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PhilHealth to get P71.4B in taxpayer subsidy

THE beleaguered Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will receive P71.4 billion in taxpayer subsidy next year, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said on Tuesday.
“We hope that the new leadership of PhilHealth will use the funds judiciously,” said Defensor, who chairs the House committee on public accounts that is looking into fund irregularities in the state insurer.

Aside from the annual subsidy from taxpayers, Defensor said PhilHealth collects more than P100 billion a year in contributions from members.

“The subsidy is used mainly to cover non-contributory Filipinos like the poor, those without jobs and senior citizens. That is the mandate of the Universal Health Care Law,” Defensor said.
Defensor urged the newly-appointed PhilHealth president to scrap the case or package rates and interim reimbursement mechanism of the agency.

The solon reiterated his view that the package rates “are the root of all evil and corruption in PhilHealth.”

The House leader renewed his call for the state insurer to reimburse hospitals and other healthcare facilities of the “actual cost” of treatment and hospitalization of patients, and to set the case rates as “cost limits.”

Defensor said next year’s subsidy for PhilHealth is the same as this year’s P71.4-billion budgetary support for the state insurer.

He said while the insurer’s fund augmentation will remain at the same level, the Department of Health (DoH), to which Philhealth is attached, will receive an increase of more than P27 billion, from P104 billion this year to P131.2 billion next year.

Defensor said P44.7 billion of the DoH outlay will go to health facilities, P27.7 billion to public health programs, P22.6 billion to health systems strengthening, and P17.3 billion to medical assistance to indigent patients.

He pointed out that two specialty hospitals – the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) and the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) – will both get an increase of about P400 million each, from P908 million to P1.3 billion and from P1.4 billion to P1.8 billion, respectively.

Defensor added that the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), a coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) referral hospital, will suffer a slight budgetary cut of P12 million, from P417 million to P405 million, while the Philippine Children’s Medical Center will see its funds go down by P158 million, from P1.2 billion to P1.042 billion.