SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
A lawmaker is strongly pushing for the mandatory enrollment of all persons with disability (PWDs) in the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City) filed House Bill 6251, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7277, as amended, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability.
The bill, to be known as the Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage for All PWDs Act of 2015, adds another section after Section 18 under Chapter III on Health of RA 7277.
The new section mandates PhilHealth to ensure the enrollment of all PWDs who are not currently covered by the NHIP. The funding shall be sourced from the proceeds of sin tax collections as provided for in Republic Act No. 10351 also known as the Sin Tax Reform Law of 2012.
In pushing for the bill, Vargas said PWDs represent one of the sectors, which the Social Justice and Human Rights clause of the 1987 Constitution identified as priorities in health development.
The clause specifically provides that "The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost."
It stresses that "There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children."
"This constitutional provision is further enshrined in RA No. 7277, which secures the PWDs' rights to essential health services, including duties by the State to provide preventive measures and medical treatment," Vargas said.
Citing the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, Vargas said there are 1,442,586 PWDs in the country representing 1.53% of the country's total population.
"And while the Philippines has become home to PWD heroes and leaders, more needs to be done to ensure that the PWDs' rights to health is protected, promoted and prioritized," Vargas said.
The bill mandates PhilHealth and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the proper and effective implementation of the proposed act.