Palace hopeful for passage of universal healthcare this month
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Malacañang on Wednesday expressed hope that Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito will live up to his promise to push for the passage of the Universal Healthcare in the Senate within the month.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he has personally talked to Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, regarding a bill which seeks to provide all-inclusive health coverage for Filipinos.
“Maraming beses na po kaming nagkausap at may mga pagkakataon na ipinangako niya na hindi nga matatapos ang buwan ng Setyembre na hindi po naisasabatas itong Universal Healthcare (We have talked many times and there was a time he promised that September will not end without Universal Healthcare being passed),” Roque said in an interview over DZRH.
In the Senate, the Universal Healthcare is still pending in the committee level. However, the House of Representatives (HOR) has passed its version of the bill, authored by Roque, a former congressman, last year.
“Isang taon po ang lumipas, matapos po maipasa natin sa Kamara ang Universal Healthcare, na mapapasa rin sa Senado ang kanilang bersyon (A year has passed after we passed the Universal Healthcare bill in the Congress, and we will soon see the passage of the Senate version),” Roque said.
Roque said there will be more discussions on how to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill.
He pointed out that President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself has certified the bill as urgent during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Ito naman po ay certified urgent ng Presidente, binanggit ng Presidente sa kanyang SONA. So, ito po ay isang administration bill (This has been certified urgent by the President, he mentioned it in his SONA. So this is an administration bill),” Roque said.
“Aasahan na po namin ng mga kababayan natin na bago matapos ang Setyembre ay batas na po ito (We, and all Filipinos, are expecting that before September ends, it is already a law),” he added.
Roque said with the Universal Healthcare in place, Filipinos will no longer face the dilemma of not being able to afford checkups and medicines.
During his third SONA, Duterte urged the Congress to pass the Universal Healthcare Bill, noting that it would ensure every Filipino family’s opportunity to get the “appropriate, affordable, and quality health services in appropriate facilities and will be protected from financial burden due to sickness”.
Under the UHC bill, there will be an automatic inclusion of all Filipinos into the National Health Insurance Program. (PNA)