‘Gov’t will replenish PhilHealth funds if depleted’, Roque assures

Published August 4, 2020, 5:14 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is prepared to pour additional funds to Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to ensure its survival if its reserve funds become depleted.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government recognizes the financial viability of PhilHealth does not solely depend on the collection of premium contributions from members.

“As author of the universal health care [law], we never, even for one minute, considered that the survival of PhilHealth will solely be by reason of premiums. Alam po namin na hindi makakamit ang libreng gamot at libreng pagamot kung premiums lang ang panggagalingan ng gagastusin ng PhilHealth (We know that the free medicines and healthcare cannot be attained if PhilHealth will only rely on premiums),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday.

“Talagang kung maubos ang pera ng PhilHealth, gobyerno po ang magbibigay ng pondo kaya nga po ang tawag diyan universal healthcare, hindi medical insurance (If the funds of PhilHealth run out, the government will give the funds. That’s why it is called universal healthcare, not medical insurance),” he said.

Roque sought to allay public concerns after a PhilHealth executive warned about the health corporation may run out of reserve funds by 2021 during a Senate hearing Tuesday.

PhilHealth acting senior vice president Nerissa Santiago told senators that the PhilHealth would run into deficit by 2021 due to decreased collections and anticipated increase in benefit payouts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Santiago claimed that the company may have a net operating loss of P90 billion in 2020 while projected losses may reach P147 billion next year. Her remarks were made during a virtual Senate hearing on the alleged fund irregularities within the state corporation.

Meanwhile, Roque said the Palace probe into the alleged anomalies in PhilHealth is still ongoing.

“Iyan po ay quietly being conducted by Usec (Melchor) Quitain bagama’t as we speak nag-iimbestiga rin po ang Senado (It is quietly being conducted by Usec Quitain although as we speak the matter is also being investigated by the Senate),” he said.

“Kampante naman po kami na sa sabay na imbestigasyon ng ating Usec Quitain ng Presidential Management Staff at ng Special Office of the Presidential Assistant at ang Senado, lalabas at lalabas po ang katotohanan (We are confident that with the simultaneous investigations conducted by Usec Quitain of the Presidential Management Staff and Special Office of the Presidential Assistant as well as the Senate, the truth will eventually come out),” he said.

Last month, President Duterte ordered an investigation into alleged anomalies in PhilHealth after an employee resigned due to supposed widespread corruption in the company.