FOR 2021, the Philippine Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is expected to receive a budget of P71.3 billion.
Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor asked the new officials of the agency to use the money judiciously.
In both Houses of Congress, corruption issues were disclosed in legislative investigations.
“We hope that the new leadership of PhilHealth will use the funds judiciously,” Defensor, who chairs the House public accounts committee that is looking into fund irregularities in the state insurer, Defensor said. He said aside from the annual subsidy from taxpayers, 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.
The House leader urged the newly-appointed PhilHealth president to scrap the case or package rates and interim reimbursement mechanism of the agency.
He reiterated his view that the package rates “are the root of all evil and corruption in PhilHealth.”
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.
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 speciality hospitals – the National Kidney and Transplant Institute and the Philippine Heart Center – 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, a 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.
He then proposed that funding for these hospitals be at least retained at its present level, if it cannot be increased.