The Supreme Court Friday asked private hospitals whether they are ready to provide treatment to COVID-19 infected patients at the charges prescribed under the government's Ayushman Bharat Scheme.
The 'Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana' is aimed at providing health cover to poor and vulnerable persons in the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said the apex court is not asking all the private hospitals to treat certain number of COVID-19 patients for free.
The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, said it is asking only those private hospitals which have been given land at concessional rates by the government to treat certain number of coronavirus infected patients for free.
"I just want to know if hospitals are ready to charge at Ayushman rates?," the CJI observed during the hearing which was conducted through video-conferencing.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that government is doing its best for the lowest strata of the society and people who cannot afford treatment are covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
The top court, which posted the matter two weeks from now, was hearing a plea seeking a direction for regulating the cost of treatment of COVID-19 at private hospitals across the country.