Senators move to suspend
PhilHealth contributions hike
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, along with Senators Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Win Gatchalian, and Sonny Angara, has filed Senate Bill 1968, amending the Universal Health Care Act (UHC Act) to suspend the scheduled increase in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) premium contributions.
In the UHC Act, under which all Filipino citizens are part of the National Health Insurance Program, PhilHealth premium contributions are scheduled to increase annually in increments of 0.5 percent of an individual’s monthly basic salary beginning 2021 until 2025.
But owing to the current pandemic and its attendant economic impact on the Filipino people, this bill seeks to amend the UHC Act to postpone the scheduled increase to the year after any given public health emergency.
“The PhilHealth premium increase is just not timely,” Zubiri said. “Napakaraming tao ang nawalan ng trabaho at hanapbuhay ngayong pandemya. Maraming natambakan ng mga bayarin sa ilaw, sa tubig, sa renta. Mabigat sa bulsa itong PhilHealth increase kung sakaling matuloy (There are numerous people who lost their jobs and livelihood this pandemic. Many also were saddled with bills to pay for electricity, water, and rent. This PhilHealth increase would be an added burden if it pushes through).”
“And we have to understand why people would rather hold on to their hard-earned money than hand it over to PhilHealth, given PhilHealth’s history,” he added, referring to the corruption schemes within PhilHealth that went public last year. “We really have to resolve that first, and make sure that going forward, lahat ng contributions ay magagamit talaga ng taumbayan (all the contributions would surely be used by the people).”
In an earlier statement, Senator Bong Go has confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte is in favor of passing a law that will postpone the increase in PhilHealth premium contributions, given the pandemic.
“I believe in the UHC Act’s goals,” Zubiri said. “But we have to consider our current situation, and now is not the time for this PhilHealth increase.” (PR)