The Road to the Universal Health Care Law of 2019 in the Philippines

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Several efforts have been made in order to enact the Universal Health Care Law of the Philippines. As the World Health Organization (2019) said that the UHC Act is the result of the decades of progress, and two years of political and technical work. Efforts has been made in both the technical and political field in the past two years in the legislature, with the joint-cooperation of parliamentarians, in both House of Representatives and Senate, and several health stakeholders; but the country experienced a 50-year process of health reform.

The aim to serve the communities in need of medical assistance can be traced back in the 1960s when the Philippine Medical Association introduced the “MARIA” Project. Because of this project that has been initiated by a non-governmental organization, it sparked the implementation of the Medicare program that created a medical care plan for the entire archipelago (PhilHealth, n.d.). In 1969, the Philippine Medical Care Act has been signed by President Marcos that will provide the total medical service for employed Filipinos by adopting and implementing a comprehensive and coordinated medical care program, in which finances will be coming from the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System (R.A. 6111, 1969). This also created the Philippine Medical Care Commission that was tasked to oversee the implementation of the program.

The Declaration of Alma-Ata in USSR, specifically in Kazakhstan at present time, urged the nations to protect and promote the health of all the people of the world by providing primary health care access to everyone (World Health Organization, 1978). In 1990s, during the stabilization of the Philippine economy after the decade of tyranny and dictatorship, a vision for a better, more responsive government health care program and the public’s clamor for a health insurance that is more comprehensive in terms of population coverage led to the enactment of the National Health Insurance Act (R.A. 7875, 1995). The law created the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, that has the mandate to provide social health insurance coverage to all Filipinos in 15 years’ time. The creation of PhilHealth abolished the Philippine Medical Care Commission and assumed the responsibility of catering the needs of the government and private sector employees.

In 2010, PhilHealth reported that they achieve 86% coverage of the Philippine population in terms of national health insurance but failed to achieve the goal set by the law in 1995. Because of this, the Aquino administration in 2010 initiated the policy that will provide Universal Health Care or the Kalusugang Pangkalahatan. Through this, the government continued health reform efforts through three key strategies: 1) achieving universal and sustainable PhilHealth membership; 2) upgrading and modernizing government health facilities; and 3) fortifying efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets. The implementation of the Universal Health Care policy was aided by several policies that will provide financial support and push to the attainment of the goal, such as the Sin Tax Law and the Reproductive Health Law, both in 2012 (World Health Organization, 2018).

In 2013, the National Health Insurance Law of 1995 was amended in order to provide a more comprehensive health care services to all Filipinos, that will give priority to the underprivileged, sick, elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDs), women and children, and provide free health care services to the indigents (R.A. 10606, 2013). In 2018, PhilHealth reported that the coverage of the National Health Insurance reached 93%, this is after 23 years of the enactment of the law that created them (PhilHealth, 2018). This is a remarkable achievement but still not a universal coverage as promised by the law.

In 2019, the Universal Health Care law was signed by President Duterete in which the health sector, both local and international, said as a milestone in the Philippine Health Reform. With this law, it looks into improving the healthcare delivery system in all levels, national, provincial, and city/municipality, and ensuring automatic inclusion of all Filipinos in the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippines.

In order to facilitate the implementation of the law, a roadmap has been crafted that will be used by several stakeholders, mainly by the Department of Health and its attached agencies, that will serve as a guide during its first few years of implementation. The crafting of the roadmap was produced by the Department of Health, with its technical officers, the World Health Organization through the Strategic Engagement for Enabling Development Inc., by the academe , the Department of Finance, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, tertiary and specialty hospitals in the Philippines, and health-sectoral organizations. The national roadmap for health has been aligned in order to meet the needs and demands stipulated in the Universal Health Care Law and ensured that several stakeholders have been consulted before the finalization and presentation of the National Objectives for Health 2017-2022 to the Cabinet.

Cite this paper

The Road to the Universal Health Care Law of 2019 in the Philippines. (2021, Apr 16). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-road-to-the-universal-health-care-law-of-2019-in-the-philippines/



What are the benefits of universal health care law in the Philippines?
The benefits of universal health care law in the Philippines include increased access to health services for all citizens, decreased out-of-pocket expenses for medical care, and improved health outcomes. It also promotes equitable distribution of health resources and services, especially to those who are marginalized and underserved.
What is RA 11223 all about?
RA 11223 is also known as the Universal Health Care Act. The bill seeks to establish a universal health care system in the Philippines that will provide quality and affordable health care for all Filipinos.
What is the status of the healthcare system in the Philippines?
The healthcare system in the Philippines is in a state of flux. The government is trying to improve the system, but there are still many problems.
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