Senator Joel Villanueva lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to certify as a priority measure the Universal Health Coverage Bill.
The House of Representatives approved the bill on third and final reading on September 6 last year while the Senate version is still pending.
At the Senate, Villanueva authored Senate Bill No. 60 or the Enhanced Universal Healthcare Act together with Senators Ralph Recto and Sherwin Gatchalian. The measure seeks to expand the benefit packages being offered by PhilHealth by increasing the amount of benefits to lessen the out-of-pocket expenses on the part of the members.
Improving the benefit packages would entail the inclusion of preventive and promotive health services in a bid to alleviate the chances of hospital confinement and encourage a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos.
As of 2016, 91 percent or 93 million Filipinos are covered by PhilHealth. About half of them are indigents while the rest are composed of paying individuals from both formal and informal economies and lifetime members.
“We want all Filipinos or 100% of the population to be covered by PhilHealth since we believe that every Filipino should not suffer any injustice in availing health services.”
“We want all Filipinos or 100 percent of the population to be covered by PhilHealth since we believe that every Filipino should not suffer any injustice in availing health services,” the legislator said.
“The bill aims to qualify every Filipino for health insurance benefits regardless if he or she is a PhilHealth ID holder or not.”
The lawmaker added that the bill aims to qualify every Filipino for health insurance benefits regardless if he or she is a card-carrying PhilHealth member or not.
Based on the financial statements of Philhealth in 2015, the corporation collected P96.7 billion from premium contributions of all its members, including the government subsidy for indigents.
Consequently, PhilHealth paid out around P97 billion for benefit payments that covered about 8.4 million claims. If each claim would be treated as one patient, then it can be assumed that on average, each person who had availed of PhilHealth benefits in 2015 only got P11,500 each, or a measly amount to cover annual medical expenses.
Meanwhile, under the bill, funds from the said program will be sourced from: a) 80 percent of the incremental value collected from sin tax; b) 50 percent share of the national government from income from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and c) the charity fund from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The amount that will come from the said sources will be included in the General Appropriations Act as a subsidy for PhilHealth that will be allocated under the budget of the Department of Health.
“We thank the President for certifying the Universal Health Coverage Bill as a priority measure. This will definitely help in the swift passage of a law which will improve the PhilHealth benefits and provide coverage to all Filipinos,” the senator said.