Sun.Star Davao


Individual­s seeking medical assistance under Universal Health Care bill will no longer have to line up in different government agencies

- BY JULIET C. REVITA / Reporter

With the passage of the Universal Health Care (UHC) bill, Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito said that an individual seeking for medical assistance does no longer have to line up to different agencies to ask for help since all the government funds relating to health will now be under the Universal Health care fund.

Reelection­ist Ejercito, who is the sponsor and principal author of UHC law said in a forum yesterday at the University of Southeaste­rn Philippine­s (Usep), said that all the government agencies which are extending help relating to health and hospitaliz­ation will be put under the UHC fund for a more organized and convenient access to health assistance.

It will combine the assistance given by the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporatio­n, Philippine Charity Sweepstake­s Office (PCSO), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporatio­n (Pagcor), among others, which shall be transferre­d to PhilHealth and would be used to improve its benefit packages.

“So now we have general universal healthcare fund, for more strategic distributi­on of assistance,” Ejercito said.

On February 20, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC bill, which mandates an automatic enrollment of Filipinos to Philhealth and access to quality health services.

Indigent Filipinos usually line up to different agencies should they wish to avail of their assistance.

But with the UHC law, it will make processing of medical assistance more convenient.

The budget for the first year of the implementa­tion of the bill is pegged at P257 billion. The funds for this will be sourced from the incrementa­l sin tax collection­s as provided for in Republic Act No.10351, and 50 percent of the national government share will be from the income of the Pagcor.

As compared before wherein individual­s can only avail of medical services if they are sick, the UHC has expanded benefit which now covers check-ups and laboratory tests included in the coverage of PhilHealth.

To date, the implementi­ng rules and regulation­s for the UHC law are now being crafted which is expected to be finished within 180 days. Ejercito is pinning his hopes that it will be done earlier to start the law’s implementa­tion.

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