LAWMAKERS foresee a cut in Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) membership after the Supreme Court declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of lawmakers unconstitutional.
Reps. Rodolfo Farinas of Ilocos Norte and Sherwin Tugna of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list made the observation as they noted that significant portions of their PDAF financed the PhilHealth membership of their constituents.
As of June this year, PhilHealth has 30.74 million members nationwide, up from last year’s 28.49 million members.
The Supreme Court declared PDAF unconstitutional in a unanimous decision on November 19.
“I see PhilHealth membership dwindling because around P3 million of my PDAF was allocated for PhilHealth memberships. Now, I don’t know if they could pay on their own,” Farinas, a lawyer, said in a text message to The Manila Times.
Tugna said those who will bear the brunt are people enrolled in the PhilHealth premium, which is only good for one year.
“Without PDAF, there’s no alternative financing for PhilHealth membership.
PhilHealth is a government-owned and -controlled corporation, ran like a private corporation. If we don’t pay the premium, there will be no insurance coverage . . . unless the representatives will pay from their personal fund,” Tugna pointed.
Tugna has used P600,000 to finance the PhilHealth membership of his 300 constituents. Each premium costs P2,000.
As of June 2013, there were 9.5 million PhilHealth members under the sponsored program composed of indigent families from the lowest 20 percent of the population.
Since 2011, the bulk of PhilHealth members and dependents are under the sponsored program.