Why Universal Health Care Bill matters

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2018 03:31 AM

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MANILA - Universal access to quality health services for all Filipinos.

Senator JV Ejercito had this to say about the Universal Health Care Bill, which was approved Tuesday by the bicameral conference committee.

"Automatic covered na lahat ng Filipino ng National Health Insurance Program," he told "Bandila sa DZMM."

Under the bill, membership will be classified as direct contributor or those who have the capacity to pay premiums or indirect contributor or those sponsored by the government like the indigents, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

Ejercito, principal author of the Senate version of the measure, said the passage of the bill would expand PhilHealth coverage, which will 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 will pooled from the incremental sin tax collections, charity fund from Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), income from the Philippine 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.

"For us to have a universal health care na kompleto, ang target natin ay 5-10 years in time," he added.

The senator said he hopes the measure will be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte before the year ends.

The bill has to be ratified by Congress before submitted to the Office of the President for review.

Duterte certified the bill as priority in July.