Lawmakers eyes P420B for universal healthcare coverage for Filipinos

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A party-list lawmaker on Saturday said that the P420-billion budget  proposal would be enough to implement the universal healthcare coverage for Filipinos once it is signed into a law.

In an interview on radio dzBB, Kabayan party-list and deputy minority leader Representative Harry Roque said that contributions of public and private workers and sin taxes will be able to fund House Bill 5784 or the “Universal Health Coverage Act.”

The bill was approved on third and final reading on Wednesday, with a vote of 222 in the affirmative, seven in the negative and zero abstentions.

Under the proposed bill, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will be reconstructed into the Philippine Health Security Corporation (PHSC).

Roque, who is the sponsor of the measure, said that PHSC will be the “national purchaser of health services.”

“Itong Philippine Health Security Corporation, ito ay papalit doon sa PhilHealth na tinatawag natin. Unang una patuloy pa rin doon sa binabayad ng premiums doon sa mga taong nakakabayad ng premiums, kahit hindi kayo makakabayad ng premium kayo ay magiging miyembro ng Philippine Health Security Corporation,” Roque said.

“Pangalawa po, yung mga galing sa tinatawag natin na sin taxes, yung mga pinapataw na buwis sa sigarilyo at sa mga inuming may alcohol ay ‘yun naman po talaga ay nakalaan para sa universal health coverage,” he added.

“Pangatlo po, kung hindi pa rin po sapat ay sagot po tayo ng gobyerno. So ang total budget na ine-expect natin ay P420 billion. Ngayon naman po ay meron tayong P320 billion para sa kalusugan. So P120 billion lang po ang tutustusan natin sa pamamagitan ng ating buwis dahil kaya naman natin,” Roque said.

Filipinos, under the said measure, will be entitled to benefits such as inpatient, outpatient and emergency care services encompassing preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care for medical, dental and mental health services.

“Yung nakalipas na administrasyon, isang trilyon ang hindi ginasta at kaya itong dahilan kung bakit nakumbinse natin ang ating mga kasamahan sa Kongreso na ang dami-daming pera, problema natin ngayon ay under-spending. Bakit hindi natin gastusin para magkaroon ng libreng panggamot at gamot ang lahat ng mga Pilipino,” Roque said.

Meanwhile, Roque added that he is hopeful that its Senate counterpart bill will also be passed this year as this was certified urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Merong panukalang batas si Senator JV Ejercito at ang mas mabuting balita nangako ang liderato ng kamara at Senado na maisasabatas ito sa taong ito dahil ito ay isa mga bill certified urgent ng ating President Duterte,” he said.

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