Third District Rep. Arthur Yap pushes for expansion of public health infrastructure and services to prioritize the poorest localities in fund allocation.
For this purpose, Yap filed House Bill 2451 where he lobbies that the poorest municipalities and barangays without or without sufficient public healthcare infrastructure and services shall enjoy priority in the funding.
This in reference to localities determined by the Department of Health, Philhealth and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Yap had actually filed House Bill 204 in the 16th Congress for the same intention, but its passage was overtaken by time.
He pursued by filing HB 2451 at the current 17th Congress.
In his bill, Yap proposed that after its construction, the operations of such health facilities shall be operated by the barangay government under the joint supervision of the DOH and Philhealth.
This will entail utilizing a portion of the reserve funds of the Philippine Insurance Corporation or the Philhealth.
“It is a conceded fact that there are several gaps in the accessibility of free heath care. This is the reality, most especially in the far-flung countryside, wherein there are without or even no functional public health care systems and services,” according to Yap.
He pointed out that there is a grave need to construct public health care centers and clinics.
“These should be sufficiently equipped, not just with facilities and equipment, but with manpower, properly trained health workers. Yet, the predicament of scarcity of funding by the national government always hangs in the air,” Yap lamented.
On this, Yap proposed that government owned and controlled corporations like the Philhealth, which is actually owned by its members, can be sought to provide assistance.
“Philhealth reported a net reserve fund of more than P100 Billion. Fifty percent of this amount would go a long way in developing and expanding to the poorest of the poor Filipinos free public health infrastructure and services,” according to Yap.
He proposed through HB 2451 that Congress should legislate the “Public Health Infrastructure and Services Development and Expansion Act of 2016”.
Under the proposed law, 50 percent of PhilHealth’s “Investment Reserve Fund” shall be automatically earmarked to augment the DOH’s health facilities enhancement program for the next fiscal year and shall be known as the “expanded public health care infrastructure and services fund”.
Moreover, the poorest municipalities and barangays that have no or lack public healthcare infrastructure and services, as determined by DOH, PhilHealth and the DILG “shall enjoy priority in the funding”.
“After its construction, the operations of such health facilities shall be operated by the barangay government under the joint supervision of the DOH and PhilHealth,” as Yap proposed which, in effect, would amend Section 27 of Republic Act 7875 or the National Health Insurance Act of 1995.