Dr. Willie Ong finds Universal Health Care bill wanting

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2018 09:31 PM

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MANILA - Medical doctor Willie Ong on Thursday said he found the Universal Health Care (UHC) bill "very broad."

The bill, which was approved by the bicameral conference committee on Tuesday, seeks to provide all Filipino families free medical attention.

Under the bill, all Filipino families will be covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). 

Ong, who is running under Lakas-CMD, said there are many things to consider in providing the public free or low-cost healthcare.

"Nabasa ko na ang Universal Health Care [bill], ayoko naman manira pero alam naman natin for many decades, kahit anong batas ang ipasa mo, hindi naman umaabot sa mga kababayan natin," Ong told radio DZMM's "Ikaw Na Ba," a senatorial candidates' interview.

(I've read the Universal Health Care bill, I don't want to discredit but we know that for decades, whatever law you pass doesn't really reach all of our fellow countrymen.)

"Sa UHC kasi, masiyado kasing broad. Sabi lang eh ang LGU [Local Government Unit] gamutin ang mga pasyente, DOH [Department of Health] gagamutin [ang pasyente], national government magbabayad pero hindi kasi ganun kasimple ang health [care], maraming dynamics para maibaba mo ang presyo ng gamot, para yung doctor magserbisyo nang libre o mas mababa."

(The UHC is very broad. It only states that the local government and DOH will treat the patients, the national government will pay, but it's not that simple. There are many dynamics to lowering the prices of drugs and for a doctor to give free or lower cost of service.)

Ong, having served as a consultant at the Department of Health (DOH) for four years under Health Secretary Enrique Ona, said he would focus on the health sector if he wins as a senator.

"Kaya ko kasi matutukan, nakikita ko kasi sa ngayon, pag nagsasalita yung nasa health agencies, napapaikutan lang yung mga senators, 'di nila maipit. Lagi sinasabi gagawin ko 'to, ginagawa namin pero hindi talaga tinututukan," he said.

(I can focus on the health sector. What I see now is those from health agencies are able to go around the senators. They always say they will do this and that but they are not being scrutinized.)

"Alam ko yung sikreto nila, weakness nila, yung profit nila, ano yung incentive nila, so in a nice way mas mapapaabot natin.

(I know their secrets, weaknesses, profits, incentives. In a nice way, we can communicate with them.)

Ong, known for his health tips and advice in his newspaper columns and social media, earlier said he hopes to continue the legacy of the late Senator Juan Flavier, who was also from Lakas-CMD.

Ong added that he prefers to be a senator rather than head the DOH because the former has oversight function.

"Pag DOH kasi, wala sa kamay ko eh. Very unsteady yung position. Maraming maninira sa'yo, maraming gusto yung position. Bubulungan lang yung President, tanggal ka na agad. Walang kasiguraduhan," he said.

(Heading the DOH, you would not be in full control. It's a very unsteady position. Many people will discredit you because many people want the position. They will just whisper to the President and you will be removed. There's no guarantee.)

"Pag sa Senate, at least 6 years meron kang oversight function, sa DOH, sa PhilHealth. Mas matututukan natin."

(At the Senate at least you have 6 years of oversight function over the DOH and PhilHealth. You can focus.)