Palace grateful for Universal Heath Care bill passage

MANILA MalacaAang on Wednesday thanked the Senate for passing the Universal Health Care (UHC) bill, which aims to give all-inclusive health coverage for Filipinos.

We thank the Senate for passing on third and final reading the landmark Universal Health Care bill, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

Roque, who authored the UHC bill when he was still a member of the House of Representatives, had pressed the Senate for its passage.

On a personal level, the Universal Health Care Bill is close to me, for I was the principal author of the House version of the bill, Roque said.

The House passed its version of the landmark measure in September 2017.

Roque described the measure as groundbreaking since it allows automatic inclusion of all Filipinos into the National Health Insurance Program.

Roque said the Duterte administration's prioritization of the UHC bill is part of the chief executive's promise to provide Filipinos with a comfortable life.

The prioritization of the Universal Health Care Bill bespeaks of the Duterte administration's unrelenting commitment to provide the marginalized and disadvantaged with sufficient and better health care services, Roque said.

In his state of the nation address last July, Duterte endorsed UHC bill as among his priority measures.

The Senate, voting 14-0, approved Senate Bill 1896, or the Universal Health care for all Filipinos Act which seeks to institute reforms in the mandates, responsibilities and jurisdiction of agencies that implement the country's universal health care program, such as the Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) and local government units.

Under the bill, all Filipino citizens, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will automatically be enrolled into the PhilHealth, whether as direct contributor (those who have the capacity to pay premiums) or indirect contributor (those sponsored by the government like the indigents, senior citizens, among others).

For indirect contributors, premium subsidy shall be included annually in the General Appropriations Act.

PhilHealth coverage would also be expanded to include free consultation fees, laboratory tests and other diagnostic services.

The bill also calls for the improvement of doctor-to-patient ratio, upgrading of hospital bed capacities and equipment as well as establishment of hospitals in remote areas.

All graduates of health-related courses from state universities and colleges or government-funded scholarship programs will be required to serve for at least three years in the public sector, the bill said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency