VP pushes comprehensive health plan for all Pinoys

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Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday vowed to improve government health services, as he noted that health services in the country have deteriorated and have become more costly based on a recent study.

“Joey Salgado, Office of the Vice President chief for media affairs, cited a report from IBON Foundation thatsaid health services have not improved at all and even became more costly.

The study showed that PhilHealth members still shell out a large amount of money for confinement, medicine and other medical needs, which defeats the purpose of PhilHealth membership.

Salgado said a Binay administration will not only improve the PhilHealth system but will also develop and implement a comprehensive health program–with emphasis on preventive health care–that is accessible to as many Filipinos, even in far-flung areas.


IBON, citing Philippine National Health Accounts (PNHA) data for 2013, said patients still had to shell out almost 70 percent for their health spending.

It said this is contrary to the administration’s claim that through PhilHealth, families belonging to the poorest or 20 percent of the population “will not have to shell out a single centavo” for public hospital services because of PhilHealth in 2012.

The research group added that this number has risen to 40 percent in 2014.

The IBON study, contained in the book “Critical Condition: Privatized Health in the Philippines,” was conducted among poor families in Metro Manila, Sorsogon, Nueva Ecija, Mindoro Oriental, Eastern Samar, Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

Those interviewed included sponsored patients whose contributions are paid for by other individuals, the local government or government agencies, paying patients who are usually government or private sector employees and individually enrolled members, and lifetime patients who are senior citizens who have paid at least 120 monthly premium contributions.

The study showed most PhilHealth beneficiaries interviewed still bought medical paraphernalia or equipment prescribed by doctors and nurses and which were not provided by the hospital.

Some of these medical paraphernalia are breathing tubes, intravenous (IV) therapy paraphernalia such as needles, syringes, dextrose, surgical paraphernalia, birthing paraphernalia, urine bags, catheter, blood-transfusion related paraphernalia, oxygen masks, ampoule and vials, gloves and cleaning implements.

The beneficiaries also bought medicine outside the hospital as these were not available in the hospital’s pharmacy.

These included antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and drugs for pneumonia, tuberculosis, cough, allergies, dialysis, pain and fever.

In Nueva Ecija, IBON said sponsored patients complained they had to shell out a large amount for confinement.

Some borrowed money to buy prescribed medicine, while other patients asked for donations from friends and relatives, politicians and government agencies.

IBON added some patients were so desperate they borrowed from lenders who charge an interest as high as 10 to 40 percent a month.

“Even if the hospital guarantees reimbursement in part or in full for unavailable paraphernalia and drugs, patients regardless of category said that having to shell out money for their confinement is rather burdensome,” it said.

IBON added, “The interviews revealed an uneven implementation of the program. In Eastern Samar, most patients were given 100 percent coverage, while in Roxas and Iloilo no one was given 100 percent coverage.

Overall, very few sponsored patients said PhilHealth covered 100 percent of their bills and that they still had to pay the balance of the bill.

Paying patients estimated that PhilHealth covered or will cover from 26 percent to 75 percent of their bills, while no lifetime member had 100% percent of their bill covered.

While paying patients “had a positive attitude toward PhilHealth,” they complained of poor ventilation, lack of cleanliness, noise in the wards, smelly toilets and lack of beds in health facilities, IBON said.

“The health program we offer to our people supports our broad goal to attain inclusive and sustainable growth through intensive jobs-creation activities and expanded social services,” Salgado said.

He added that it is sad that IBON also noted that “the objective of socialized subsidy is not being achieved with lifetime members receiving the highest benefit payment per beneficiary on average (P1,259.52), and sponsored program members composed of poorer beneficiaries receiving the lowest benefit payment (P572.71) in 2013.”

It is sadder to note, Salgado said, that the study showed “PhilHealth has also not guaranteed reduced or zero out-of-pocket expenditures.”

“This is why we need a comprehensive health program for the people, which includes nationwide vaccination, sanitation and proper nutrition programs. In line with this, health care services should reach our brothers and sisters in far-flung areas as fast as it reaches Filipinos in urban centers. I believe it can be done. And it must be done,” he added.

Salgado said, “There should be easy access to universal health care for all. Sadly, our healthcare system is plagued by considerable inequities in access to healthcare between classes. The poor, marginalized and disadvantaged members of our society are unable to access quality healthcare. Thus, it is imperative that reforms be implemented to address these inequities.”

“As borne by the Makati [City] model, a healthy individual maximizes human potential and productivity. There should be free hospitalization for the poorest of the poor and affordable healthcare for others based on their ability to pay,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Vice President  appealed to  his United Arab Emirates-based fraternity brothers to continue helping him in his efforts to push reforms and find ways to make the poor benefit from the nation’s macroeconomic progress.

He made the appeal during the general membership meeting and fellowship night of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) UAE ’96 & APO EMARAT 121 last Wednesday.

Binay expressed hope that the APO will continue helping him in his quest to establish a nation that can provide a better quality of life for every Filipino.

Joining the group during his college days at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and credits it as one of the reasons for his victory in the 2010 elections, he said it was the duty of the members to protect the future of the nation.

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4 Comments

  1. Binay will improve the PHIL Health I hope so. Remember Binay required all Filipino topay pag-ibig contribution as we all know pag-ibig is voluntary contributions as per Philippine Law and yet he required and mandatory contribution of all pinoy employed even ofw. How he can improve the Phil-Health. Yes in Makati he can do it and it should be because Makati are collecting too much taxes from the business sector at Makati.

  2. If this is a sincere attempt ; at giving a” fair go” to all ..In regard to medical services ; then I applaud it..

    The services do need an overhaul and that’s putting it mildly…

    ..We see all kinds of MD’s walking the corridors Undergraduate MD; graduate Intern MD ; Post grad r MD. etc etc

    All these M D’s are under training !;

    This is being paid for by their families;or even themselves

    The upshot is that the hospitals are getting paid a huge amount to train all these different “Brands” of M D .

    A little while ago a father in Davao went berserk .attacked staff at a hospital with a syringe

    He was surrounded by all these M D’s Yet no one could attend his son ..They could not because they were still under training

    Yes lets hope this is not a vote catcher , but a sincere proposal!
    Dr David M Meyer (PhD Psych}

    • Yes, your write up are true and correct as even me is a victim of these Philhealth Mandatory contributions because I was hospital at Philippine General Hospital for a major operation due to slip disc. I approach the DSWD supervisor and interview me and up interview she ask me what is your profession I says I am engineer and ofw. Then she respond ops your ofw you can afford to buy the medicine as prescribe by the doctors. Then I told her I will not be here in PGH if I can afford because at that time I am already job less for almost a year and my saving are already exchausted. So my emotion got high, Isaid was only asking from you if I can avail discount of my medicine again she told me your not qualified because I own a house and you only one child on school. What I said again. I am paying all my taxes, sss, pagibig, philhealh and I am not qualified. Worst is during her routine round at the hospital bed she was so angry she shouted to all patients in the room that we all clean our room so I immediately respond while lying in my bed con over and you clean the room you are asking me to clean the room I could not even stand on that moment because my back are stock due to slip dics. I raise my hand so that she could see me.
      I do hope the Phil Health department should be honest to look at the patients of government hospital to assist all the patient to know how to claim phil health not just they are sitting in their room office waiting for the members to claim.

  3. Here we go again. The Binay camp will promise everything just to get elected. He was:
    1. Booed in Cebu and never published in this paper
    2. Only a handful of OFW met him in UAE last week and never published
    3. Almost all of Fil-Ams in America wants to continue the “daang matuwid” and dump Binay, Duterte and Llamanzares ( opportunista)