Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo today urged the Department of Health (DoH) to hasten the implementation of the free hospitalization program for the 5.2 million “poorest of the poor” families, even as he asked for a realignment of a portion of the proposed P40 billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) fund to finance and sustain the program.
In a statement, Castelo (LP, Quezon City) praised Health Secretary Enrique Ona for crafting a program that provides the Filipino people the universal access to health services, but said this requires its fast tracking because of the rising incidents of dengue fever and other major ailments in the country.
“The ‘Health for All’ program of the Department of Health is definitely in the right direction, although long overdue. It needs all support to ensure its success,” Castelo said adding that its funding support has to be identified to ensure its sustainability and success.
Castelo suggested a realignment of at least P10 billion or 25 percent of the P40 billion CCT fund, which the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will administer under the proposed 2012 national budget, to finance the free hospitalization program.
“The use of the conditional cash transfer fund to meet the health requirements of the poorest families will mean its prudent use,” Castelo said. “It’s a better option than simply doling it out to the poor.”
Castelo said the DoH’s free hospitalization program will require the compulsory enlistment of these beneficiary-families under the national health insurance system, which the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) administers uder Republic Act 7875, or the National Health Insurance Act of 1995.
The P10 billion CCT fund could be used to pay for the regular monthly premium contributions of these families, which are considered “poorest of the poor,” Castelo said.
With the National Government paying at least P100 per month as regular monthly premium contribution for every for every indigent family, the Health for All program could be genuine and sustainable.
RA 7875 mandates the National Government to pay for the premium contributions of “indigent families,” who are not in the position to pay them due to poverty and lack of means.
By using the CCT fund for the health requirements of the poorest families, the National Government will also satisfy the mandated compulsory enrollment of all Filipinos within a 15-year period since PhilHealth’s establishment in 1995 and the remittance of their regular monthly premium contributions. 30