WITH the passage of the Universal Health Care (UHC) bill, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said that an individual seeking for medical assistance will no longer have to line up in different agencies since all the government funds relating to health will now be under the UHC fund.
Reelectionist Ejercito, who is the sponsor and principal author of UHC law, said in a forum Friday, March 1, 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.