdrawing their support to the Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana under which 90 per cent of the population of Rajasthan has been covered by insurance. The health cover is worth Rs 25 lakhs. The Mukhyamantri Nishulk Dava Yojana has made it possible for the common man in the state to avail of expensive treatment without any worries.

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