Human life, above all: On the Rajasthan Right to Health Act and the stance of doctors

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Source: The post is based on the article “Human life, above all: On the Rajasthan Right to Health Act and the stance of doctors” published in The Hindu on 30th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS – 2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to health.

Relevance: About Rajasthan Right to Health Act, 2022.

News: The Rajasthan government has recently passed the Right to Health Act. But the doctors in the State are protesting and terming it as a ‘draconian law’.

About Rajasthan Right to Health Act, 2022

-The Act seeks to provide protection and fulfilment of rights, equity in relation to health and well-being for achieving the goal of health care for all. This is done through guaranteed access to quality health care for all residents of the State, without any catastrophic out-of-pocket expenditure

Note: The Right to Health is in sync with the constitutional guarantee of the right to life, and other components of the Directive Principles. Under the constitution, no person seeking health care should be denied it, on the grounds of access and affordability.

– The law provides for a social audit and grievance redressal.

-The Act gives every resident of the State the right to emergency treatment without paying a single paisa to any healthcare institution. The private healthcare institutions providing such facilities will be compensated for the charges incurred.

Read more: The next step is a constitutional right to health

Why there is opposition to Rajasthan Right to Health Act, 2022?

Narrow professional and commercial interests led to opposition to the law which is ‘good’ in ethical and legal terms.

Not believing in the government’s promise: The protestors were distrustful of the government’s promise of recompense for expenses incurred for treating patients during an emergency.

Further government interference: The Act might pave the way for further government interference in health care.

What are the court’s observations on the right to health?

In 1989, the Supreme Court observed that “every injured citizen brought for medical treatment should instantaneously be given medical aid to preserve life and thereafter the procedural criminal law should be allowed to operate in order to avoid negligent death”.

Read more: UN declares access to clean, healthy environment as universal human right

What should be done?

Rajasthan government should now work with protestors to gain the trust of the doctors through demonstrable action. Doctors should also work with the government to save human lives.

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