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General Studies 2 >> Polity

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1. Context
The recently concluded Budget session of the Rajasthan Assembly revived the debate around the Right to Health Bill. The legislation, if passed, will provide mandatory free and affordable medical services in hospitals, clinics and laboratories both public and privately owned. Private hospital doctors object to the Bill citing it is hastily drafted, ignores ground realities and may tighten norms in an already over-regulated field
2. Key takeaways of the bill
  • The Bill provides rights to patients and healthcare providers, places the obligation on the government to protect these legal rights and mandates the setting up of grievance redressal mechanisms
  • Rajasthan residents will be entitled to free check-ups, drugs, diagnostics, emergency transport and care at all public health institutes, along with affordable surgeries
  • Clause 3 of the Bill lays down 20 rights a State resident will be entitled to including the right to informed consent, to seek information (in the form of medical records and documents) regarding diagnosis and treatment, and to receive treatment without discrimination based on caste, class, age, gender, etc
  • Clause 4 of the Bill shifts the burden of responsibility in providing adequate medical services to the government. The government is “obligated” to provide funds, set up institutions and constitute grievance redressal systems
  • Clause 4 mandates that the government develop a Human Resource Policy for health ensuring equitable distribution of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers at all levels of the system across regions
3.Constitutional Guarantee
  • The Indian Constitution does not explicitly talk about a right to health. A “right to health”, in theory, is derived from the right to life and liberty as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution
  • Previously, courts have highlighted the State’s obligation to protect and promote the health of citizens, 
 Constitutional provisions such as:
Article 38: Promoting the welfare of people
Article 47: Which directs the government to meet the nutrition and health requirements of the population
4.Other Fundamental Rights
Right to Equality  Article 14 - 18
Right to Freedom Article 19 - 22
Right against exploitation Article 23-24
Cultural and Educational rights Article 29 - 30
Rights to Constitutional remedy Article 32
Source: Hindu

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