SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives approved on second reading on Wednesday House Bill 8014, seeking to provide for the mandatory PhilHealth coverage of all persons with disability.
The bill, principally authored by Rep. Micaela Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija), provides for the amendment of Republic Act No. 7277, as amended, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability.”
The amendment provides for the addition of a new Section 20-A, entitled Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage, in RA 7277 and which provides that “All persons with disability (PWD) not currently afforded health insurance under any existing category shall be covered by the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). The funds necessary for the effective implementation of the Act shall be sourced from the National Health Insurance Fund of PhilHealth earmarked from the proceeds of Republic Act No. 10351, otherwise known as "An Act Restructuring the Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products,” in accordance with pertinent laws and regulations.”
The PhilHealth and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall promulgate, within 30 days after the effectivity of the Act, the necessary rules and regulations for its implementation.
Violago said RA 10645 provides for the mandatory PhilHealth coverage of all senior citizens. Another vulnerable sector that needs health protection are the PWDs.
In the 2015 Census, however, disability questions were not included by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) since such questions shall be included in the 2020 Census of Population and Housing, according to Violago.
Meanwhile, the 2010 Census on Population and Housing estimates that about 16,000 Filipinos have disability. “With the country’s current population of 100 million, that translates to about 1.6 million Filipinos living with a disability,” Violago said.
Relatedly, the World Health Organization said that people with disabilities, though having the same health needs as non-disabled people, have less access to health care service, hence experience unmet health care needs.
"Evidence also suggests that people with disabilities face barriers in accessing the health and rehabilitation services they need in many settings. This should not be the case,” said Violago.
The bill is also authored by Reps. Alfredo Garbin Jr., Rodel Batocabe, Christopher Co, Mariano Michael Velarde Jr., Jerry Treñas, Alfred Vargas, Vilma Santos-Recto, Cristina Roa-Puno, Enrico Pineda, Michael Romero, Ph. D. , and Raul Tupas, among others. | Rowena B. Bundang