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No justification for Philhealth premium hike

CHD file photo, 2014.

18 January 2016

Letter to the Editor

For 2016, Philhealth announced that monthly contributions may increase due to additional benefits they will accord senior citizens and indigent patients. Philhealth keeps on deceiving the public to justify the impending premium hike.

CHD file photo, 2014.

CHD file photo, 2014.

Why would they propose an increase in monthly contribution to provide additional benefits for senior citizens and indigent patients when already, a large chunk of the health budget amounting to Php 43.8 billion is already allocated for Philhealth in 2016?

Philhealth and its policy makers should get a dose of reality and stop deceiving the public.

For the record, Philhealth is not the answer to the Filipino people’s health-related woes as is deceptively assured by Aquino and Roxas’ Daang Matuwid – an overhyped slogan but nothing more than an empty rhetoric. It is a vehicle of patronage politics and fails to reach all those who are in dire need of health care.

On the other hand, Philhealth accounts for a mere fraction of a member’s hospital bill while Filipino “households continue to bear the heaviest burden in terms of spending for their health needs as Private Out-of-Pocket accounted for 56.3 percent of the total health expenditure in 2013,” according to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) Philippine National Health Accounts (PNHA) released in August 4, 2015.

Increased out of pocket expenses in a national health insurance system has brought more burden than ease among Filipinos – a result of a collapsing health care sytem that has long been taken over by big foreign and local private/corporate business interests.

Philhealth is not the answer to the public’s burden on health. Health expenditures should be shouldered by the state and given directly to public health facilities and providers so that health care can be free, progressive, and comprehensive.##

Eleanor A. Jara, M.D.
Executive Director
Council for Health and Development