Once signed into law, House Bill 5784, or the Universal Health Care Coverage Act, every Filipino citizen shall have the right to health security, regardless of whether they can pay premiums or not.
The measure passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives, with a vote of 222-7. A counterpart measure must likewise be approved by the Senate, until a final version consolidating both bills is sent for the President's signature.
“This bill is groundbreaking because with it, every Filipino is granted the right to health by virtue of citizenship. It provides health security to Filipinos not because they can pay premiums, but simply because they are Filipinos,” Deputy Minority Leader and Kabayan Party-List Representative Harry Roque.
All Filipinos will have access to all health services, from health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative, to dental and mental health services.
The proposed law also seeks to transform the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) into the Philippine Health Security Corporation (PHSC), and it shall become the national purchaser of health services.
Further, it includes the creation of a Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) which will be the advisory board to the Secretary and to the Board of PHSC regarding universal health care. A Health Technology Assessment (HTA) shall likewise be institutionalized under the bill.
“HTA denotes any process of examining or reporting properties of a medical technology used in health care, including safety, efficacy, feasibility, and indications for use; cost-effectiveness as well as social, economic and ethical consequences, whether intended or unintended,” Roque was quoted as saying.
The UHC membership will be categorized into two, contributory membership for thhose who pay, and the non-contributory workers such as indigents who shall be fully subsidized by the government, in accordance with the General Appropriations Act.
Meanwhile, DOH-retained hospitals, specialty hospitals and LGU-hospitals will be authorized to utilize their income in fully improving their capacity to serve their clients.
Finally, the Bill clearly defines all the functions of the different agencies involved in health care, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which shall cover the indirect costs such as transportation and accommodation.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), on the other hand, will work with the execution of the law in LGUs, in which will be responsible in delivering health services to people in their respective jurisdiction.
"It is our duty and responsibility to see the enactment of this bill, that gives spirit to the right to health of the people," Roque said. MIMS
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