Press Release
June 12, 2009

Being one of the Filipinos' top concerns

Senator Edgardo J. Angara today linked Filipino's health and the country's aspiration for economic development, citing that our citizen's health is a vital component in building essential human capital development in order to spur economic prosperity.

"Health is essential to human capital development. We live in a world where prosperity is built by skilled, productive workers. Therefore we cannot take chances with ensuring the health and wellbeing of our people," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

In The Conscience of A Liberal, Paul Krugman said that universal health care is the bridge that will finally close the wealth and income gap in the US. A nation's health and health care delivery system is central to achieving equality. Angara argued that the same is true in the Philippines.

He added, "A universal health care system will be one of the most effective means to bridge the deep chasm between the rich and the poor. It will relieve thousands of families of the anxiety that comes with falling ill. With greater challenges faced by our health care system now, we need to assess its responsiveness and fill the gaps in the delivery of health care."

Angara cited that US President Barack Obama, in his speech last week at Georgetown University, spelled out his vision for a new era of U.S. economic prosperity, starting with overhauling the health care system. Since taking office, Obama and his administration have routinely cited improving the American health care system as a necessary step towards strengthening the nation's economy.

Both small and large businesses have seen their health care costs escalate, cutting into profits as well as becoming a drag on state finances. With the crisis at hand, illness becomes a critical expense.

According to Pulse Asia's recent survey released last week, illness and inflation were Filipinos' biggest concerns. Six in every 10 respondents said their most urgent concerns were "to stay healthy and avoid illnesses" and "controlling high prices of people's basic necessities."

"The scandalously high price of medicines is linked to our people's twin top concerns," added Angara who pioneered the Philippines's PhilHealth System and authored the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers.

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