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DUTERTE TO URGE CONGRESS TO PASS UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE BILL IN 3RD SONA – ANGARA

Senator Sonny Angara welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to certify as urgent the Universal Health Coverage bill, saying he is expecting the President to urge Congress to pass the measure in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“The President’s call would definitely help speed up the passage of this bill that aims to ensure that every Filipino will have access to complete health services-from free check-ups and medicines to free hospital treatment and end-of-life care.”

“The President’s call would definitely help speed up the passage of this bill that aims to ensure that every Filipino will have access to complete health services-from free check-ups and medicines to free hospital treatment and end-of-life care. Kapag naisabatas ito, wala nang Pilipinong magigipit kapag may sakit,” Angara said.

“I am confident that the Senate will swiftly act on this measure. Dahil sa magandang layunin nito na gawing libre ang check-up, lab tests, medisina, pagpapagamot sa ospital at rehabilitasyon, tiyak na susuportahan ito ng ating mga kasamahan sa Senado,” added the seasoned legislator, one of the authors of the bill.

The House of Representatives has approved its version of the measure while the Senate version is pending at the committee level.

The proposed measure seeks to reorganize the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) into the Philippine Health Security Corporation which will serve as the national purchaser of health services.

The bill seeks to reorganize the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) into the Philippine Health Security Corporation which will serve as the national purchaser of health services.

The seasoned lawmaker’s father, the late Senate President Edgardo Angara, is known as the “Father of PhilHealth” for authoring the law that created PhilHealth in 1995.

The younger Angara, on the other hand, is one of the authors of Republic Act 10606 or the National Health Insurance Act of 2013 which ensured that even poor Filipinos can avail of PhilHealth benefits. Under such law, the government is mandated to shoulder the premiums for the health insurance of the indigent and informal sectors.

At present, Angara has been leading the call in the Senate for the passage of the Universal Health Coverage measure (Senate Bill 1673) that aims to expand PhilHealth’s primary care coverage-including promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services-to all Filipinos.

The senator said that the among the leading causes of death of Filipinos are non-communicable or lifestyle-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lung disease, and diabetes, which are preventable.

“Sa ngayon, ang serbisyo ng PhilHealth ay nakatuon sa paggamot o iyong curative health services. Dapat ay palawakin din nito ang access sa promotive and preventive health services sa pamamagitan ng libreng check-up, lab tests at mga gamot upang maagapan ang paglala ng mga sakit,” said Angara, a known advocate of health reforms including the Rare Diseases Act and the Mental Health Law.

He has also filed a separate bill (SB 1555) that mandates the PhilHealth to establish a benefit package for palliative and hospice care to provide support for terminally ill patients. He is also pushing for bills that will make dialysis and cancer treatment more affordable and accessible.

“Nilikha ang PhilHealth para mapangalagaan ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Sinisiguro nito na ang lahat ay kayang magpagamot nang hindi iniisip ang gastusin. Dapat ay palakasin at palawakin ang serbisyo ng PhilHealth para mapakinabangan lalo na ng mga mahihirap,” Angara concluded.

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