Lawmaker says Corporatization bill for public hospitals railroaded

A LAWMAKER today decried the railroading of House Bill 6069 converting 26 public hospitals into government corporations, warning it would most likely result in higher hospital fees and reduced services for poor patients.

“Essentially this bill aims to convert the 26 government run hospitals into independent money-making corporations. It will justify more cuts in government subsidies and the reduction of services to indigent patients,” Partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño said.

“This bill is a disguised privatization scheme to further let go of the government’s responsibility for health care. It is meant to facilitate private-public partnerships and is thus one step closer to the full privatization of our hospitals,” he said.

“Gagawing korporasyon ang mga public hospital para pagtakpan ang kulang na kulang na budget sa mga public hospitals. Ang kailangan ay dagdagan ang pondo ng mga ospital nang hindi binabawasan ang serbisyo sa mahihirap. Siyempre ang tatamaan nito ay ang mga mahihirap na pangunahing gumagamit ng public hospital,” he said.

The solon also pointed out that the hasty approval of the bill in the Committee on Health last Wednesday, May 16, violated the rules of the House of Representatives since stakeholders and affected sectors were not given sufficient notice, time and opportunity to air their concerns.

Saying the committee did not even include the measure as an agenda in the notice of meeting,  Casiño said he would move to recommit the measure to the committee next week for further deliberation.

The DOH-supervised hospitals to be converted into corporations are:: Cagayan Valley Medical Center, Veterans Regional Hospital, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center, Regional Medical Center, Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, Jose B. Lingad Memorial Medical Center, Bicol Medical Center (Naga City), Bicol Research Training and Teaching Hospital (Legaspi City), Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, Amang Rodriguez Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, Western Visayas Medical Center, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, Zamboanga City Medical Center, Cotobato Regional and Medical Center, CARAGA Regional Hospital, Davao Regional Hospital, Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro, Sr. Regional Center and Training Hospital.

He said the experience in the four existing GOCC hospitals – The Philippine Heart Center, Kidney Center, Lung Center and Children’s Medical Center – showed that the need to earn revenues resulted in the displacement of indigent patients in favor of richer, paying patients.

“The directors of the four existing GOCC hospitals are all complaining that they have to allot more beds and facilities to rich patients because government is not giving them enough subsidies for the poor. The same thing will happen to the 26 public hospitals to be corporatized by this bill,” he warned.

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