Cancer advocacy group hails Duterte’s call for UHC passage

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MANILA — A cancer prevention advocacy group on Tuesday lauded President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s call to Congress to prioritize the passage of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Bill.

“It shows that the President is true to his word in fulfilling his campaign promises,” New Vois Association of the Philippines president, Emer Rojas, said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Rojas, a cancer survivor, said the swift passage of the UHC measure will help attain the long-sought health care coverage for every Filipino.

Persons with Disabilities and tobacco victims, he said, may also benefit from the measure once it is passed since their health needs would be prioritized.

He said the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) health packages for cancer patients could also be boosted under the UHC Bill.

The House of Representatives’ version of the bill was passed on third and final reading in September last year.

The UHC Bill seeks the automatic inclusion of all Filipinos into the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), and aims to ensure that every Filipino family gets appropriate, affordable, and quality health services and will be protected from financial burden due to sickness.

It also seeks to institutionalize primary care as a prerequisite to access higher levels of health care, and supplement human resource gaps of local government units.

In preparation for the priority measure, the Department of Health, PhilHealth, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development initiated the creation of “one-stop shops” or “Malasakit Centers” in some PhilHealth-accredited hospitals.

These Malasakit Centers are the government’s way of institutionalizing the No Balance Billing Policy for indigents. –PNA

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