Press Release
April 27, 2009

Zubiri seeks mandatory universal health coverage for every Pinoy

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has proposed a bill that will entitle every Filipino to a mandatory universal healthcare coverage.

Zubiri expressed concern that despite the enactment of Republic Act No. 7875, or the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 the quality of health care in the country has dropped over the years while the cost continue to increase making good physical condition beyond the reach of ordinary people.

"Every citizen prefers to be covered by a health insurance policy but not everyone has the means to purchase one for himself and his family. Therefore it becomes the government's moral and Constitutional responsibility to pay for the health insurance premiums to the PHIC for indigents."

The National Health Insurance Act of 2005 has a mandate to provide a system where health services will be available to the poor through their membership in the National Health Insurance Program and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The senator however, saw the "unfortunate quality of health care in the country deteriorating over the years as the costs of healthcare continue to increase putting it beyond the reach of ordinary people."

"It is undeniable that the Filipino masses, especially those who live in the rural areas and, more particularly, those in isolated communities and far-flung areas, receive far less and lower-quality health care," he said.

The Majority Leader also expressed concern to the "unaccounted for individuals who died without having been able to avail of the medical services or without seeing a doctor."

Senate Bill No. 3176 or the "Mandatory Universal Healthcare Coverage of Every Filipino" proposes that every Filipino citizen be entitled to a mandatory universal healthcare coverage through their automatic inclusion to the Philippine Health Insurance coverage and membership.

The proposed measure recommends that the contribution of indigent members will be funded by the national government in which the funding allocation will be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

"This is not entirely just a cost or a liability. I view health insurance as one of the best investments that a government can make for the present and future generations of Filipinos."

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