Garin wants 2020 Philhealth funds reallocated amid corruption issues
MANILA, Philippines — Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Thursday to remove and reallocate the billions worth of budget for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) in 2020 citing the anomalies hounding the state insurance system.
“Maliwanag pa po kaysa sa laki ng mata at ulo ko na maraming ghost members, fraudulent cases, duplication of expenses, and excessive administration expenses (ang PhilHealth),” Garin said during the day one of the House scrutiny of the P4.1 trillion National Expenditure Plan for 2020.
“Will you be amendable that before we pass the budget, and deliberate it in the plenary, baka pwede ilagay na lang muna ito sa isang ahensya o institusyon, where if PhilHealth can’t deliver the packages expected of them, then the government has an option to bid it to the private sector? Why? Because health can’t wait,” the former Health secretary added.
DBM Acting Sec. Wendel Avisado said they could not remove the appropriations for PhilHealth as this is mandated by law. However, Avisado said Congress could exercise its oversight power and they would follow whatever change in the NEP the House may see as necessary.
“We do our actions or acts at the DBM in line with what is provided for by law and on the basis of the instructions and policies of the President. In regard to the allocation of funds for PhilHealth, that is required by law and therefore we need to do that,” he said.
Under the proposed expenditure plan for next year, some P166.6 billion was allocated for the full implementation of the Universal Health Care Act. Some P67.4 billion from this was set for the national health insurance program of PhilHealth.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier flagged during a privilege speech that PhilHealth incurred a net operating loss of P29.1 billion in 2013 to 2017 due to fraudulent benefit claims and other misdeeds by its senior health officials.
An investigative report of the Inquirer had also bared a fraudulent scheme between PhilHealth and a clinic in Novaliches, Quezon City, WellMed Dialysis & Laboratory Center Corp. (WellMed), where dialysis payments are being given to so-called “ghost” patients.
Both the House and Senate are set to hold inquiries into the irregularities within the agency.
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