House OKs bill on anti-privatization of public hospitals
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to prohibit the privatization and corporatization of public hospitals, public health facilities, and public health services in the country.
Voting 218, with no negative vote and abstention, the lower chamber approved House Bill 7437.
Bayan Muna Rep.Carlos Isagani Zarate welcomed the approval of the proposed measure which he principally authored.
Zarate said the bill “seeks to protect the right to health of the Filipino people, the poor especially, by maintaining and upholding the public character of government hospitals.”
“We hope that this will stop the continued efforts to privatize Orthopedic, Fabella Hospital and even Mental Hospital among others,” the progressive lawmaker said in a statement.
Zarate also underscored that health care should be made accessible, affordable, and appropriate to the needs of the people.
Public hospitals, as part of the public health care delivery system, should be “fully developed and strengthened by the government,” he added.
“This Bill is a major step to address the inaccessibility and inequity in health care made worse by the privatization of public health services,” Zarate said, as he called on the Senate to fast-track the passage of the bill so it would be enacted into law before the year ends.
The bill, among others, enables indigent patients to access quality healthcare public hospitals and facilities and improves healthcare without resorting to privatization.
Under the bill, 90 percent of the total bed capacity of all government-owned hospitals, health facilities, and health services are allotted to indigent patients.
The bill also provides stiff penalties against those who would initiate, cause and approve the privatization of any public hospitals, facilities, and services. Fines range from P100,000 to P800,000, while penalties range from one-year suspension up to removal from public office and perpetual disqualification from holding any public office. /je
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