Bill on health care for PWDs okayed

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THE House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading a measure which provides persons with disabilities (PWDs) access to health care.

House Bill 8014 entitled “An Act Providing For The Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage Of All Persons With Disability (PWD)” got the support of the majority of the House members.

The bill, principally authored by Nueva Ecija  Rep. Micaela Viologo, seeks to amend Republic Act 7277, as amended, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta For Persons With Disability”.

Other authors of the bill include Deputy Speakers Fredenil Castro, Linabelle Ruth Villarica and Raneo Abu, Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez, Rodel Batocabe, Christopher Co, Mariano Michael Velarde Jr., Jerry Trenas, and Vilma Santos-Recto.

Violago said that based on a World Health Organization article, people with disabilities, though having the same health needs as non-disabled people, have less access to health care services and therefore experience unmet health care needs.

“The article further states that evidence also suggests that people with disabilities face barriers in accessing the health and rehabilitation services they need in many settings. This should not be the case,” she said.

Another author, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, said that the measure fulfills the constitutional mandate of the State in  providing preventive measures and medical treatment for PWD’s.

Vargas cited data that almost 1.5 million household population in the country or about 1.57 percent had disability.

The bill states that “All persons with disability (PWD) not currently afforded health insurance under any existing category shall be covered by the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)”.

It further states that the funds required for the effective implementation of the Act shall be obtained from the National Health Insurance Fund of PhilHealth earmarked from the proceeds of Republic Act No. 10351, otherwise known as “An Act Restructuring The Excise Tax On Alcohol And Tobacco Products” in accordance with pertinent laws and regulations.

The bill mandates the PhilHealth and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of the Act within 30 days after its effectivity.