Universal healthcare bill gets bicam nod
After conducting two hearings, the congressional bicameral conference committee finally approved on Tuesday a reconciled version of the Universal Health Care Bill that would make health care available to all Filipinos.
It was Senator JV Ejercito, principal author of the bill, who announced the bicam approval of the landmark bill.
“It’s a historic day. As the sponsor of the bill, I’m very happy,” Ejercito told reporters.
He said the contingents from the Senate and the House of Representatives spent two five-hour sessions and “sleepless nights” to pass the measure.
And by Wednesday, Ejercito hopes that both chambers could ratify the bill so it can be transmitted immediately to Malacañang for review and President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.
“Hopefully, the President can sign it before Christmas,” he said.
If signed into law, Ejercito said all Filipinos can now avail of government’s health services.
The senator said the funding for the bill is already guaranteed in the current budget at least in the first two years — P257 billion for the first year and P280 billion the following year.
The fund, he said, would be sourced from the charity funds of the Department of Health, Philippine Health, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
“But on third, fourth year onwards, we feel that we need supplemental, we need additional sources of the fund because it’s anticipated pag nalaman ng lahat, dadami na claimants, dadami na rin ang beneficiaries (there will be more claimants, beneficiaries),” Ejercito said. /ee
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