Bong Go urges executive department to push through with implementation of Universal Health Care Law

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Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged the executive department to ensure the timely implementation of the Universal Health Care Law following the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s recommendation to delay its implementation. With the current pandemic, Go emphasized that the law is needed by Filipinos now, more than ever.

“Hinihimok po natin ang gobyerno na ituloy ang implementasyon ng UHC Law na kailangan ng mga Pilipino lalo na ngayon na may mga banta ng COVID-19 at iba pang mga sakit,” Go said, emphasizing that the law was certified then as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“May dahilan po kung bakit ‘yan na-certify na urgent ng Pangulo noong ito ay panukala pa lamang. Malaki po ang pangangailangang medikal ng ating mga kababayan kaya mahalagang ma-implementa ito,” said Go.

The Senator is also mindful that the start of the rainy season may result to significant spikes in the number of infectious disease cases, such as dengue. “Maraming mga sakit ang tumatama sa ating mga kababayan. Hindi lang naman COVID-19 ang saklaw ng PhilHealth. Sa pagdating ng tag-ulan, aasahan natin ang iba pang sakit, katulad ng dengue. Dagdag pa dyan ang iba’t ibang kondisyong medikal ng mga kababayan natin, katulad ng cancer, kidney failure, hypertension na kailangan din ng tulong mula sa PhilHealth,” Go added.

In a June 18 virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. said that suspending the implementation of the Universal Health Care is against the law. “Well, ito po’y labag sa literal na probisyon ng batas at dun po sa intensyon ng mga nagsulong ng batas na ito.”

Roque also concurred with Go’s earlier statements that the law provides for the use of state funds, if needed, to ensure available health services to Filipinos in the event that PhilHealth premiums will not be able to cover all expenses.

“Tama po si Senator Bong Go, kung kinakailangan, gagamitin natin ang bilyon-bilyon na galing po sa kaban ng bayan dahil ‘yan naman po ay pangako ng Presidente, at isang obligasyon ng estado na ibigay ang mabuting kalusugan sa lahat ng mga mamamayan,” Roque stressed.

Meanwhile, Go also renewed his appeal for the investigation on alleged corruption cases in PhilHealth. “Managot ang dapat managot kahit na magkasama tayo sa gobyerno at magkaibigan tayo. Kung ano lang po ang tama. ‘Yan po ang pinagbibilin parati ng Pangulo – Do what is right.”

The Senator also gave an assurance that Malasakit Centers, one-stop shops established in government hospitals all over the country where patients can seek medical assistance from various government agencies, remain prepared to assist Filipinos in need. Go principally authored Republic Act 11463, the law that institutionalized this initiative.

Go said enough funds have been allotted or released for the services offered by Malasakit Centers. “Sa ngayon, budgeted naman po ‘yung operations ng pagpapagamot for this year.” He added that other agencies have existing medical assistance programs that are available in the Malasakit Centers.

“Marami naman pong tumutulong sa Malasakit Center, tulad ng PhilHealth, DOH, PCSO at DSWD. Tuloy-tuloy po ang tulong ng mga Malasakit Center all over the country,” he said.

As for some concerns from overseas Filipino workers regarding their increased PhilHealth premiums, Go proposed for the review of pertinent provisions in the law if necessary. He stressed that it is important to study the need to amend it in consideration of the concerns raised by some sectors given the pandemic and the financial hardship it caused to affected Filipinos.

The Senator also emphasized the need to ensure the sustenance of the UHC Law through possible legislative enhancements without compromising the government’s vision of providing universal health care to all Filipinos.

Go also asked the state health insurance provider to improve its information dissemination campaign to better inform Filipinos on where their contributions are going.

“Umaapela din ako sa PhilHealth na mas lalong pagbutihin pa ang inyong pagbibigay ng mga sapat na impormasyon upang mas maintindihan ng lahat ng Pilipino kung saan napupunta ang mga kontribusyon nila,” Go said.

“Sa bawat pisong lumalabas sa bulsa ng ating mga kababayan, dapat alam nila kung anu-anong mga benepisyo ang naibibigay naman sa kanila ng gobyerno,” he added./Stacy Ang

 

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