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House approves mandatory PhilHealth benefits for PWDs

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House of Representatives on Monday approved on final reading the proposed mandatory PhilHealth coverage for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Voting 204-0, the legislators present in the plenary endorsed House Bill No. 8014 which provides mandatory PhilHealth Coverage to Republic Act 7277 also known as the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability.”

The amendment allocates for the addition of a new Section 20-A which provides that: “All persons with disability (PWD) not currently afforded health insurance under any existing category shall be covered by the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).”

The funds necessary for the effective implementation of the act shall be sourced from the National Health Insurance Fund of PhilHealth earmarked from the proceeds of Republic Act No. 10351, otherwise known as “An Act Restructuring the Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products,” in accordance with pertinent laws and regulations.”

Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago, primary author of the measure, said PWD is a vulnerable sector that needs health protection from the government.

She said a 2010 census on population and housing data showed around 16,000 Filipinos have disabilities.

“With the country’s current population of 100 million, that translates to about 1.6 million Filipinos living with a disability,” Violago said.

According to Violago, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed that people with disabilities, though having the same health needs as non-disabled people, “have less access to health care service, hence experience unmet health care needs.”

“Evidence also suggests that people with disabilities face barriers in accessing the health and rehabilitation services they need in many settings. This should not be the case,” said Violago.