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Cigarette prices to increase more with passage of Universal Health Care Bill – DOH

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2018

 

A man taps ashes off his cigarette into an ashtray filled with cigarette. | REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

MANILA, Philippines – The prices of cigarettes are seen to go up further as higher tariffs are set to be imposed on tobacco products to fund the Universal Health Care Bill, which aims to provide Filipinos with access to health services.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the increase in tobacco prices is due to the new round of sin taxes which will be on top of the hikes under the first package of the Tax Reform Law.

The tax hikes will be a major source of funding once The Universal Health Care Law is enacted. Over P135B fund is needed for the first year of its implementation and a total of P256B for the fourth year.

“Eighty-five percent (85%) of the incremental proceeds will go to health and 80% of the 85% share of the health sector doon pupunta sa PhilHealth at iyon namang bente porsyento ay para mapondohan ang ating mga health facilities enhancement program,” Duque explained.

Though the amount of the price increase still depends on the decision of the lawmakers, Secretary Duque believes this is a win-win solution for the health of the Filipinos.

He also supports Senator Jv Ejercito’s proposal to hike cigarette prices to P90.00 per pack. If the Congress approves the bill, the government will collect more revenue compared to the current P35.00 price per pack in 2019.

“Magkakaroon po tayo ng proceeds po ng about P45B. Malaking bahagi nito mapupunta sa pagpondo ng PhilHealth para doon po sa mahihirap na walang kakayahang magbayad ng kanilang pagiging miyembro,” he added.

The health official believes this move would also save more lives and reduce the number of smokers. It would also save the government billions of pesos in treating sick Filipino smokers.

Our target is to really bring it down to the 14% level of smoking prevalence from a high of 21.47% pero iyang 21. 47% bumaba na rin iyan kasi nagkaroon na rin tayo ng sin tax,” he concluded. F

The World Health Organization has reported that 17 Filipinos are dying every hour due to smoking.- Aiko Miguel / UNTV News and Rescue

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Bicam panel approves Universal Health Care bill

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

 

The Congressional Bicameral Conference Committee has finally approved on Tuesday (November 27) the reconciled version of the Universal Health Care Bill after two hearings.

Under the bill, all Filipinos will be able to avail of government’s health services. Active Philhealth members will also get special package benefits.

“It has been agreed upon that there are special package or incentives for the regular contributories for them to continue,” said Senator JV Ejercito, chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography.

He added that if the bill is signed into law, the funding for it will be guaranteed in the current budget at least in the first two years: P257 billion for the first year and P280 billion the following year.

For the succeeding years, Congress will need to approve additional taxes for tobacco to meet the necessary funds under the universal health care law.

Ejercito hopes the Senate and the House will ratify the bill so it can be transmitted immediately to Malacañang for review and President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.

 

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Bicam fails to approve the Universal Health Care Bill

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

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

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DOH, health advocates push for higher tax on cigarettes

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and several health advocates are calling on the  immediate passage of a measure that would increase the taxes on cigarettes.

No less than Health Secretary Francisco Duque III led a forum on Friday (October 12) to campaign and push the Senate Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Senator Sonny Angara to increase the amount of excise tax on cigarette items.

Duque emphasized that the proposal would help minimize the number of smokers and patients who fall ill and die because of smoking cigarettes.

“The ultimate goal of the DOH is understanding that the Sin Tax law must proceed with the angle of health and

The group urges Senate to consider a P60.00 or P90.00 in tax to each pack of cigarettes.

Based on a prior study on the impact of the measure, around one to two million smokers would be encouraged to quit once the proposal becomes a law.

“Kapag tumaas kasi ang presyo siempre magkakaroon iyan ng impact sa demand, sa consumption at magkakaroon din iyan ng impact sa number of smokers,” Duque said.

The Health Secretary already forwarded a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte requesting him to certify as urgent the proposed increase in excise tax on cigarettes.

Aside from health reasons, the DOH believes that the additional tax on cigarettes will help support the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Bill once it is enacted into law. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano.)

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