Imee: President Must Certify Urgency Of Amending Universal Health Care Act

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Senator Imee Marcos has appealed to President Duterte to certify the urgency of amending the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, so that Philhealth contributions will not be increased this year.

“Good intentions need to be backed up by an amendment to the law,” Marcos said, after the President said payment of Philhealth premiums should be postponed amid the financial difficulties wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Marcos added that billions of pesos in government loans can help plug revenue losses resulting from the postponement of contributions.

Marcos filed Senate Bill 1966 on Monday to postpone to 2022 the legal mandate of Philhealth to raise membership contributions by 0.5% this year to 3.5%.

Under the UHC Act, the same incremental 0.5% increase will be applied each year until 2025 when Philhealth contributions will reach 5% of members’ salaries.

Marcos added that amending the law, passed in 2019 during the 17th Congress, will also solve the dilemma of Philhealth officials who were “duty-bound to implement the law but also must heed the call of the times.”

“They may be accused of dereliction of duty if they do not carry out their mandate under the existing UHC law,” Marcos explained.

“Besides, what kind of service can we expect with the hike in Philhealth contributions? Give us reason to believe in Philhealth first, before increasing premiums yet again!” Marcos said, citing the corruption scandals that have plagued the agency.