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DOH: Proposed PhilHealth transfer to the Office of the President being evaluated

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) proposed transferring its administrative supervision from the Department of Health (DOH) to the Office of the President, DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire announced on Tuesday.

At a press conference, Vergeire said a department personnel order was issued, creating a joint technical working group composed of officials from the DOH and PhilHealth to evaluate the proposal.

“Hindi naman ito nangyari kaagad na tayo ay nagkaron na ng pagkakasunduan. Kaya natin binuo itong technical working group na ito upang pag-aralan nating maigi itong proposal ng PhilHealth para masailalaim na sila sa Office of the President,” she said.

(We didn’t have an immediate agreement. This was why we formed this technical working group, to thoroughly study this proposal to transfer PhilHealth to the Office of the President.)

Vergeire said that the state health insurer had some justification for the move but stressed that “it would be more appropriate for them to answer.”

PhilHealth is a government corporation currently attached to the DOH for policy coordination and guidance.

The Health official said that the proposal had to be studied thoroughly, with lawmakers taking part, to determine if the transfer of PhilHealth to the OP would be appropriate.

“Nothing is final yet, proposal pa lang po ito. Nagbuo ng grupo para mas mapag-aralan nating maigi para mas makita natin ang benepisyo nito para sa sambayanang Pilipino,” Vergeire added.

(Nothing is final yet, this is just a proposal. A group was formed so that we can study this more thoroughly, and so we can better see its benefits for the Filipino people.)

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday was concerned over the development, questioning the OP’s “sudden interest” in exercising authority over PhilHealth, and why the DOH even was even considering the proposal.

“Hindi maaring abandonahin ng DOH-PhilHealth ang kanyang responsibilidad sa usapin ng national health insurance program na susi sa pag-abot ng UHC (Universal Health Care),” the lawmaker said.

(The DOH-PhilHealth cannot abandon its responsibility on the national health insurance program, which was key to achieving UHC.) — DVM, GMA Integrated News