Duterte wants probe on PhilHealth’s COVID-19 test price issue
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants an investigation on the alleged overpriced COVID-19 test kits shouldered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Malacañang said Friday.
“Bibigyan ko po ng kumpirmasyon na nababahala ang Presidente lalung-lalo doon sa pagkakaiba ng presyo ng testing kit ‘no,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview on Teleradyo when asked if the President was aware of the supposed overpriced PhilHealth testing kits.
(I’m confirming that the President is concerned with the difference in price tags of testing kits.)
“So nais po niya ng kasagutan and investigation ‘no. Kasi hindi po nga niya maintindihan gaya ng buong sambayanan kung bakit ganoon kalaki ang discrepancy,” he added.
(He wants answers and an investigation because he cannot understand, just like the public, why there is a big price discrepancy.)
Roque, during his press briefing Thursday, said he would defer the matter to the office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP) as he has a conflict of interest due to cases he previously filed against PhilHealth officials.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, in a hearing earlier this week, questioned PhilHealth’s P8,150 COVID-19 test package, saying it was a “little overpriced.”
Drilon warned that the cost may lead to the “depletion” of PhilHealth’s resources and an estimated P8.3 billion loss due to “overpayment”.
During the same Senate hearing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III explained that the cost of PhilHealth’s COVID-19 tests, which range from P2,710 to P8,150, would depend on how the accredited testing laboratories procured the testing kits.
If the testing was paid for by the health department and the test kit was donated, Duque said the COVID-19 test would cost P2,710. He also assured that the PhilHealth package will be immediately reviewed.
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