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House overwhelmingly approves universal health care for all Filipinos


By Ben Rosario

Voting 222-7, the House of Representatives last night approved on third and final reading the bill providing universal health care for all Filipinos.



A consolidation of three different legislative proposals, House Bill 5784 or the Unviersal Health Coverage Act will amend Republic Act No. 7875, otherwise known as the National Health Insurance Act of 1995.

Principal authors of the consolidated bills are Reps. Harry Roque (Kabayan Partylist); Vilma Santos Recto (LP, Batangas); Angelina D.L. Tan (NPC, Quezon); Victoria Isabel Noel (An Waray Partylist); Rose Marie J. Arenas (PDP-Laban, Pangasinan) and Cheryl P. Deloso Montalla (NUP, Zambales).

HB 5784 underscores the right of every Filipino to have access to a comprehensive set of health services that will not “cause financial hardship”.

Under the bill, in-patient health services will be made available at zero- co-payment for the non contributory group and for those who opt for basic accomomdation, and a fixed co-insurance rates for all who opt for higher types of accommodation.

For outpatient service, zero co-payment in public facilities and fixed co-insurance in private facilities will be guaranteed.

HB 5784 mandates that within three years from its effectivity as a law, every Filipino shall have a guaranteed primary care provider. Within two years, the Philippine Health Security Corporation will implement a comprehensive outpatient benefit, including outpatient drug benefit, in accordance with the recommendations of the Health Technology Assessment Council.

In the bill, the current National Health Insurance Program will be renamed National Health Security Program which will provide health insurance coverage for all Filipino citizens, thus, guaranteeing access to medical care with the least financial risk.

“The program shall serve as a means for the healthy to help pay for the care of the sick and for those who can afford medical care to subsidize those who cannot,” the bill provides.

Members of the program will be categorized as contributory or those who are gainfully employed and non-contributory, referring to indigents, senior citizens and others to be identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

HB 5784 also proposes to create the National Health Security Fund that will get funding from contributions from the program, national government allocation and health assistance funds from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and local government units.

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  • Manong

    They should give options for us to take a philhealth plan where we pay a higher premium like 6k instead of 2.4k a year so that we can get a higher coverage amount. The key here is that this cover should be through our lifetimes as long as we continue on paying the premium every year.

    • Andrew DeKiwi

      @ Manong. The key concept is that patients should receive the health care they need regardless of financial contribution, or stage of life. Creating a privileged subset of the population based on additional payment is counter-intuitive. :)

      • Manong

        It is not counter-intuitive, ensuring sustainability is more important while we still have the demographic advantages of a younger workforce.

        • meenymineymo

          I think private HMOs can assist you with that sir.

          • Manong

            The problem in private HMOs is that the cover is up to a certain age only 60 or 65 and the costs are really high, 24k a year in your 30s for 150k cover? Who covers you after 60 or 65? In other countries, you are covered by an adequate state insurance for your lifetime. Philhealth needs to provide a better alternative so that the private HMOs can be competitive as well.

  • angrycitizen

    If I were to choose free state education bill and this universal healthcare law, I would choose healthcare. It remains to be seen if Philippines can afford both. Eitherway, this is good news for all FIlipinos. Shame that this is not getting much media coverage as they are all focused on Kian.

    • Andrew DeKiwi

      @angrycitizen Let’s hope the Senate passes matching legislation, the Administration provides a budget, and that pending Federalism does not de-rail this critical and overdue initiative. :)

  • Dante

    good bill sana yun system saka protocols maging fraud proof para di mananakaw budget..

  • Happy Folger

    This is a good idea.
    Between corrupt doctors, incompetent and corrupt government employees, laws that are never enforced, and the fact that the Philippines is wretchedly poor, this is just a fantasy.

    • Andrew DeKiwi

      @ Happy Folger The corruption you refer to applies whether there is the current system or the proposed universal coverage. It needs to be tackled for sure, but the provision of universal access is a wonderful improvement, and the House Bill a great first step. Additionally ~ the Philippines is NOT wretchedly poor, though many pinoy are impoverished. There are huge inequities in the distribution of wealth: provision of Universal Free Health care is one means of countering this. :)

      • Happy Folger

        Yes, the Philippines is wretchedly poor. Half the schools in the Philippines have no water supply at all; most of those that do have non-potable well water. You have 30% malnutrition and stunting in children under ten. Life expectancy in some parts of the Philippines are in the low 60s. Philippines is dependent on imports for food, energy, medicine, and manufactured goods. The Philippines perennially ranks amongst the worst for corruption and impunity. Democracy is a hollow joke with every vote either coerced or paid for. Most of the groundwater in the Philippines is contaminated. Millions of Filipinos work abroad for slave wages–and they are considered among the wealthy Filipinos. Your government is run by a fascist dictator who brags about murder; abetted by a rubber-stamp congress and the billionaire class who have been squeezing the Philippines for every peso that they go and spend in LA or Hong Kong. Your judiciary is vestigial, your military is unable to defend your nation, and China is in the process of taking over your EEZ.
        And you think that the Philippines can afford universal healthcare? The Philippines cannot even afford modern healthcare as a nation, much less making it universal.
        Time will prove which one of us is correct.

  • KhuRaft

    Now by law, the Philippines now has a better health care than the United States.

  • Rooney R

    I was with different countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Uk, US and etc, I do believe that the Philippines will surpassed all of them It is high time to retire in the Philippines (Iloilo City)…..

  • 189COWARDS

    wow! Better than China and USA!
    About time… so much misery for sick people.

    Why Pnoy and his Yellows did not pass that kind of law before?

  • MRO

    Lol. San niyo kukunin ang pera pambayad nyan? Baka libreng tuli lang hnd nyo na magawa

    • meenymineymo

      Sa tingin mo ba ikaw lang nakaisip ng bagay na yan kung saan kukuha ng pondo? Sa palagay mo lahat ng congressman di nila naisip yun at ikaw lang, tanging ikaw lang may angking talino?

  • Mario Tan

    Easier said than done.

    • Aphetsky Lasa

      Let us be optimistic.

  • Alladin

    Thanks PRRD.

  • Edwin Subijano

    I hope it’s supported with adequate budget !!! If not it’s as useless as a dead duck !!!