Press Release
March 1, 2018


"Healthcare must be our great equalizer. Its universal fulfillment will deepen our democracy and is a step towards eradicating inequality."

This was the statement issued by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros as she attended a Senate public hearing held in Legaspi City on Thursday to tackle the different proposed measures in the Senate seeking to provide universal healthcare for all Filipinos. The hearing was conducted by the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, where she sits as Vice-Chair.

During the said hearing, Hontiveros discussed her recently filed measure, Senate Bill No. 1714 or "The Healthy Pinoy, Healthy 'Pinas Act of 2018." The bill seeks to address barriers in health governance, health human resources, regulations, service delivery, and health information that would prevent Filipinos from accessing care.

Hontiveros said that the government must respond to the issue of the fragmentation of health care delivery system by providing a framework for the integration of the health system at the level of provinces and highly urbanized cities, and by defining the minimum requirements of a service delivery network.

The Senator further explained that her measure also aims to strengthen community empowerment by emphasizing the role of community health workers in service provision, health education, health navigation, among others. It also wants to institute changes in the operations of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHILHEALTH) to enhance its delivery of benefits to all Filipinos.

"In a country where the gap between the rich and the poor remains wide, the level of healthcare service between private and public must be narrowed down. The government needs to expand the country's healthcare infrastructure to cover the remotest towns and barangays. We need to make healthcare less intimidating by ensuring that all Filipinos, young and old, rich and poor, have financial health risk protection," Hontiveros said.

Some of the other highlights of Hontiveros' bill are:

1. Designation of one physician/ doctor (primary care provider) per family.

2. Automatic inclusion of all Filipinos in the national health insurance program or PHILHEALTH.

3. Recognition of the role of citizens' groups and community-based groups as part of the health service delivery network, particularly in reaching the poor and the marginalized.

4. Providing ethical guidelines in public health practice: declaration of conflict of interest, full disclosure of financial engagement with pharmaceuticals, and institutionalization of ethics committee in health-related professional societies.

5. Expanding the role of provincial governments in ensuring public investment on health and in service delivery at the loca level.

6. Establishment of Super Barangay Health Center through designation of primary out patient facility and primary care facility with diagnostics services and birthing facility.

7. Institutionalizing practice of no-balance billing (NBB) in public and private hospitals wherein government hospitals are required to allot 90% of their bed capacity for NBB while private hospitals are required to allot 10% of their bed capacity for NBB.

News Latest News Feed