House passes bill giving PWDs access to health care

THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to provide persons with disabilities (PWDs) access to health care.

Voting unanimously, the solons underscored the need to pass House Bill 8014 or “An Act Providing For The Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage Of All Persons With Disability (PWD)”.

The bill, principally authored by Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago, seeks to amend Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta For Persons With Disability.

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.

Based on the Philippine Census, 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 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.

Other authors of the bill include Deputy Speakers Fredenil Castro, Linabelle Ruth Villarica and Raneo Abu, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos; Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo;  Leyte Rep. Yeddah Marie Romualdez; Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles; and MATA Rep. Tricia Nicole Velasco-Catera.