Corporatizing health-A A +A
Slice of Life
Thursday, July 26, 2012
APPREHENSIONS are rife that government will push for the complete privatization of public hospitals in the country. House Bill 6069 or "An Act Creating National Government Hospital Corporations," may leave patients at the mercy of corporations whose interest is to operate for profit rather than save the lives of those who need quality and affordable health services.
Health officials have denied the allegation of privatization of health services, the Public-Private Partnership scheme is simply designed to "bring more resources to the health sector using private investments and practices under a government overarching authority." The public has yet to know how this would work out, including its implication on public health.
The PPP scheme could result to higher hospital fees and which could make health care services further inaccessible for families. Look around state run hospitals and how many of these people do not have enough resources to ensure that their loved one are able to get appropriate medical attention, prompt service and affordable medicines that could save lives.
From the point of view of public officials and proponents of the PPP scheme, corporatizing health care management will ensure efficient management of resources which could not be possible under the present system.
So why let the public shoulder the brunt of government inefficiency or mismanagement of resources? Why not focus on systems improvement rather than allow private entities to operate and manage health care for the public?
Under the scheme, the private sector will construct the physical facilities, procure and install the equipment, and operate and maintain them for 10 years. How government intends to improve its system to ensure efficient health services remains to be seen.
Even with the intention to sustain PhilHealth membership for those in the informal sector through partial LGU subsidy and fees from administrative licenses, permits and other documents needs to be reviewed especially with observations even from LGUs that subsidies have been politicized.
Government cannot abandon its responsibility to provide affordable and adequate health care for the majority. It cannot pass on its commitment for efficient health management to corporations and snuff out the chance for families to make it out in life.
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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 26, 2012.