Health Policy

Revisited tax policy on healthcare demanded

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With the high uproar about the increase in the service tax for health services, the government is now trying to revisit the policy. The health budget for 2011-12 was strongly opposed by public and the medical fraternity. The finance ministry officials are reviewing their decision taken in the service tax imposed. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had proposed to levy a 10% service tax, with an abatement of 50%, on treatment carried out at hospitals with 25 or more beds with central air conditioning and diagnostic test services. Till now the service tax was levied only on health check-ups carried out by hospitals for employees of business entities and health services offered under insurance schemes. The finance minister announced and confirmed the change in policy of imposing tax in a function organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry on Saturday. There was a huge disagreement of the imposition of the tax among the ministers and people in medical fraternity as well. The IMA has proposed a withdrawal addressed to the prime minister which mentions the response of most of the citizens in the nation terming it as a misery tax. In an attempt to put pressure March 12 is called for a misery day by the medical society. Private hospitals being already expensive will become unaffordable by the common man with such tax policy. The healthcare facility has a point over such decision saying this would rather pull out the general public to remain ill rather spend an amount which is high up their balance. This would indirectly raise health concerns in the nation. The bill is being proposed in lok sabha on March 21 and 22 and the entire process may take time till March 24.

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