Bengaluru: Bengaluru’s leading private eye hospital Narayana Nethralaya has sought exemption from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on healthcare supplies to reduce the financial burden on patients.
“The government should include healthcare under zero-related services or reduce GST on medical supplies as it’s impacting the health budget of patients,” Bhujan Shetty, Nethralaya founder and renowned ophthalmologist, told IANS here on Monday, ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget for 2010-21 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha on February 1.
Noting that the GST on supplies, including medical equipment, consumables, lenses, diagnostics, maintenance and labour can’t be offset by the private healthcare providers under the present rules, Shetty said they were forced to pass the indirect tax to patients.
“The GST on lenses has increased to 12 per cent from 5 per cent, medical equipment to 18 per cent from 5.5 per cent and operation theatre consumables to 12 per cent from 5.5 per cent, which increase the cost of healthcare for patients,” asserted Shetty.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shetty emphasised the need to exempt or rationalise the GST on medical supplies to pass on the benefits to patients. “A large developing country, like India, continues to improve healthcare services and the role of the private sector in serving the needy can’t be ignored,” he said.
By bringing healthcare services in the zero-rated services, hospitals can claim input credit against zero output billing. The GST can also be reduced while the third option is to exempt the tax on supplies to healthcare services for reducing the incremental cost impact on hospital.
“This will benefit lakhs of patients across the country,” Shetty said.