Sat. Jul 24th, 2021

MANILA – A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Wednesday filed a measure allowing the President to privatize any or all segments of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo filed House Bill 7429, or the proposed Social Health Insurance Crisis Act, amid allegations of corruption hounding the state health insurer.

“Mabigat ang krisis ngayon sa social health insurance at kailangan na natin gamitin ang expertise ng private sector para magamit nang mabuti ang perang kinakaltas sa ating mga manggagawa (The social health insurance crisis we have right now is so burdensome that we need to tap the expertise of the private sector in order to efficiently use the money that we get from workers),” Quimbo said in a press conference.

To carry out the reorganization of PhilHealth, the President shall be authorized to abolish or create offices, transfer functions, institute drastic cost-cutting, and take other related measures to achieve the given objective.

The bill also proposes the creation of an executive-legislative commission to design the policy framework and carry out all necessary steps to reorganize PhilHealth.

The commission shall also designate a transition management team, to be chosen through competitive selection, to assume the management of the corporation until its reorganization, which will be completed within two years.

Quimbo called on Congress to immediately act on this bill and the Executive to support the much-needed legislation.

“Our primary role in times like this is to assure the public that the situation is under control and that there are sufficient funds to address the pandemic,” she said.

She said that PhilHealth could greatly contribute to the country’s fight against the pandemic “if the management is effective”.

“May renal failure na ang sistema ng PhilHealth… Transplant ang kailangan sa paggaling ng PhilHealth at ito ang susi sa paggaling din ng milyon-milyong Pilipino. (PhilHealth’s system already has renal failure… Transplant is necessary to save PhilHealth and this will be the key towards the recovery of millions of Filipinos),” she added.

Resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith has earlier claimed that some PHP15 billion of the agency’s funds had been pocketed by some corrupt officials.

Keith also claimed that all members of the state firm’s executive committee composed the “mafia”, which had been allegedly siphoning funds from PhilHealth in the past years through fraudulent transactions. (PNA)

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