Sen. Pia lauds
passage of Universal Health Care Act
By Office of Senator Pia S.
June 22, 2013
PASAY CITY – “No one
should be left behind.”
This is the underlining
philosophy of the new PhilHealth Law (Republic Act 10606), says its
principal sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Chairman of the
Committee on Health and Demography.
“With this new law, we seek
to identify and enroll the poorest segments of the population,
numbering to about 25 million Filipinos, under the National Health
“In the past, there was a
gap in the law because the poorest of the poor were not covered by
PhilHealth unless their local government units or their Congressmen
sponsored the payment of their premiums. Only those who could afford
to pay the premiums were able to benefit from Philhealth and these
would primarily be the formally employed," Cayetano said.
“Unfortunately, not all LGUs
had the capability to sponsor the PhilHealth enrolment of their poor
constituents, while other LGUs do not see this as a priority at all.
And so we were left with a situation where the poor were,
by-and-large, left out of the national health insurance system when
they should be its primary beneficiaries.”
“This measure addresses a
shortcoming in the implementation of the original PhilHealth law (RA
7875) by ensuring that the poorest of the poor, including the
indigents, unemployed, self-employed, and those from the informal
sector, would be enrolled in PhilHealth and would actually benefit
from its programs and services,” she added.
To give effect to the law’s
provision on mandatory coverage, she said premium contributions for
indigent members would be “fully subsidized” by the national
government and appropriated in the Department of Health’s budget under
the annual General Appropriations Act approved by Congress.
Other vulnerable sectors
include the lower bracket of the informal economy, such as street
hawkers, market and ambulant vendors. Although these low-income groups
may not necessarily qualify as poor in the means test of DSWD because
of certain factors, their incomes are still not above the poverty
“Their membership shall be
entirely subsidized by their respective LGUs, or through cost-sharing
mechanisms between or among the LGUs, legislative sponsors (senators,
congressmen) and other sponsors, including the national government,”
“The difficult task of
identifying and classifying indigent and low-income beneficiaries will
be undertaken by the DSWD. But the agency need not start from scratch
since it has been implementing the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT)
program for several years already.”
Consistent with its
principle of universality and compulsory coverage, she said the law
mandates LGUs to pay for the premium contributions of all barangay
health workers, nutrition scholars, and other barangay workers and
volunteers; for employers to shoulder the premium payments of their
household workers (also in accordance with the ‘Kasambahay Law’);
while DSWD will shoulder the contributions of orphans, abandoned
minors, out of school youths, street children, and battered women
under its care or those of its accredited non-government
Lastly, members in the
formal economy and their employers, as well as government employees
and the government agency they work for, shall continue paying the
same monthly contributions as provided for by law.
The National Health
Insurance Act of 2013 was signed into law by President Benigno S.
Aquino III on Wednesday (June 19).