Corona Treatment: The Exploitation of Middle Class By Private Hospitals

Corona Treatment: The Exploitation of Middle Class By Private Hospitals
Corona Treatment: The Exploitation of Middle Class By Private Hospitals

The coronavirus outbreak comes as a red flag for the middle class in India. Middle class aspires to be classified as rich, but couldn’t afford corona treatment in a private hospital. These hospitals are charging an exorbitant fee and a common man could not bear it. Various reports of exploiting people in the name of corona treatment have been surfacing on the internet. In the middle of a pandemic, private hospitals are exploiting the middle class as everyone does.

How costly the corona treatment could be? Will your health policy cover COVID-19 treatment?

Well, according to some reports of Delhi, coronavirus treatment at a private hospital is out of a common man’s reach. Talking in numbers, the cost could rise over 7 Lakh Rupees. Even Insurers question the high costs of Corona treatment in private hospitals.

If we go into details, for 10-12 days it will cost around 1 to 2 lakh per patient for the general ward. For ICU, it will cost around 7 to 8 lakh per patient. The treatment cost could go up even further.

  • In ICU, 20,000 for a bed and general ward cost 11,000 per day.
  • PPE expenses and other expenses will cost around 50,000 per day for severe patients.

One person’s cost for treatment is approximately 7-8 lakh. So, if a family of 4 people tests positive for corona, it will cost them a minimum of 28 to 30 lakh for corona treatment. How will they manage this amount? That’s why they are choosing to die rather than taking treatment at private hospitals.

However, the Delhi Government has not set a cap on corona treatment. CM Arvind Kejriwal’s order categorically states the private hospitals can bill the patients as per their discretion. In a recent order, CM says no hospital can deny a COVID 19 patient. But what about the people who couldn’t bear such a fee?

Political Game And Healthcare

India’s healthcare spending is only 3.6% of GDP, which is the lowest among developing countries. The funds allocated to all states for healthcare are usually unutilized or underutilized. This is the reason average income people choose Private healthcare rather than government healthcare. Now, it’s out of reach for them.

This pandemic situation requires all hands on deck. Cases are on the peak and hence more private hospitals need to treat corona patients. Already, cases of commercial exploitation of corona patients have been reported. Then, where will a common citizen with an average income go? On a plea filed by Sachin Jain in Supreme Court, he had requested SC to direct the government to regulate COVID-19 treatment costs in private hospitals across the country. They should direct private/charitable hospitals to go for a no-profit basis or free of cost treatment.

Corona Treatment: The Exploitation of Middle Class By Private Hospitals
Source: Scroll

What decision has been taken by centre? The central government said they don’t have any power to direct private hospitals to give free treatment. Further, the centre said Health comes under State government and the care cost is also regulated by them.

We’re in the middle of the pandemic and we need major changes which suit our current condition. In fact, the strategy used by the Central government to cap the COVID test prices in private labs could have been employed to regulate treatment charges too. There should be a price cap so that some middle-class people who could afford some private hospitals could opt for them. They need not rush to a government hospital and room for poor patients in government hospitals would be more. The Center could direct the state government to regulate private treatment charges. But nothing has been done yet.

Various state governments have set a cap on Covid-19 treatment at private hospitals like Maharashtra and Telangana.

Why Cap at Corona Treatment is required?

According to the CDDEP/Princeton study, the private hospitals have 11,85,242 beds, 59,262 ICU beds and 29,631 ventilators. For now, most of the COVID-19 treatment is being done under the government hospitals which is free but as the epidemic progresses, there will be a need for the private sector as an equal partner.

On April 4th, the Centre announced that Covid-19 patient expenses will be covered under the Ayushman Bharat. Find out if you come under this scheme or not. The problem is, most of the designated private hospitals do not come under the Ayushman Bharat. As the number of corona patients surges, private/corporate hospitals will have to absorb the bulk. That’s why regulating private hospitals is the major demand to stop the exploitation of corona patients.

What Is Left For The Middle Class?

Corona Treatment: The Exploitation of Middle Class By Private Hospitals

According to the India Human Development Survey (2011–12) data, 28% of India’s population is middle class. Around 14% is the lower middle class and 3% is upper middle class. As per RBI’s report, 25.7% population lives below the poverty line. So, let’s assume the poor will get the treatment in government hospitals. Rich get the treatment at private hospitals. Now where the middle class stands? With reports of the not appropriate number of beds in the country, what will happen in July when the cases will be at a peak?

Out-of-pocket expenses to the health service providers in India drive millions to poverty every year. With salary cuts and job loss, the middle-class may shrink. With nowhere to go, self-isolation is the only option left for the Indian middle class. Government hospitals with occupied beds and private hospitals with exorbitant fees, the middle class may die or survive at home.

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2 thoughts on “Corona Treatment: The Exploitation of Middle Class By Private Hospitals

  1. Corona has become subject of politics now. Forget about the private hospital, even government hospitals not helping out and turning away patients without even looking at them whether patient has Corona or not. No one is held accountable with no ethics and humanity towards helpless people. The so hyped slogan “Corona Warriors” has no mean and values these days as majority of Medics not interested to check and treat the ailing patients except people with fat pockets and are very much political influential. U can see the recent high profile suspected patients i.e. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, CM, Delhi and Dr. Samvit Patra -Spokesperson BJP, they have been tested and treated immediately. God is also seems to be not with general public. So, be ready to die or the miracle.

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