Great, what’s next?

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

WE’VE been wait­ing and, fi­nally, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte had signed uni­ver­sal health care (UHC) into law. Ev­ery Filipino is now en­ti­tled to free med­i­cal care—from pre­ven­tion to treat­ment to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion—un­der the Na­tional Health Se­cu­rity pro­gram. On its first year of im­ple­men­ta­tion, the law gets a bud­get of P257 bil­lion. Un­der the 2019 bud­get, only around P217 bil­lion was pegged for the pro­gram. The P40-bil­lion gap, gov­ern­ment said, will be shoul­dered by rais­ing taxes for to­bacco prod­ucts, al­though Congress is still draft­ing a fi­nal ver­sion of the bill. The other sources of funds will be the 50 per­cent share the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment gets from the Philip­pine Amuse­ment and Gam­ing Corp., 40 per­cent from the Philip­pine Char­ity Sweep­stakes Of­fice’s Char­ity Fund, the Philip­pine Health In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion’s pre­mium con­tri­bu­tions, and the Health depart­ment’s an­nual ap­pro­pri­a­tions. The gov­ern­ment wants a grad­ual im­ple­men­ta­tion of the law, while it seeks other means to fund it. Un­der the law, the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of ben­e­fi­cia­ries had been sim­pli­fied. One may be an in­di­rect con­trib­u­tor or gov­ern­ment-spon­sored pa­tients, such as in­di­gents, se­nior cit­i­zens and per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties; or a di­rect con­trib­u­tor, those who have the ca­pac­ity to pay their in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums. With so large a bud­get for UHC, gov­ern­ment gains bet­ter po­si­tion in ne­go­ti­at­ing for lower pric­ing for medicines and gain lever­age in the med­i­cal mar­ket. Gov­ern­ment be­comes the big­gest client in the health care in­dus­try. Sec­tors who are against UHC see some­thing unjust in the equa­tion. In the US, only 5 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion makes use of about 50 per­cent of the coun­try’s health care cost in a year. The health­i­est 50 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion con­sumes only around three per­cent of the uni­ver­sal health care bud­get. The Philip­pines is a dif­fer­ent story. The coun­try’s poverty in­ci­dence in 2015 was 26.3 per­cent, per Philip­pine Sta­tis­tics Au­thor­ity cen­sus. The top lead­ing causes of mor­tal­ity are heart and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses, di­a­betes mel­li­tus, ac­ci­dents, the Depart­ment of Health (DOH) re­ported. With the new law, the DOH will con­tinue its pop­u­la­tion-based health care pro­grams, while the Phil­health ze­roes in on in­di­vid­ual-based health care./suns­tar Cebu

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.