Casiño urges realignment of Philhealth allotment to public hospitals

BAYAN MUNA Party List Rep. Teddy Casiño urged Congress to realign the P12.6B earmarked for PhilHealth to public hospitals in yesterday’s plenary hearing on the Budget of the Department of Health.

“We want all indigent patients to be provided with free and quality services. If Philhealth budget is poured into the public hospitals, these will double the funds available to the hospitals to serve not only the poorest of the poor patients, but all the indigents who comprise the bulk of the patients,” Casiño said

Of the P40.13B allotted to the Department of Health for 2013, only P10.74B was allotted for all the 70 nationally-funded public hospitals including the GOCC hospitals. This allotment for public hospitals, which cater to the whole population, is lower than the 12.6B allotment to Philhealth as subsidy to the identified “poorest” 5.2 million households.

Casiño revealed that only 30-40% of indigent patients in public hospitals are covered by PhilHealth. This was confirmed by DOH Secretary Enrique Ona during the pre-plenary hearing on Tuesday. This means that more than 60% of indigent patients pay out of their pockets for health services in public hospitals.

According to Casiño, even if the patient is qualified for No Balance Billing (NBB), if the medicines and procedures are not available in our public hospitals because of lack of funds, these patients need to pay to get the medicines and procedures done outside the hospital.

Casiño said that this may not affect Philhealth operations, which according to DOH, has P101.03B in reserve fund, and will get additional revenues through the 100% increase in premium by next year.

Health groups are demanding P527B for health, based on the World Health Organization recommendation of at least 5% of GDP for health.

“We should allot adequate fund for people’s health, because this will mean life or death for our poor constituents,” said Casiño.

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