By Chino S. Leyco
The newly enacted universal health care act will improve people’s quality of living through expanded healthcare coverage for all Filipinos, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.
“We, at NEDA, are elated by the signing into law of the Universal Health Care Act. Through this law, we are making history in truly reforming the Philippine health care system,” NEDA Officer-in-Charge Adoracion M. Navarro said.
Navarro said the new law will increase the level of protection from the financial risks of getting ill and reduce the burden of health expenditure on individuals and families.
Signed by President Duterte on February 20, 2019, the law will ensure that all Filipinos have access to a comprehensive set of quality, cost-effective, promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services without suffering financial hardships.
It will enable every Filipino to be automatically enrolled in PhilHealth’s National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) with full access to various health care services including reproductive health and family planning benefit packages.
The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, the country’s development blueprint, emphasizes the significance of access to quality health care for all in promoting human capital development and reaping the demographic dividend, Navarro added.
“The Universal Health Care Act also helps us reach our collective long-term vision, or the AmBisyon Natin 2040. Part of this vision is a truly healthy and resilient society by 2040, where Filipinos are healthy and productive, are protected from health risks, and can cope with and recover quickly from unfortunate events or even poor life choices.,” Navarro said.
She added that the law will enable the country to maintain quality human resource needed to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend.
Navarro, however, stressed that the country’s public health infrastructure and human resources must be ready for the increase in demand for health services.
“There is a need to develop and strengthen our existing health infrastructure and increase the number of deployed health workers and professionals in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” she said.
She added that the government must ensure that health workers are well distributed across the country through continuous deployment programs, provision of higher compensation and benefits, and scholarship and training programs.