Supreme Court Urges Accountability in Healthcare Subsidies

Supreme Court flags private hospitals' failure to reserve beds for the poor on subsidized land. Calls for accountability in healthcare access.

The Supreme Court expressed concern over private hospitals failing to fulfill commitments to reserve beds for economically weaker sections. Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Prasanna B Varale raised the issue during a hearing on a petition challenging uniform rates for ophthalmological procedures nationwide.

Highlighting the discrepancy between commitments and actions, Justice Dhulia remarked, "Private hospitals promise to reserve beds for the poor when obtaining subsidized land, but it's rarely honored."

The petition, filed by the All-India Ophthalmological Society, argued against uniform rates for procedures across diverse regions, emphasizing the disparities between metropolitan areas and remote villages.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate B Vijayalakshmi Menon represented the society in court.

The bench, recognizing the broader implications of the issue, issued limited notice to the Attorney General and scheduled further consideration for April 17.

However, Justice Dhulia cautioned against undermining existing healthcare affordability, particularly in regions like the northeast.