House passes bill providing free annual medical check-up for Filipinos
MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved on final reading the bill seeking to provide free annual medical check-up for Filipinos.
With 245 affirmative votes, zero negatives, and no abstention, the lower chamber approved during Tuesday’s session House Bill No. 9072 or the “Free Annual Medical Check-up Act.”
Under the measure, all Filipinos, by virtue of their membership in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) as
mandated by the “Universal Health Caren Law,” shall be entitled to the applicable benefits under the Philippine Health Insurance Program.
Members shall be entitled to a free annual medical check-up that shall include blood sugar and cholesterol tests. Laboratory and diagnostic tests shall be expanded, subject to the availability of PhilHealth funds.
“To promote health, identity risks and ensure early diagnosis, PhilHealth shall establish a system that allows access to a free annual medical check-up and ensure that Filipinos shall be accorded the quality health services that they deserve,” the bill states.
Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor, the primary author of the measure, earlier underscored that high blood cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the Philippines.
Defensor likewise said the Philippines ranks 5th behind China, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand in the a number of diabetes cases.
Citing the Western Pacific Region and the International Diabetes Federation, an umbrella organization of over 230 national diabetes associations, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death among Filipinos based on the 2013 Philippine statistics.
“In the long run, our small initial investment in providing free annual testing for blood sugar and cholesterol levels would mean [fewer] expenses for the government in the future,” Defensor said.
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