President Rodrigo Duterte leads the signing of the Revised Corporation Code and Universal Healthcare Act; Presentation of Redistricting Southern Leyte Act; Social Security Act of 2018; Philippines Sports Training Center Act; Amendments to the New Central Bank Act; and Turnover of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Dividends at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace on February 20, 2019. (Photo grabbed from RTVM video/Courtesy RTVM)
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, February 20, signed the Universal Health Care Act into law which guarantees equitable access to quality and affordable health care for all Filipinos.
Under the law, all Filipinos will be automatically enrolled under the National Health Insurance Program which classifies members as either “direct contributors” for those who have the capacity to pay premiums, or “indirect contributors” for those who indigents, senior citizens and persons with disabilities who will be sponsored by the government.
“By automatically installing our citizens into the National Health Insurance Program and expanding Philhealth coverage to include free medical consultations and laboratory tests, the Universal Health Care that I signed today will guarantee equitable access to quality and affordable health care services for all Filipinos,” President Duterte said in his speech after the signing of the bill.
“Access to health services shall be through every Filipino’s automatic inclusion into the National Health Insurance Program whereby services shall be made available at zero co-payment for non-formal sector and all who opt for basic accommodation and at fixed co¬insurance for all who opt for higher types of accommodation,” the Universal Health Care Act which was signed into law said.
The law will also expand the coverage of Philhealth totall Filipinos, even those abroad.
The coverage will include free diagnostic services, medical tests and consultation fees.
Under the law, all Filipinos will be granted “immediate eligibility” and access to preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative health services, delivered either as population-based or individual-based health services.
Under the bill, “both public and private health facilities shall be engaged to render individual-based services, while the DOH and LGU shall provide both population and individual-based services.”
“The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), as partner of the (Department of Health) DOH, shall coordinate and promote the implementation of this Act nationwide, including the execution of local government unit (LGU)’s operation and investment plans related to health. LGUs shall be primarily responsible for delivering population and individual-based health care services in the communities within their respective jurisdictions,” the bill signed into law Wednesday said.
The bill was introduced by Senator JV Ejercito.
Additional funds for Philhealth will come from several other government agencies, including the charity fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the income from the Philippine Gaming Corporation, the national budget for the Department of Health, contributions of members, and other government subsidies, among others.
It was only given an appropriation of P217 billion under the proposed 2019 national budget, although the funding requirement for this was P257 billion.
President Rodrigo Duterte also led the signing on Wednesday the Revised Corporation Code, Presentation of Redistricting Southern Leyte Act, Social Security Act of 2018, the Philippines Sports Training Center Act; Amendments to the New Central Bank Act; and Turnover of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Dividends at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace.