Public health sector under emergency with gov’ts privatization policy

THE Aquino government is depriving millions of indigent Filipino patients with access to public health care because of national policies fast-tracking the privatization of public health services,” said Anakpawis Rep. Rafael V. Mariano.

Anakpawis joined indigent patients, health care professionals and groups in opposing the government’s privatization of public hospitals and health services. Simultaneous protests are held today at the Philippine General Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Orthopedic Center, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and National Center for Mental Health.

“Many poor Filipinos die without even seeing a doctor or receiving medical attention. The government is further cutting the lifeline of Filipinos with its promotion of Public-Private Partnership in the health sector.”

“The Aquino government is not only abandoning its duty of providing accessible and affordable health services for the people. It also allows the private sector to make a lucrative business in public health care.”

“Indigent patients and the public that can barely afford the high cost of hospitalization and medical services are further disadvantaged by Aquino’s policies on health,” the solon said.

“The government is putting the entire public health sector in danger. This is an emergency situation that needs urgent action from the public. We must put up the strongest resistance against this privatization scheme,” said Mariano.

Public health for sale

Under the Aquino Health Agenda (AHA), the government slashed the budget and expenditure on public health facilities and personnel. “In place of state-subsidized health care service, the government encouraged private sector investments in essential clinical services, user-fee health services and privately-managed health insurance.”

The government has also put up several public hospitals for bidding, including the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and San Lazaro Hospital (SLH). The Department of Health (DOH) announced the replacement of charity wards in public hospitals with Philhealth wards.

Many public hospitals have institutionalized the sub-contracting and outsourcing of medical services like the use of radiology equipment, ventilators, hemodialysis machines and other life-saving equipment.

“For years, vital health institutions like the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Philippine Children’s Medical Center have operated as Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) from their previous categorization as public hospitals.”

“As if it is not yet enough that these hospitals are earning profits through expensive health services, the government is further pushing for the corporatization of 26 other Department of Health-retained hospitals,” the solon added.

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