PhilHealth union rejects abolition, privatization plans

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    EMPLOYEES of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) yesterday expressed strong opposition to President Duterte’s idea to either abolish or privatize the state-run health insurer.

    In a statement, members of the PhilHealth Workers for Hope, Integrity, Transparency and Empowerment (PhilHealth WHITE) said disbanding the corporation as it is tantamount to stripping Filipinos of their constitutional right to health.

    “The obligation of the State to progressively realize Universal Health Care runs in the same vein as the constitutional decree to protect and promote the right to health of all Filipinos,” said PhilHealth WHITE. “Hence, abolition of PhilHealth places the Filipino people at a clear disadvantage. It is like a government turning away from its constitutional responsibility to protect general welfare.”

    PhilHealth WHITE disagrees with transferring PhilHealth to the private sector.

    “Social health insurance, as the term connotes, requires that the underprivileged are no longer burdened by financial handicap in accessing their basic right to health care. It ensures that the cost of providing health services do not put people at the risk of financial inferiority,” it said.

    “The peculiarities of social health insurance set a clear distinction between public service and service for profit,” it added.

    The union members asked President Duterte to instead allow newly-appointed PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dante Gierran to do his job.

    Senate President Vicente Sotto III last week said Duterte was considering abolishing or privatizing PhilHealth amid allegations of corruption and reports that billions in its funds have been lost to fraud and other anomalies.