The PhilHealth issue
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
There is great sense in the move of the Negros Occidental government to seek a moratorium from the PhilHealth on its plan to hike the premiums of member to double the amount they used to be. From the P600 each member had to fork up last year, it will now be P1,200 this year and, worse, it will further escalate to P2,000 next year.
No wonder the plan of the provincial government to pull out of PhilHealth coverage is gaining so many supporters. This, indeed, seems to be a cruel time for agencies like PhilHealth, on whom the people rely for help, albeit partially only, for times when they need it badly, to impose such an increase in the premiums it demands.
At a time when the country is reeling from so many disasters and calamities, and also when the public is at the mercy of the unpredictable hikes, and yo-yo price changes of the vital commodity called oil, it does look as if the agency we relied on, and which had such promising benefits at the start, it is also ganging up on us with this unconscionable hike in premium payments.
But there could be an underlying reason for what looks like a desperate effort of PhilHealth to collect more from its members. Some reports have surfaced in the national media about trouble brewing in the agency, which could have triggered this decision to raise its premiums a hundred percent. Government auditors should look into this and inform the public of its findings.
Fortunately for Negros Occidental, it has an alternative in the Comprehensive Health Care Program it has set up that could provide the members here with the needed coverage.
The head of PhilHealth is expected to be in Bacolod today to meet with the governor and local officials on this development. This time, our officials need not be intimidated, because they have anticipated the problem and will dialog with the chips not only on PhilHealth’s side, but with enough to bargain with on theirs.*