Press Release
June 11, 2007

Gordon on Philhealth: “Insurance is Savings”

Senator Richard J. Gordon invited representatives from the health sector to a public hearing last week in light of several issues of concern surrounding the threats of “hospital strike” by private hospitals nationwide. “The public hearings focus on looking at our health insurance, particularly PhilHealth, as a solution to the concerns of the private hospitals who are in protest of the new Hospital Detention Law,” Senator Gordon said.

“I have always said that insurance is savings. While the indigent program of PhilHealth is laudible, it should not inspire a culture of dependence among our people. Once enrolled in the program, ideally, these people would see that the system works well for them and will seek employment to sustain that insurance for them and their families,” said Gordon.

“PhilHealth will play a great role in all of this. A competent system will encourage paying members because they know that they have something to fall back on when the need arises. We have to ask now, through the hearings, How PhilHealth can improve? Is it sustainable? Then we will know if it is truly a viable solution to our health care problems,” Senator Gordon said.

Senator Gordon stressed that there is no need for PhilHealth to be defensive about previous statements made by its officials during the first public hearing about its financial stability. “We fix the problem and not the blame. Beyond looking into the fraudulent claims that PhilHealth revealed during the meeting, the hearings are focused on looking into PhilHealth as a viable solution to the concerns of the health care system. It is an opportunity for PhilHealth to likewise brandish its accomplishments, if they wish,” he said.

During the first hearing, PhilHealth officials revealed several “maladies” –specifically, fraudulent claims amounting to Php 4 billion. Several news articles have quoted PhilHealth officials denying their statements during the hearing. “This is precisely the reason why we are holding the public hearings –to clarify the statements through competent evidence they are willing to produce. We want to see how Philhealth, if it is indeed as healthy as they claim it is, can provide a solution through expansion of their services and paying members. If we discover that the system has flaws, then we find ways to fix these flaws,” Senator Gordon explained.

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