It is “high time” to implement the Philippines’ Universal Health Care law as the country faces the coronavirus pandemic.
This was the proposal of Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines.
“I guess it’s high time to implement [the law], especially that we are now in this pandemic,” he said.
He said the implementation of the law can also be a “test” of how effective it is.
“If there are things to be ironed out, and there are still problematic issues such as funding, then we will just put some limits in the implementation,” said the bishop.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, one of the authors of the law that was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last year, said the pandemic should prompt the government to implement the law.
The senator rejected the earlier proposal of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to postpone the implementation of the law due to budget constraints.
PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales recommended a delay on the implementation of the law as he pointed out a projected fund deficit until 2024.
He said the pandemic resulted in lower collection of PhilHealth contributions.
Government spokesman Harry Roque, however, said the proposal to delay the implementation of the Universal Health Care law is “a violation of the literal provisions of the law.”
The Universal Health Care law, which automatically enrols all Filipino citizens to the National Health Insurance Program, was enacted in February 2019.
Its implementing rules and regulations were signed in October.