The Senate approved on third and final reading a bill seeking mandatory Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) membership for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Senate Bill No. 1391, otherwise known as the “Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage for Persons with Disability,” was approved with 18 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention.
The measure was introduced by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and co-sponsored by Senators Loren Legarda, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Joel Villanueva, Leila de Lima, JV Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara and Ping Lacson.
Hontiveros, who sponsored the bill, said the proposed measure seeks to expand the benefits already given to PWDs through the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities by giving them mandatory PhilHealth coverage.
“The proposed measure seeks to expand the benefits already given to PWDs through the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities by giving them automatic PhilHealth coverage.”
Under the bill, the veteran legislator said PhilHealth would shoulder all or some of the expenses when PWDs are hospitalized.
“PWDs are one of the most vulnerable segments of the population. It is doubly difficult when you have a disability and you become sick,” the seasoned lawmaker stressed.
Once approved into law, the lady senator said PhilHealth would be required to develop exclusive packages for the PWDs, taking into account their specific health and development needs.
“The necessary funding for the premium PWDs would be sourced from the sin taxes,” she added.
“The necessary funding for the premium PWDs would be sourced from the sin taxes.”
Meanwhile, Ejercito said the bill seeks to give PWDs the needed aid to sustain their medical needs, including treatments and medicines which they must take because of their disabilities and sickness.
“Through our laws, we aim to contribute in uplifting the PWDs welfare and spirits. When the time comes that persons with disabilities themselves do not feel the difference between being abled and not, we can say that we have served them well. Our laws have equalized the playing field,” he concluded.
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