Press Release
October 10, 2018

Explanation of Vote Universal Health Care
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto
10 October 2018

There is a Chinese saying that there are 1,000 prescriptions to a disease, but only one cure.

And this bill, after diagnosing what ails the Philippine health system, collates the cures in one catalogue.

The truth is, there is no cure-all, fast-acting miracle pill on how to make our "health system healthy". Fortunately, what works for people also works for policy - and that is often a cocktail of remedies.

We may give every Filipino a PhilHealth card, but it is useless if there is no facility he can present that card to for treatment.

We may erect hospitals in gleaming glass and steel, but if there are no doctors and other health professionals who will staff and run them, then what we have built are white elephants.

We may have modern curative facilities, but when the sick are continuously dumped on them because we have neglected the promotive and the preventive aspect of medicine, then we have failed to address the roots.

We may have a cadre of health professionals scattered nationwide, but if drugs are expensive, then the road to wellness is blocked.

We may have built a network of hospitals, but it they are not constantly infused with funds, then they cannot function fully due to budgetary anemia.

What is my point, Mr. President? The challenges are interrelated, linked together in one body politic. Therefore, the cure must not be compartmentalized, but comprehensive. Sa Tagalog po, ang sakit ng kalingkingan, dama ng buong katawan.

So Mr. President, as I have said, this bill is a tapestry of solutions, composed of many threads.

And I am proud to say that all stakeholders were marshalled by Senator JV to participate in the collective weaving.

Among its salient features are:

  • Funds will be pooled for Universal Health Care: from PCSO to PAGCOR to incremental sin tax collections to the sugar tax. There is no greater winning combination than using casino income for cure. It is better for our health institutions to direct where funds must go than for state gaming bodies to triage who will receive help or not.

  • The granting and eligibility and coverage to all Filipinos, even OFWs.

  • Simplifying the membership category into direct and indirect, so that health insurance will not metastisize into a disease called red tape.

  • Setting up of a health care provider network that will allow every Filipino to register and have its own primary care provider.

  • Creating a national pool of health professionals by expanding the medical scholarships.

  • Development of a health information system as database of all health related information.

  • Accounting and inventory of health professionals to determine the actual gap and needs for a specific health profession.

  • Conduct of health technology assessment to evaluate the social, economic, organizational and ethical issues of health intervention or health technology.

  • Promoting health promotion and prevention to eventually address the bottlenecks in curative health care.

  • Providing for a mechanism for the public health care providers to improve its facilities and equipment by means of financial subsidies to make them ready to shift into network-based health care delivery system.

  • Prescribing co-payments of patients in public and private facilities.

Mr. President:

I must admit that many of these are technical terms, like pharmaceutical formulas, not familiar to laymen like us. But believe me, if implemented, and when delivered in the right dosage, they will have proven efficacy.

I believe these are cures with therapeutical potency.

The end objective is to stop Filipino families from being one sickness away from financial bankruptcy.

For all of them to have access to affordable and quality health care, that will not only cure them, but above all, prevent them from being sick.

Because at this point, Mr. President, health care is too expensive for the ordinary workingman, that if he lands in a hospital, and he pays the bill, he will check if there is a recovery room beside the cashier.

Ito pong batas na ito ay isang reseta na lulunas sa maraming sakit ng ating sistemang pangkalusugan.

I vote yes.

News Latest News Feed