June 17, 2024

Baguio City Rep. Mark Go is not sold to the idea of abolishing state insurer, PhilHealth, saying doing so will deprive Filipinos of their right to subsidized hospitalization.

“We don’t have to abolish PhilHealth because billions are allocated for the benefit of the people who cannot pay their contribution,” Go said in a recent forum where he was asked about his views on the earlier reported plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to abolish or privatize PhilHealth amidst the allegations of corruption hounding the agency.

Go said PhilHealth’s proposed budget for 2021 is P71.5 billion, an amount intended to cover the hospitalization cost of every Filipino, as provided for in the Universal Healthcare Law.

He also called on those who are voluntarily paying their contributions not to be disappointed by the allegations of corruption.

“The program is good. Those who are voluntarily paying their contributions should not be discouraged because the government is addressing the issues. The problem is not the operations of PhilHealth, but the people implementing the program,” he said.

“We really hope that all the issues hounding PhilHealth will be resolved. Those who cannot pay their contributions like senior citizens, members of the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), and the unemployed need health insurance and PhilHealth is the one (providing) that.”

Allegations of corruption in PhilHealth has resurfaced this year as the country is battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last August, Cordilleran whistleblower Thorrsson Keith told the Senate during a hearing that a syndicate has been defrauding PhilHealth for years now.

Keith, who served as PhilHealth’s anti-fraud legal officer until his resignation in July, said about P15 billion was stolen from the firm to the benefit of the few.

This recent allegation has forced the administration to order a probe into the corporation where senior officials, including PhilHealth former president Ricardo Morales were recommended to be charged in court. – Jane B. Cadalig