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Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said the scrapping of the "No PhilHealth ID, No benefits" policy is one of the many provisions that the Senate had crafted to guarantee universal health coverage.

"No PhilHealth ID, No Benefits" policy scrapped - Recto

The Senate has included a provision in the 2017 national budget cancelling the need for patients seeking treatment in hospitals to present a PhilHealth card as a condition to avail of benefits from the state health insurer.

Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said the scrapping of the "No PhilHealth ID, No benefits" policy is one of the many provisions that the Senate had crafted to guarantee universal health coverage.

Recto sponsored the budget provision which states that "in the attainment of universal coverage, no Filipino, whether a PhilHealth member or not, shall be denied of PhilHealth benefits. PhilHealth identification card is not necessary in the availment of benefits."

The said provision forms part of the 2017 General Appropriations Bill that President Duterte is expected to sign before the end of the month.

But the major PhilHealth-related initiative, Recto said, was the one pushed by Senator Loren Legarda, which appropriated P3 billion to pay for the insurance premiums of an estimated "last 8 million uninsured Filipinos."
This backlog was discovered in the course of budget deliberations, Recto said. "Because the Senate did its job, the discrepancy was found."

The P3 billion Senate infusion sponsored by Legarda "will close the last mile in health insurance," Recto said.
"This is the culmination of a long work process through successive administrations. In 2001, at the start of GMA's term, the number of sponsored beneficiaries was just 200,000 urban poor families," he said.

"Then the number of the sponsored increased yearly. By 2010, the individuals covered, including self-paying, numbered 78 million. President Aquino added 20 million new enrollees, increased the paying members to about 45 million, plus retained the previous grantees and expanded the benefits," he said.

As a result of the Senate augmentation, funding for PhilHealth social insurance program had been raised to P53.2 billion.

This will cover 15.4 million indigent families, 3.3 to 5.5 million senior citizens, and 48,000 individuals under the government peace and reconciliation 'PAMANA' program, and the last 8 million uninsured individuals.

Recto said the inclusion of senior citizens "under the medicare umbrella" was made pursuant to Republic Act 10645, the 2014 Recto-authored law mandating automatic PhilHealth coverage for 60 year olds and above.
He said the "No ID" rule in RA 10645 for seniors seeking medical services is being expanded to cover all.
Government's subsidy to PhilHealth is booked separately from the Department of Health budget.

The DOH appropriations for 2017 is P96.33 billion.

Recto said "valuable and insightful inputs" in the crafting of "health care-for-all provisions" in the budget came from Senate health committee chairman Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Sonny Angara who defended the DOH budget in plenary.

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