Bid to delay rollout of UHC law rejected
Malacañang has rejected Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) bid to delay the rollout of the universal health care (UHC) law amid funding woes due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
“This will be against the literal provisions of the law, and the intention of those who pushed for this measure,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, addressing Philhealth president Ricardo Morales.
Roque coauthored the law as a party list representative.
Morales earlier said the state health insurance company was projected to have a fund deficit in the next four years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and had recommended a delay in the implementation of the UHC law and a postponement of the expansion of primary care benefits.
“[My] appeal to the PhilHealth leadership is, if you cannot implement a law that the President himself [had] certified as urgent because he wanted Filipinos to have free medicines and hospitalizations just like in Davao, then maybe we can look for other people who can implement it,” Roque added.
He later clarified that he was not warning PhilHealth officials, just reiterating that the law needs to be implemented.
“We know that the premiums are not enough when this law was enacted in the 17th Congress. So if the government needs to support it, we will,” Roque said.
‘Old issues’On Wednesday, Roque claimed that PhilHealth was losing money due to corruption and that Morales had failed to address it.
Morales on Thursday said Roque should just file cases in court if he has evidence of corruption involving the agency. He also dismissed the allegations as “old issues.”
“[Those were] old issues, same as last year,” Morales said in a text message to the Inquirer.
The official said that PhilHealth earlier provided voluminous documents to the National Bureau of Investigation and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, referring to the cases filed against 20 PhilHealth officials and employees.
“These agencies should provide [an] update on the status of those cases,” Morales said. “I suggest that Atty. Roque be more specific and file the cases himself if he has any evidence,” he added.
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