Senator Manny Pacquiaothumbed down the planned privatization of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), and recommended instead that the agency’s crooked officials be thrown into jail. The boxer-turned-politician said in a statement that privatizingPhilHealthwould go against its very intent of providing socialized health care for all Filipinos, especially the poor.
According to Sen. Manny, the best thing to do is to imprison its corrupt officials, ratherthanprivatizePhilHealth. His statement comes after Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimborecentlyfiled House Bill No. 7429 or the 2020 Social Health Insurance CrisisAct that will enable a sitting president to reorganize, privatize all or segments of PhilHealth.
Although he acknowledges many’s outrages at reports of systemic corruption, PacquiaosaidprivatizingPhilHealthwillprobably does more damage than good. He said privatization won’t ensure it will make PhilHealth more efficient and reliable given the country’s dismal record on privatized government assets.
WhatPhilHealth needs are stopping system corruption within the department by reorganizing its administration, according to Sen Manny. We just need to redesignPhilHealth and fill it with genuine, committed, and competent people. The answer to this is not to privatizePhilHealth. It could harm our social health-care system, even more, the senator added.
Once PhilHealth is privatized, the people who plundered the agency can only be brought to trial for fraud or civil damage, warned Pacquiao. Additionally, he saidprivatizingPhilHealthwouldturn it into a profit-driven company much like all other private health insurers. The senator added that PhilHealth’s privatization would also run counter to the Universal Health Care Actwhichpromises universal health care coverage for all Filipinos.
PhilHealth is run by the government because it serves no other purpose than to provide everyone, including the poor, with affordable and adequate healthcare. This is not a business but a public service. But for a long time, PhilHealthhasbeenengulfed in fresh charges of corruption and fraudulent schemes after a member of the sitting board and a retired anti-fraud officer reportedly organized large-scale misconduct within the company for years by a so-called “mafia” in PhilHealth.
In addition to a Senate probe, PhilHealth is also facing separate investigations into corruption by the House of Representatives, the PresidentialAnti-Corruption Commission (PACC), and a task force created by President Rodrigo Duterte and led by the Justice Department.
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