Gov't ready to fund PhilHealth to ensure survival: Roque

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2020 02:42 PM

A man looks at the sign of a PhilHealth local office in Quezon City, June 7, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File


MANILA - The government is ready to provide funding to ensure the survival of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday after an official of the agency warned that the corporation could collapse in 2022 without additional subsidy.

Roque, who authored the Universal Health Care Law during his time as sectoral lawmaker, said the survival of PhilHealth does not depend solely on its collections.

"As author of the Universal Health Care [law], we never, even for one minute, considered that the survival of PhilHealth will solely be by reason of premiums," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

"Alam po namin na hindi makakamit ang libreng gamot at libreng pagamot kung premiums lang ang panggagalingan ng gagastusin ng PhilHealth," Roque said.

(We know that we could not provide free medicine and treatment if PhilHealth will only depend on premiums.)

PhilHealth data protection officer Nerissa Santiago said Tuesday that the state-run insurance firm may cease to exist by 2022 due to the "double impact” of decreasing collections and increasing payouts for the hospitalization of coronavirus patients.

“We can only survive with additional contributions coming from the government,” Santiago said during a Senate inquiry on alleged irregularities hounding PhilHealth.

Roque said, by and large, the government is aware of its responsibilities to support PhilHealth financially for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.

"Talagang kung maubos po ang pera ng PhilHealth, gobyerno po ang magbibigay ng pondo kaya nga po ang tawag diyan ay Universal Health Care, hindi medical insurance," he added.

(If PhilHealth runs out of money, the government will provide funds because it's called Universal Health Care, not medical insurance.)

PhilHealth has been under scrutiny following a string of corruption allegations against officials of the firm.