Senate OKs Universal Health Care bill on final reading
Before going on a break on Wednesday, the Senate passed on third and final reading the landmark Universal Health Care Bill that would make health care available to all Filipinos.
Fourteen senators voted to approve the proposed law, which was certified as urgent by Malacañang.
“This bill will ensure that financial issues will no longer be a burden to our countrymen when it comes to healthcare,” Senator JV Ejercito, principal author of the bill, said when he sponsored the measure on the floor.
Ejercito, who also chairs the Senate committee on health, said the bill would expand the PhilHealth coverage to include free consultation fees, laboratory tests, and other diagnostic services.
Under the bill, he said, Filipino residents can avail of primary health care services even without the PhilHealth Identification Cards.
“Those not enrolled in the PhilHealth once the measure becomes a law could still avail the health care services since the premium subsidy will be gradually adjusted and included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA),” added the senator.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, co-sponsor of the bill, said the passage of the measure was “a giant leap forward in closing the gap between the rich and poor on the access and delivery of quality and affordable health services in the country.”
“This is a giant step in our effort to equalize health care service delivery for all Filipinos. Its universal fulfillment is a step towards eradicating inequality,” Hontiveros said in a separate statement.
“The measure will have a significant, lasting and profound effect on the health of every Filipinos as it closes the economic, class and gender gaps in the delivery of healthcare systems in the country,” she added. /kga