Press Release
June 4, 2011

Legarda Pushes for Swift Passage of Amended Nat'l Health Insurance Act

Senator Loren Legarda called for the immediate passage of the bill amending the National Health Insurance Act as she expressed alarm over the fact that more than 20 million poor Filipinos are yet to be covered by the government's healthcare program.

In her co-sponsorship speech for Senate Bill 2849, An Act Amending National Health Insurance Act of 1995 (Republic Act 7875), Legarda said about 4.7 million indigent families or 23.5 million Filipinos have yet to be covered under the National Health Insurance Program of PhilHealth.

"The National Health Insurance Act mandates that an affordable and accessible healthcare coverage should be made available to all citizens. However, access to healthcare continues to be a problem, if not completely missing, for indigent Filipinos all over the country," she lamented.

Legarda cited the government's efforts to provide healthcare services to poor citizens as it allocated P3.5 billion to cover the health insurance premiums of indigent families this year.

She also noted that the share of health expenditure to GDP rose from 3.7 percent in 2007 to 3.8 percent in 2009. However, it is still below the five percent (5%) standard set by the World Health Organization for developing countries like the Philippines.

"The out-of-pocket payments by Filipino patients have escalated to 49%, while that of social insurance payments is a low 11%. Senate Bill 2849 seeks to address this by mandating the national government to entirely subsidize the contributions for indigent enrollees," the Senator explained.

"As we race to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the health of the public deserves to be on top in the scheme of the priorities of the government. Through this proposed measure, we can continue to extend basic and affordable healthcare protection to citizens and families in need," Legarda concluded.

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