Makabayan bloc seeks removal of automatic increase of PhilHealth, SSS contributions | Inquirer News
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Makabayan bloc seeks removal of automatic increase of PhilHealth, SSS contributions

/ 06:28 PM January 06, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is seeking to remove the automatic increase of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) and Social Security System (SSS) contributions.

Under House Bill No. 8311, the Makabayan lawmakers proposed that PhilHealth premium rates be fixed. Instead, the contribution will be adjusted from time to time through the enactment of Congress.

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The Makabayan bloc — which includes Bayan Muna Reps. Eufemia Cullamat, Carlos Zarate, and Ferdinand Gaite; Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro; and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago — pointed out that many Filipinos lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawmakers also noted that PhilHealth was hounded by several corruption issues.

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“With the current economic situation and unresolved PhilHealth corruption issues, it is unacceptable, unjust, and insensitive to the Filipino people to be burdened with higher premium contributions. In this light, the passage of this bill is earnestly sought,” the Makabayan lawmakers said in the bill.

Currently, Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act mandates increases in member premiums by increments of 0.5 percent every year, starting 2021 until it reaches the 5-percent limit in 2025.

For 2021, the premium rate is scheduled to increase to 3.5 percent of the monthly basic salary, from the 2020 rate of 3 percent.

Meanwhile, the Makabayan bloc also filed House Bill No. 8310 which seeks to remove the automatic increase of contributions of the SSS.

The lawmakers proposed that SSS contribution shall be fixed and adjusted from time to time through the enactment of Congress.

“The much-awaited release of the second tranche of the approved P2,000-increase of SSS pension is yet to be implemented. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, the pensioners direly need the last tranche of SSS pension increase,” the lawmakers said.

“Yet, the Filipino people will be burdened with higher contribution rates even under the current Philippine situation and even without any substantial improvement in SSS’s collection rate efficiency and other reforms,” they added.

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From 12 percent last year, the increase in SSS contribution will be 13 percent starting January 2021.

The Social Security Act of 2018 allowed the Social Security Commission, the SSS’ highest governing body, to increase the contribution rate by 1 percent every other year starting 2019 until 2025.

JE

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