Quimbo questions proposed P100.2-B national government subsidy to PhilHealth

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2022 05:46 AM

Rep. Quimbo questions proposed P100.2-B nat'l gov’t subsidy to PhilHealth

The facade of the PhilHealth Head Office in Pasig City on September 5, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
The facade of the PhilHealth Head Office in Pasig City on September 5, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation is not dying, an official said on Monday, adding its actuarial life will last “forever”.

PhilHealth Officer-in-Charge Eli Dino Santos told this to the House Committee on Appropriations after Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo’s questioned his initial pronouncement that PhilHealth needs support from the national government, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office for its actuarial life to last beyond 2027.

Based on PhilHealth data, it had a net income of P32.8 billion last year. That’s after benefit expenses amounting to P140.2 billion and operational expenses of P7.8 billion are deducted from PhilHealth’s total 2021 income of P171.2 billion, plus interest and other income amounting to P9.7 billion.

“Kasi tuwing tinatanong natin kung ano ang actuarial life ng PhilHealth, lagi ninyong sinasabi sa amin na mamamatay na ang PhilHealth. Kanina tinanong din ano ang actuarial life, hindi makasagot si Mr. President. Ang sabi niya, kung itutuloy ninyo ang subsidy, aabot naman siguro ng 2027. Nakaka-nerbyos po yung mga pronouncements na 'yun. Baka iniisip ng ating mga kababayan na nalulugi na ang PhilHealth,” Quimbo said.

“Tuwing magiintroduce kayo ng benefit payments, that is subject to actuarial validation, tama po? …Sa ngayon sa kinikita ninyo, the only way na mamamatay ang pondo is kung mamimigay kayo ng benefits way more than what you have. At hindi ninyo hahayaan mangyari ‘yun,” she added.

“PhilHealth will last forever,” Santos reassured the panel.

“Salamat po sa reassurance. At sana po beginning today, 'wag na kayo magsabi ng taning sa buhay ng PhilHealth. Kasi talagang kinakabahan ang lahat ng miyembro na nagko-contribute,” Quimbo told PhilHealth.

The lawmaker also questioned the P100.2-billion national government subsidy to PhilHealth for 12.75 million indigent families next year. Quimbo said data from the National Household Targeting System show that as of August 2022, there are only 5.59 indigent households in the Philippines, or equivalent to around 6.2 million families.

“Paano nakarating ‘yung 6.2 (million) sa 12.75 (million)?” Quimbo asked. “Ako, unang tingin pa lang, you are overcharging government, unfortunately."

PhilHealth explained that according to the National Health Insurance Act, only those ages below 21 years old are considered dependents. Quimbo instructed PhilHealth to present a clearer computation for the subsidy they are asking for from the national government. 

PhilHealth agreed to look into it.

“You always come to us and tell us malapit nang mamatay ang PhilHealth, because Congress refuses to give us the budget subsidy that we want. And then on our end, we say, why will we give you that much amount, when you can’t even come to us with reasonable computations?” Quimbo said.

“Hindi maliwanag ang computation ng singil ninyo sa national government nitong subsidy na pagkalaki-laki P100.2 billion, at lagi ninyong ginagawang dahilan, year in, year out, para n’yo kaming hina-hijack, emotionally hijack. Lagi niyong sinasabi, 'mamatay kami dahil sa Kongreso,'” she noted.

PhilHealth is set to receive some P34.99 billion in 2023 to improve its benefit packages under the Universal Healthcare Act.

The PCS and PAGCOR last May signed a joint circular on the guidelines for the operationalization of funds for the Universal Healthcare Law. 

Under the law, 50 percent of government's share from the income of PAGCOR and 40 percent of PCSO funds will be transferred to the Bureau of Treasury and then to PhilHealth via the General Appropriations Act to improve its benefit packages.


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