Malacañang on Monday appealed to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) to pay the claims of private hospitals, emphasizing that failure to do so would “significantly” affect the country’s healthcare system amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after hospitals and physicians organizations announced their decision to disengage from PhilHealth over its circular suspending payments to hospitals and healthcare providers whose claims are under investigation.
“This threat to stop providing services and to disengage from PhilHealth…that has the potential of derailing the Universal Health Care. And as the author of that law, I will not allow it,” he said Filipino in a press briefing in SM City San Mateo.
Roque, the primary author of Republic Act (RA) 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law (UHC) Law in the 17th Congress, reminded the state insurer of their mandate.
“My appeal to the Philhealth is to pay what needs to be paid. Because as the author of the law, the law intends that the government, through Philhealth, will become the sole purchaser of all goods and services,” he added in Filipino.
He emphasized the need for Philhealth to “cooperate”, noting that a lack of funds is not an acceptable excuse.
“There should be cooperation, the Philhealth needs to pay immediately,” he said in Filipino.
While he acknowledged that there may be anomalous claims, he said they simply needed to be investigated instead of suspended.
“We cannot implement Universal Health Care with just the government hospitals, especially with the ongoing pandemic,” he said in Filipino.
He also questioned why Philhealth President and CEO Dante Gierran only managed to remove one Philhealth officer over anomalous claims.
“My appeal to Atty. Gierran: How come only one officer of Philhealth was removed over anomalous claims and via resignation? Do you mean to say that the people behind these anomalies are still there and that none of them should be sacked? That’s unbelievable,” he added in Filipino.
In September 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Gierran to clean up the corruption-tainted Philhealth before the end of the year.
Gierran, former director of the National Bureau of Investigation, was appointed to head Philhealth in August 2020.He replaced Ricardo Morales who resigned due to his health condition.