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Axe healthcare tax: Indian medical fraternity


Ginny Narula,CNN-IBN
Mar 09, 2011 at 08:41pm IST

New Delhi: Ever since the govt announced a new service tax on healthcare services this union budget, pressure has been growing to announce a roll-back. Noted cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty launched a nation-wide appeal - calling this a misery tax.

Dr Devi Shetty, Cardiologist and Chairman, Narayana Hrudaylaya said, "India spends less than 1 per cent of its GDP on health care. Less than 10 per cent of the population can afford heart surgery, or even cancer treatment."

Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and MD, Medanta The Medicity said, "My plea to finance minister, they're already stretched, lets not burden them further."

Doctors propose to mark March 12 as a 'Misery Day', over this 10 per cent service tax with a 50 per cent abatement, on all medical and diagnostic services.

What does a five per cent service tax entail? CNN-IBN cross-checked with several leading hospitals in New Delhi and Mumbai.

A Bone marrow transplant costs between Rs 10 to 20 lakh. With this service tax, costs would shoot up an additional Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

Angioplasty costs between Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh depending on the hospital you go to. With this service tax, patients would have to pay Rs 75,000 to Rs 1.75 lakh more.

Dialysis can cost anywhere between Rs 12,000 to Rs 30,000 per day. With this service tax, that shoots up by Rs 60 to Rs 150 per day.

The hospitals are not the only ones reacting sharply to the proposed service tax on healthcare, the Indian Medical Association has written an open letter to pm equating this move to the Salt tax levied by Britishers on innocent citizens.

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