House OKs universal care bill

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday, Sept. 6, passed on third and final reading the bill providing for universal health care for all Filipinos.

During Wednesday’s session, at least 222 lawmakers voted to approve House Bill 5784, while the seven-member Makabayan bloc voted against it.

According to the bill, all Filipinos are entitled to the benefits of the National Health Security Program, which will be the new name for the National Health Insurance Program.

The bill states that all Filipinos will have universal health coverage, including those who are contributory members as well as non-contributory indigents.

The bill seeks to strengthen the National Health Insurance Fund, which will be renamed as the National Health Security Fund. The Philippine Health Security Corp. will also replace the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

The bill states that the contributors will pay their respective premiums, while the national government will fully subsidize the contributions of the non-contributors.

The subsidy will be earmarked in the General Appropriations Act, the bill read.

The Enhanced Universal Health Care Act is part of the common legislative agenda of the legislative and executive.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas opposed the bill because it allegedly limits the conditionalities for access to the program.

“The problem with insurance-based policy is the event when insurance is taken out of control of the patient. The private hospital dictates what examinations to be done, and it may deny as many insurance claims as possible,” Brosas said.

Act Teachers Rep. France Castro opposed the bill for being heavily reliant on health insurance.

“Bumoto tayo ng NO sa Universal Health Care bill dahil magpapalala ito ng sakit ng Philippine health care system na dulot ng deka-dekadang implementasyon ng privatization, devolution, and decentralization,” she said. –