By Analou De Vera
A health advocacy group is urging President Duterte to reiterate in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) the immediate passage of the Universal Health Care (UHC) bill.
New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) president Emer Rojas said they are hoping that the President “will directly tell lawmakers to swiftly pass the measure as it will help attain the long-sought healthcare coverage for each and every Filipino.”
“It is imperative that the government ensure that all the healthcare needs of Filipinos are sufficiently addressed as it is the state’s primary responsibility and a basic human right,” Rojas said.
“And there is no better venue for the President to underscore his desire to achieve such a goal than during his SONA on Monday, when he faces the nation as well as congressmen and senators,” he added.
Rojas said that if the UHC bill will be passed, it will be beneficial to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and tobacco victims since it will ensure that they are especially provided for with their respective healthcare needs.
“Under the current system, PhilHealth already provides specific benefits to PWD members as well as to those that fell ill with cancer and other diseases brought about by smoking. But the medical and rehabilitation support may be enhanced if the UHC law is passed,” said Rojas.
Under the UHC bill, there will be an automatic inclusion of all Filipinos into the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).
Earlier this month, President Duterte certified the bill as urgent during a Cabinet meeting.
The House of Representatives has passed its version of the UHC bill (House Bill No. 5784) on third and final reading in September last year. On the other hand, the Senate counterpart measure is still pending at its committee on health.