MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday backed President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to defer the contribution rate hike for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth), saying the state health insurer should first address corruption and inefficiencies within the agency.
Under the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, PhilHealth was supposed to increase its monthly rates to 3.5 percent this year, but Duterte instructed the state insurance firm to defer the hike while there is still a global pandemic.
"Tama lang na i-defer kasi nga, bakit mo paparusahan 'yung mga miyembro ng PhilHealth sa kasalanan ng PhilHealth?"
(The decision to defer it was right because why would you penalize PhilHealth members for PhilHealth's inadequacies?)
"Hindi pa nare-resolve saan napunta ang pera ng PhilHealth. 'Yung para sa COVID napunta sa dialysis, napunta sa infirmary," Lacson said
(We still have not yet resolved where PhilHealth's money went. The fund for COVID was used for dialysis, infirmaries.)
Lacson was referring to a Senate investigation last year which found that PhilHealth had disbursed COVID-19 funds to health facilities not tending to coronavirus patients.
In its committee report, the Senate recommended the filing of graft and malversation charges against high-ranking health officials, including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who has been part of the PhilHealth board for decades.
Apart from the alleged misuse of COVID-19 funds, PhilHealth was also mired in ghost dialysis scandals and overpricing issues in recent years.