Health care for all: Duterte signs Universal Healthcare Act

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2019 05:28 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday signed the Universal Health Care Act, a measure that would provide health care coverage for all Filipinos. 

The measure ensures all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health goods and services and protection against financial risks. It automatically enrolls all Filipinos to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

Under the measure, membership in the NHIP will be classified as “direct contributors” or those who have the capacity to pay premiums, or “indirect contributors” or those sponsored by the government such as indigents, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

The law also grants every Filipino “immediate eligibility” and access to preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative health services, delivered either as population-based or individual-based health services.

Senator JV Ejercito, principal author of the Senate version of the measure, earlier said the passage of the law would expand PhilHealth coverage, which would include free medical checkups, laboratory tests, and other diagnostic services.

All graduates of health-related courses who are recipients of government-funded scholarship programs will be required to serve for at least 3 years in the public sector, he said.

Funds for public health coverage will be pooled from the incremental sin tax collections, charity fund from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), income from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), premium contribution of members, annual appropriations of the Department of Health (DOH), and government subsidy to PhilHealth.

Budget for the first year of the implementation of the bill is pegged at P257 billion, Ejercito said. - with Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News