Press Release
October 11, 2018

Casino, lotto, sin tax income to finance UHC
"Tax on vices to fund virtue of health-for-all"

Multiple sources of finances underpin the Senate-approved Universal Health Care (UHC) bill so that its many mandates will not go unfunded, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.

Among government revenues that will be funnelled to UHC are portions of its multi-billion-peso casino and lotto income, plus sin tax collections, Recto said.

"The tax on vices will fund the good virtue of health-for-all," Recto said. "Ang UHC bill ay parang reseta sa gamot ng doktor. Walang silbi kung walang pambili. And the bill earmarks a raft of funding sources. One enemy of health care is anemic funding."

He said incremental sin tax collections -from tobacco and alcohol products - are now pledged to UHC.

Total sin tax collections reached P145.3 billion in 2016, and P187 billion in 2017. Of these, P64.2 billion in 2016, and P66.8 billion in 2017 were deemed incremental collections.

In addition, 50 percent of the national share from PAGCOR income will likewise go to UHC, and so will 40 percent of the "charity fund" of PCSO.

Recto described the assignment of casino income for cure as a "winning combination." In his vote speech, he said it was "better for our health institutions to direct where funds must go than for state gaming bodies to triage who will receive help or not."

"Pag tumaya ka sa lotto, malaking bahagi ng halaga ng ticket ay pupunta sa pagpapagamot ng may sakit," Recto said.

He assured that these earmarks are on top of regular annual appropriations for the Department of Health, PhilHealth, and the many mandates and programs under the UHC.

"Hindi na pwedeng bawasan. We are benchmarking the minimum funding requirements," Recto said.

Recto said the UHC bill is "a fairly comprehensive catalogue for the cures of what ails our public health system."

"It addresses all aspects: from financing, to medical manpower, to affordable drugs, to the use of Information Technology, to the improvement of health facilities, to primary health care, to higher PhilHealth benefits, and more," he said.

"Dapat comprehensive. 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," Recto said in his vote speech.

"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," he said.

"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," Recto said.

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