LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito has assured that his proposed measure would provide universal health care (UHC) to all Filipinos. 

Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, said Senate Bill No. 1458, otherwise known as the Universal Health Care bill, aims to cover all Filipinos, considering that the prevailing Philippine Health Insurance Inc. (PhilHealth) only covered 91 percent or 93 million Filipinos, as of 2016.

The UHC bill provides for the inclusion of preventive, promotive and rehabilitative health services, in addition to the existing curative health services by PhilHealth.

“We want to lessen the out-of-the pocket expenses of Filipinos for their health needs,” said Ejercito, who held a public consultation on the UHC bill here Thursday.

Under the proposed measure, health benefits for both outpatient and inpatient care shall include medicines, diagnostic studies, vaccinations and geriatric care; while outpatient care includes personal preventive services, prescription drugs, and biological and post-outpatient surgical home and rehabilitation services.

Ejercito said the UHC bill also provides improvement of hospital facilities and enhancement, and increased bed capacity.

“In some government hospitals, patients are staying in hospital corridors and share one bed, which we want to address with the UHC Bill,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ejercito guaranteed sure funding once the bill is passed into law.

“The funds will be sourced from the 80 percent incremental value collected from sin tax, 50-percent share of the national government from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., and the charity fund from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office,” he said.

The final leg of the public consultation on the bill was conducted with stakeholders and government officials of Pangasinan by Ejercito, with members of his committee Senators Joel Villanueva and Nancy Binay, at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center here.

Public consultations were also held in Cebu City, Davao City, and Bicol.

“We want to hear from stakeholders and local government units on the health situation of their jurisdiction that would help us as we draft the final proposal,” said Ejercito, who hopes to pass the UHC bill by May or June this year. (PNA)