House panel approves bill allowing President to suspend hikes in PhilHealth premiums

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2023 06:55 PM

MANILA — The House Committee on Health has approved a bill that would authorize the President to suspend and adjust the scheduled hikes PhilHealth premiums during crisis periods.

The bill would amend Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, and give the President this power during national emergencies or calamities or when the public interest so requires.

"Suspending the imposition of the new PhilHealth premium rates will provide much-needed relief during national emergencies or calamities and will assure Filipinos that the government is sensitive to their sentiments in this difficult time," House Bill 6772 said in its explanatory note.

The bill was authored principally by Speaker Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, Rep. Yedda Romualdez, and Rep. Jude Acidre.

"It is imperative that our social safety nets like PhilHealth do not strain its beneficiaries into paying more than they can already afford," Acidre said in his sponsorship speech.

The Universal Healthcare Act mandates a 0.5 percent increase in PhilHealth contributions every year until it reaches the 5 percent limit in 2025.