Malacañang announced on Tuesday that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has certified as urgent a bill seeking to provide universal coverage to government’s health care services.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Universal Health Care (UHC) bill allows Filipinos who cannot give Philhealth contributions to be a member of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) and avail of health insurance benefits, including mental health services.
There are at least 93 million Filipinos who are covered by Philhealth, half of whom are indigents and the rest composed of paying individuals from both formal and informal economies and lifetime members.
Under the House’s proposal, the Philhealth will be reorganized into the Philippine Health Security Corporation which will serve as the national purchaser of health services.
The Department of Health will also be allowed to use in full its income to provide better health services to every Filipino.
According to Philhealth’s 2015 financial statement, the corporation has collected P96.7 billion from premium contributions of all its members, including the government subsidy for indigents.
Philhealth paid out around P97 billion for benefit payments that covered about 8.4 million claims.
Roque said the bill was certified as urgent by the President during an almost nine-hour Cabinet meeting that lasted until 1 a.m. on Tuesday.