Press Release
September 9, 2012

Legarda Wants to Institutionalize Mandatory
Universal Healthcare Coverage for Poor Families

Senator Loren Legarda called for the immediate passage of a bill institutionalizing mandatory universal healthcare coverage for poor families as she expressed full support for the P12.6-billion allocation in the proposed 2013 national government budget that will cover PhilHealth premiums of 5.2 million poorest households.

Kalusugan Pangkalahatan, the universal health care program of the Department of Health, focuses on the poorest 20% of Filipinos identified in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR). These NHTS-PR families have been automatically enrolled by the national government to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). As members, they are entitled to no balance billing (no additional out of pocket payment) when they are admitted in a ward bed in any government hospital. They also have outpatient care benefits for promotive and preventive health.

"The National Health Insurance Act mandates that an affordable and accessible healthcare coverage should be made available to all citizens. It is encouraging that the government will be devoting P12.6-billion financial risk protection from the cost of diseases for the poor through health insurance. It is the task of Congress to institutionalize this program through the immediate passage of the Mandatory Universal Healthcare Coverage bill", Legarda stressed.

Senate Bill 2849, which Senator Legarda principally authored, mandates the national government to entirely subsidize the contributions for indigent enrollees.

"We are glad that even as we have yet to see the passage of this measure, which I first filed in 2007, the government is already implementing a program reflecting the proposed measure's provisions," Legarda added.

Meanwhile, the DOH, led by Secretary Enrique Ona, and Senator Loren Legarda have partnered in an information and education campaign to inform Filipinos about the Kalusugang Pangkalahatan program, explaining who are the beneficiaries and how they can avail of the free health benefits.

"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 priorities of the government. By institutionalizing this program through Mandatory Universal Healthcare Coverage bill, we can continue to extend basic healthcare protection to citizens and families in need," Legarda concluded.

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