Binay vows to beef up public health spending

Binay vows to beef up public health spending

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar C. Binay will raise public health spending to at least 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).

“This will allow government to provide free medical treatment for serious illnesses that require prolonged hospitalization and often expensive treatments. It also replicates Makati’s globally-recognized Yellow Card health program that has significantly reduced out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare,” Joey Salgado, campaign communications director, said.

These serious illnesses include leukemia, early stage breast cancer, prostate cancer, kidney transplant, heart disease and cervical cancer.

Data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showed that that Filipino households still carry most of the spending burden for health care, despite total spending for health care increasing by 11.7 percent year on year to PHP526.3 billion in 2013.

Private out-of-pocket spending accounted for 56.3 percent of the total or some PHP296.5 billion. Meanwhile, each Filipino spent PHP5,360 for health-related expenses in 2013 — a 9.8-percent increase from PHP4,881 per capita expenditure recorded in 2012.

“Vice President Binay’s health agenda is anchored on the advocacy which states that nobody should die of untreated sickness due to poverty,” said Salgado.

To minimize health-related expenses shouldered by the people, a Binay administration will implement nationwide program patterned after Makati City’s Yellow Card initiative.

The Yellow Card program provides free maternal, child and elderly care; free outpatient consultations and medicines, and government-subsidized hospitalization, on top of PhilHealth benefits.

Salgado said a Binay administration will expand the coverage and benefits under Philhealth.

“PhilHealth will be expanded in order to achieve the true concept of a universal health care coverage. The outpatient services and free medicines that it provides will also be prioritized in order to help minimize health expenses of our fellowmen,” he said. (PNA)

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