Negros Oriental 1st District Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong has rallied behind the President Duterte’s decision to defer the scheduled increase of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) members’ contribution this year.
She welcomed President Duterte’s directive to PhilHealth Chief Dante Gierran to suspend the hike in monthly minimum contributions from the current P300 to P350.
"I share the same sentiment with the President as regards the deferment of the increase in Philhealth contributions. Although universal healthcare should in no way be compromised, there is a need to consider the impact of the pandemic on the financial capacity of the workers and their respective households,” she said in a text message.
"As much as our economy should bounce back, so should our people,” she stressed.
Limkaichong, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations, said while PhilHealth is giving the people the time to recover, it must also be proactive in restoring the trust of the people.
"The fact that Philhealth is riddled with fraud allegations and that the stolen 15 billion funds remains unexplained have not averted our attention,” she said.
In a public briefing on Monday, President Duterte directed Gierran to defer the monthly premium hike, which is provided under the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.
This year, PhilHealth’s premium contribution is expected to increase from 3 percent to 3.5 percent of the monthly basic salary of members.
The law states that the premium contributions to PhilHealth will increase by half a percentage point every Jan. 1 until it reaches 5.0 percent of a member’s monthly earnings by 2024.
Several lawmakers earlier sought the deferment of the “unfair” hike of PhilHealth’s contribution rate for members.
Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin said the deferment of the increase in the PhilHealth members’ contribution "will give employees and businesses a breather.”
Quezon City 5th District Rep. Alfred Vargas, chairperson of the House Committee on Social Services, has also thanked the President Duterte for providing relief to PhilHealth members amid the COVID-19 pandemic, describing the increase in contributions as a “heavy burden to bear.”