“WHY PUNISH members with higher premiums for the benefit of the corrupt and the incompetent?”
Thus, Sen. Panfilo Lacson calling the plan to increase premiums for PhilHealth members at this time “very ill-advised.”
“It is right to defer the premium hike, at least so that (PhilHealth) can review its procedures to get rid of corruption and incompetence,” Lacson said.
PhilHealth was to start collecting higher contributions from its paying members this year, in line with the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.
As of December 2017, there were at least 18.207 million paying members, including 14.9 million in the formal economy and 3.3 million in the informal economy.
Lacson was at the forefront of the Senate hearings on corruption at PhilHealth that started last August, showing evidence indicating deep-rooted corruption in PhilHealth due to a “mafia,” which was involved in the twisted implementation of the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism, questionable purchase of ICT equipment,and doctoring of financial statements.
Key officials of PhilHealth have since resigned and/or faced corruption charges before the Ombudsman.
Sen. Grace Poe was even more forthright: “Ano na nga ba ang nangyari sa P15 billion? Nasaan na? Hindi makatao ang pagtaas ng singil ng kontribusyon sa PhilHealth ngayong nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya. Dapat i-suspinde muna ito!”
Forthwith, Poe, along with Sen. Joel Villanueva and Sen. Migz Zubiri, filed Senate Bill No. 1968 – An Act mandating the suspension of the scheduled increase in PhilHealth premium contributions, amending for the purpose Section 10 of RA No. 11223 otherwise known as the Universal HealthCare Act.
Lacson though still pushed for the augmentation of at least P8 billion more for the Department of Health to implement the Universal Health Care program via the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP), which needs at least P13 billion.
But not with PhilHealth’s dirty fingers dipping in the cookie jar.
Clarifies Lacson: “We are doing what we can to contribute to the success of the UHC Act. That said, PhilHealth and the other agencies tasked with implementing it should not contribute to its failure.”