On 13 June, the Karnataka legislative assembly discussed a law to enforce standardised charges for medical treatments. The following days saw closed hospitals, doctors on the streets protesting against the bill and heated debates among the state’s political leaders. A week later, the government decided to reconsider the bill.
The risk is mitigated but certainly not averted for private healthcare providers.
Karnataka is not the first state to express an intention to fix prices for them, and it certainly won’t be the last. In the last few months, the medical fraternity has learnt that the narrative of a hospital that exploits patients is strong, and price control is not an empty threat.