PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent the proposed measure that would provide universal healthcare coverage for all Filipinos.
Duterte’s spokesperson, Harry Roque, said the President arrived at the decision during the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang.
The Senate and House of Representatives can only vote on third and final reading on any bill that it has already passed on second reading after copies of the proposed measure are given to lawmakers at least three days before the date of final voting.
This rule can be dispensed with, however, for bills certified as urgent by the President.
The House passed its version of the bill in September last year while a counterpart bill is pending in the Senate.
Under the House version, every Filipino will be automatically included in the National Health Security Program, which entitles them to all its benefits, including inpatient, outpatient and emergency care services encompassing preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care for medical, dental and mental health services.
Other features of the bill include simplifying PhilHealth membership into two groups — contributory, or premium contributions from payroll, and all others as non-contributory — and classifying entitlements into population-based and individual-based healthcare interventions.
The proposed measure also authorizes all government health facilities to use 100 percent of their income to enhance their capacity and improve the quality of services.
The bill also aims to reconstitute the Philippine Health Insurance System (PhilHealth) into the Philippine Health Security Corporation which, in turn, will be the “national purchaser of health services.”