Early Monday morning, just when I felt I needed inspiration, I got a text message from my training partner, partner are you up?
I do believe the changes we are proposing will make PhilHealth more responsive to the health needs of the Filipinos.
1 June 2011
Senate of the Philippines
On June 1, 2011, I sponsored Senate Bill No. 2849 which amends the existing PhilHealth law or Republic Act No. 7875.
I had to take time to educate myself and spend a lot of long hours, including ice packs for my headaches and at night, after working, drink chamomile tea to help my brain shut down and rest. My staff worked overtime on this bill too and in a future blog, I should write about how they coped with the long hours.
I apologize in advance because this blog entry is a bit heavy and technical. Whether I am drafting a senate bill, writing a committee report or my blog, I always try to simplify the technical terms used. Legal phrases and procedures are easier for me to explain because of my legal background. But medical and financial terms are of a different class altogether. So, I am warning you, there is a fair share of medical and health financing terms used here.
During numerous hearings and technical working group meetings, it was revealed that in the 16 years since PhilHealth has been in effect, it has failed to cover many Filipinos, particularly the poor who are in dire need of health care. Philhealth now provides a wide array of benefits. But without Philhealth membership they have to pay for all their medical expenses.
The other problem is for those who are already members – many are still unable to use their Philhealth benefits because the out-of-pocket expenses they need to shoulder are way too high.
Thus, my bill aims to resolve the current problems as follows:
1. Universal coverage
2. Lower out-of-pocket expenses
3. More efficient allocation of funds
4. Other Features of the Bill
b. Information technology
I am ready to defend this bill on the floor. I do believe the changes we are proposing in this measure will make PhilHealth more responsive to the health needs of the Filipinos. But the filing of this committee report is just part of the process and the bill will now be scrutinized by my colleagues. I am looking forward to their inputs during the periods of interpellation and amendments so we can make this an even better bill.
Full text of Sponsorship Speech of SB No. 2849