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PhilHealth: UHC still up and running, suspension under discussion

PhilHealth: UHC still up and running, suspension under discussion

MANILA, Philippines — The implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) law is still ongoing as the proposal to suspend or delay it is “still a matter of discussion.”

Such was assured by Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president Ricardo Morales on Friday, despite admitting that the state insurer is facing a financial crisis due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

He pointed out that about 1.2 million Filipinos benefit from the UHC law every month, or 10 to 12 million Filipinos for a year.

“Hindi isususpinde ‘yan. Every month, mga 1 to 1.2 million ang nakikinabang sa PhilHealth. Ganoon karami ang apektado niyan. Sa isang taon, mga 10 to 12 million Filipinos ang nakikinabang so ‘yun ang maaapektuhan,” Morales said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

(The UHC will not be suspended. Every month about 1 to 1.2 million Filipinos benefit from PhilHealth. That is how much will be affected if that is suspended.)

“Sa ngayon, it’s still a matter of discussion. Sa ngayon, umaandar pa ang UHC,” he added.

(As of now, it’s still a matter of discussion. The UHC implementation is up and running.)

The UHC law was crafted to provide health insurance benefits to all Filipinos starting this year.

Morales, during a joint congressional hearing, had proposed a “general delay” in the implementation of UHC after its premium collection this year fell 90 percent due to the COVID-19 crisis.

He said that the state health insurer projected that it could experience a fund deficit until 2024 under the COVID-19 scenario, as PhilHealth’s response to the pandemic from February 2020 to January 2021 will cost the state health insurer P40.7 billion.

The proposal was rebuffed by lawmakers.

Morales said PhilHealth is currently in talks with other government agencies in a bid to source funds to keep UHC running.

“What is important is ipagpatuloy, kung paano ipagpatuloy, ‘yun ang pag-uusapan,” he said.

(What’s important is the UHC is sustained.  We will talk about how to do it.)

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