Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 1896 under Committee Report No. 401 or "An Act Instituting Universal Health Care For All Filipinos".
During his speech, Villanueva mentioned that the measure will pave the way for all Filipinos’ inclusion in our National Health Insurance Program either as direct or indirect contributory members.
This means that all Filipinos can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose them to financial hardship.
"Bawat Pilipino, dapat miyembro ng Philhealth, may makokonsultang doktor, at may matatakbuhang ospital o healthcare provider," Villanueva said.
In 2013, the mandatory coverage of indigent patients and other sponsored members of the DSWD increased Philhealth coverage up to 92 percent of our population or roughly 93.5 million Filipinos.
"Our goal is to achieve full 100-percent coverage in the most expedient way possible, expand our health benefit package, and bring more doctors to remote communities," Villanueva said.
"Many Filipinos have never seen a doctor from birth to death because doctors are not readily available in their communities," the senator added.
According to the Department of Health, the Philippines’ doctor-to-patient ratio is 1:33,000. Imagine, there’s usually only one doctor serving an entire municipality with 20 to 30 barangays.
In view of this problem, the measure requires health professional graduates from state universities and colleges to serve at least three full years in a remote area or in the public sector.
It reinforces the Commission on Higher Education’s Cash Grants to Medical Students Enrolled in SUCs, an initiative to respond to the continuing lack of doctors in the country because of very expensive medical education and overseas migration.
The bill further provides a mechanism where government agencies, LGUs, and the private sector can collaborate to fund and improve basic health care service delivery in government and private hospitals down to the health centers at the community level.
"This bill has been certified urgent by the President, I urge and appeal to this Chamber that we pass immediately the proposed Universal Healthcare to All Filipinos Act," Villanueva concluded.