HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Philippines

Pass universal healthcare bill, Philippine lawmakers urged

The bill has been languishing for years.

Civic groups and government officials have urged Philippine lawmakers to pass the country's Universal Healthcare Bill.

The bill has been certified as a priority measure but is still currently pending in the country's Senate.

The bill aims provide automatic health insurance coverage for all citizens. It also increases the scope of service coverage and enhances preventive health care services.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) indicating that spending on health increased to P6,345 (USD 120) for every Filipino in 2016, from P5,840 (USD 105) in 2015.

In the same year, household out-of-pocket payments rose to 54.2% of the total medical bill or P342 billion (USD 6 billion) while only 34.2% or P216 billion (USD 4 billion) was covered by the government. Voluntary health care payment schemes, meanwhile, accounted for 11.6% or P73 billion (USD 1.3 billion),

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