"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Sunday, June 17, 2007

GORDON ON PHILHEALTH: “Action, Not Retraction”


Senator Richard J. Gordon invited representatives from the health sector to a public hearing today in light of several issues of concern surrounding the threats of “hospital strike” by private hospitals nationwide. “The public hearing is a continuation of the one we conducted last week. As I explained then, the hearing focuses on looking at our health insurance, particularly PhilHealth, as a solution to the concerns of the private hospitals who are in protest of the new Hospital Detention Law,” Senator Gordon said.

At the heels of recurring retractions on statements made by PhilHealth officials during the earlier hearing, Senator Gordon stressed that there is no need for PhilHealth to be defensive about their previous statements. “We fix the problem and not the blame. Beyond looking into the fraudulent claims that PhilHealth revealed during the meeting, the hearing is focused on looking into PhilHealth as a viable solution to the concerns of the health care system. It is an opportunity for PhilHealth to likewise brandish its accomplishments, if they wish,” he said.

During the previous hearing, PhilHealth officials revealed several “maladies” –specifically, fraudulent claims amounting to Php 4 billion. Several news articles have quoted PhilHealth officials denying their statements during the hearing. “This is precisely the reason why we are holding the public hearing –to clarify the statements through competent evidence they are willing to produce. We want to see how Philhealth, if it is indeed as healthy as they claim it is, can provide a solution through expansion of their services and paying members. If we discover that the system has flaws, then we find ways to fix these flaws,” Senator Gordon explained.

“I have always said that insurance is savings. While the indigent program of PhilHealth is laudible, it should not inspire a culture of dependence among our people. Once enrolled in the program, ideally, these people would see that the system works well for them and will seek employment to sustain that insurance for them and their families,” said Gordon.

“PhilHealth will play a great role in all of this. A competent system will encourage paying members because they know that they have something to fall back on when the need arises. We have to ask now, through the hearing, How PhilHealth can improve? Is it sustainable? Then we will know if it is truly a viable solution to our health care problems,” Senator Gordon said.

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