Angara files bill seeking free annual medical check-ups for Filipinos
MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to give all Filipinos free annual medical check-ups has been filed in the Senate.
Senator Sonny Angara filed Senate Bill No. 2297 which aims to provide free health assessments as a benefit from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) under the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.
The senator said all Filipinos should have access to yearly check-ups in order to detect potential critical ailments at an early stage.
“Undergoing annual medical check-ups are considered as essential especially at this time when we are facing a pandemic that has already resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 individuals and the infection of close to 1.4 million in our country,” Angara said in a statement Friday.
“Early detection of potentially deadly ailments such as heart diseases or diabetes can save lives,” he added.
According to Angara, the primary reason why Filipinos opt for self-care and alternative treatment like traditional healing is their inability to pay for vital preventive care services.
The senator noted that many still do not seek medical care or only do so when their conditions are already at a serious or critical stage.
Under the bill, Angara said laboratory and diagnostic examinations will be administered by PhilHealth-accredited health care institutions free of charge.
These laboratory and diagnostic exams “may be expanded subject to the availability of funds by the State health insurance agency and the current and emerging health needs of Filipinos,” according to the senator.
Further, Angara pointed out that the government could even end up saving money by providing these services as serious diseases could be prevented when symptoms are detected earlier.
“This is a win-win for both the government and the Filipino people. We help Filipinos in addressing their most immediate health concerns and promote a healthy lifestyle while also easing the growing cost of healthcare in the country,” he said.
The senator emphasized that “the right to health is a fundamental right and as such no Filipino should be deprived of basic health services.”
The House of Representatives recently passed a similar bill last June.
Faith Yuen Wei Ragasa, Inquirer trainee
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