Lawmaker seeks probe, audit of PhilHealth financial status

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 19 2020 07:40 PM | Updated as of Jun 19 2020 07:55 PM

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MANILA - The chair of the House Committee on Health has requested for another hearing that would tackle the financial standing of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) amid issues on the implementation of the Universal Health Care law. 

“Nag-manifest po ako na magkaroon kami ng second meeting at mag-focus sa financial presentation ng PhilHealth. Ang claim niya, the reason why ide-delay nila ang implementation of UHC is because of the lack of fund,” Quezon 4th District Rep. Angelina “Helen” Tan said in an interview on ABS-CBN Teleradyo.

Tan also sees the need for a special audit as the state health insurer has been hounded in the past over issues of misuse of funds. 

“Another body ang magtingin, which is COA (Commission on Audit), na i-audit talaga hindi lang itong taong ito na may pandemya, kung ‘di yung mga nagdaang taon kasi yun ang isang isyu ng maraming Pilipino yung trust and confidence natin doon sa ating health insurance,” she said. 

PhilHealth had sought the delay of the implementation of the UHC law, as collections this year took a downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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But PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales said the decision to suspend the implementation of the UHC law depended on lawmakers. 

“Tinanong nila ako anong recommendation ko kasi nga last year ang ibinigay sa aming pondo kalahati lang ng hiningi namin. 'Yan ang suggestion ko. Nasa policymakers natin ‘yan anong gagawing option,” Morales said. 

He pointed out that the UHC has a two-year delivery period. 

“Nasa first 6 months pa lang tayo ng 2 taon na 'yan. Hopefully, kung ma-restart natin ang ekonomiya at makapagkolekta tayo ng buwis at makapagbayad ng premium ang mga miyembro baka hindi na kailangan. Pero kung hindi man, kaya kami nag-uusap, constant consultation kami sa Department of Finance at saka sa DBM (Department of Budget and Management) kung anong dapat gawin,” he said. 

Tan also noted that PhilHealth does not fully get its share of funds from the PCSO and sin tax. 

“Ibig sabihin, hindi lang PhilHealth ang titingnan kung’di DBM, DOF. Siguro they need to sit down. ‘Di ko alam bakit hindi sila nag-a-align at may mga reasons din naman na nire-raise ang ating DBM bakit ganito lang ang ibinibigay nila,” said Tan. 

She assured the public that she will focus on the issue to ensure that poor Filipinos won’t be discouraged to seek hospital treatment. 
 
“Yun ang puso ng Universal Health Care law kay yung din po ang ginagawa namin with Senate na tingnan to ensure na kapag kailangan ng ating kababayan, nagkasakit sila at nagpunta sa ospital hindi sila tatanggihan at sasabihin po ng PhilHealth na wala na pong pondo o kinakapos na po kami,” she said. 

Tan also said that PhilHealth could strengthen its primary care benefit. 

Morales meanwhile said they are ready to cooperate with any investigations into supposed corruption within the agency.

“We cooperate fully with any investigative agency authorized by law to investigate and were open, wala naman kaming tinatago,” said Morales.