PASAY CITY, Philippines – The two chambers of Congress failed to agree on some provisions of the Universal Health Care Bill.
Because of this, the Bicameral Conference Committee delayed the passage of the bill that aims for coverage of all Filipino citizens in the Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth).
In the House version of the bill, there are equal benefits package for paying and non-paying members of PhilHealth.
The Senate contradicts this provision, believing that this may cause financial crisis to the state the insurance.
“Ang self-employed walang employee-employer relationship iyan; aalang kaltas sweldo. So, kung alam kong covered na lahat, bakit ako magbabayad? By doing these two packages, you’re preserving the incentive for them to pay,” argued Senator Ralph Recto.
The Senate panel insists that the paying members of the PhilHealth should have extra or additional incentives.
The House panel is open to the said idea.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) is concerned about the implementation of said law in private hospitals.
“Kasi ito babayaran mo, tapos ang gagawin ng private sector, tataasan ang fees, so nada-dilute ang impact ng bayad ng PhilHealth. So, I think the way to address this is to really regulate it,” said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III.
According to Senate Committee on Health and Demography chairman Joseph Victor Ejercito, there are five concerns that need to be agreed upon by the Bicam.
He added that the funds for the said bill should also be tackled by the panel.
“In the 3rd or 4th year onward, we might need additional revenues, kaya tinutulak ko rin yung additional sin taxes,” Ejercito said.
The Bicam will resume its deliberation for the passage of the universal health care bill next week.
By next hearing, the DOH and PhilHealth are expected to ascertain how the new benefit packages and rate increase computed in the implementation of the said law. – Nel Maribojoc