The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday requested the Centre to immediately withdraw the imposition of GST on healthcare services. In a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, it said that the decision is unfortunate and unfair for people of the country, and without input tax credits, will lead to a rise in healthcare costs.
“The 47th GST Council meeting has recommended that ‘Like CTEPs, common bio-medical waste treat-ment facilities for treatment or disposal of biomedical waste shall be taxed at 12 per cent so as to allow them ITC’. This is to be effective from 18th of July 2022. This was earlier in GST exempted category,” said the IMA, the largest association of modern medicine doctors, representing more than 4 lakh doc-tors and their healthcare establishments, said in the letter. “The GST Council, in its meeting, has also recommended that ‘Room rent, excluding ICU, exceeding Rs 5,000 per day per patient charged by the hospital will also be taxed at 5 per cent, without ITC’. This is to be effective from 18th of July 2022. This was earlier in GST exempted category. “We, as collective voice of all establishments and doctors of the country express our serious concerns and objections to these new taxes in healthcare sector.
This step will add big additional cost to the healthcare of people,” the IMA said in the letter.
Noting that the healthcare system of country is not on track owing to meagre government spending on health, and people are dependent upon the private sector, with high out of pocket expenditures, the IMA said that the decision of adding GST will simply raise the basic bed rates.
“Keeping rates below Rs 5,000 will compel augmentation of other charges for feasibility,” it said.
Similarly, a steep rise of 12 per cent on biomedical waste is unjustified and it will raise the cost of run-ning hospitals and clinics, and further translate into raised charges for the patients. It is not reasonable to burden patients with more charges in these difficult times, it said.
“Application of GST will push healthcare towards business model away from service centric one, and it will not be fair to our citizens already facing many hardships,” the IMA said.
“So, it is our sincere and immediate request to withdraw GST on Room Rent and Biomedical Waste in the larger interest of the public healthcare. We look forward for an urgent meeting on these serious issues and a hold of GST imposition on room rent and Biomedical Waste in the meantime,” said IMA National President Dr Sahajanand Prasad Singh in the letter.