Health workers slam proposed 2023 health budget
MANILA, Philippines — Health workers on Thursday slammed the government for its proposed health budget for 2023 as it further privatizes public health services for the public by cutting the budget for government-owned hospitals.
In a statement, the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) said that the budget remains insufficient even though it has been increased from P242 billion in 2022 to P296.3 billion in 2023.
It noted that the budget “gives premium” to PhilHealth while cutting the budget for Maintenance and Other Operating Expense (MOOE) of the government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) hospitals, including the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), Philippine Heart Center (PHC), and the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) by a total of P881 million.
“It is very alarming that many ordinary patients will be deprived of these specialty services considering that these GOCC hospitals were pet projects of the Marcos Sr. Maraming ordinaryong mamamayan ang pagkakaitan ng serbisyo lalo na ang mga mahal na procedure sa GOCC hospital dahil sa pagtapyas ng budget sa MOOE ng P362 million sa aming ospital.” said NKTIEA-AHW president Edwin Pacheco.
(Many ordinary citizens will be deprived of services especially the expensive procedures at the GOCC hospital due to the MOOE budget cut of P362 million in our hospital.)
“Katumbas ‘yan ng mahigit 242 na kidney transplant na pasyente ang hindi ma subsidize. Ganun din sa ibang GOCC hospital. Sa aming ospital, umaabot ng P1.5 million ang isang kidney transplant maliban pa sa gamot na pang-maintenance. Wala namang pampublikong ospital ang pwede nilang mapuntahan kundi dito sa NKTI,” he added.
(That is equivalent to more than 242 kidney transplant patients who will not be subsidized. The same goes for other GOCC hospitals. In our hospital, a kidney transplant costs P1.5 million excluding maintenance medicine. There is no public hospital they can go to but here at NKT.)
The PGH even had a budget cut of P19.444 million for 2023, with All UP Wokers Union- Manila PGH vice president Benjamin Santos, Jr. noting that despite the lack of lifesaving apparatus like ventilators, there is still no budget appropriated for it.
The group also noted the budget on the Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases P4.171 billion, as well as on the Epidemiology and Surveillance by P112.9 million.
PhilHealth’s budget, on the other hand, was increased by P20 billion.
“Alam naman ng Presidente na bagsak ang ekonomiya at maraming mamamayan ang lugmok sa kahirapan. Imbes na maibsan sana ang kalagayang ito sa pamamagitan ng libreng pagpapagamot ay napunta sa PhilHealth ang malaking budget imbes na idiretso sa mga ospital para mas maraming magamot na pasyente,” said AHW national president Robert Mendoza.
(The President knows that the economy is failing and many citizens are in poverty. Instead of ameliorating this situation through free treatment, the large budget went to PhilHealth instead of going directly to the hospitals so that more patients can be treated.)
“Bakit dinagdagan pa ang pondo ng PhilHealth samantalang ilang beses nailabas sa media na milyon-milyon ang corruption ang ahensyang ito,” he added.
(Why was the Philhealth fund increased even though the media has released millions of corruption in this agency several times.)
Health workers ask for unreleased benefits, higher pay
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.