– Senator Panfilo Lacson.
The approval and signing of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act into law was a milestone in Philippine history. This accomplishment will have an unprecedented benefit to all Filipinos. The passing of the bill would not have been possible if it were not for the consistent support from legislators and different stakeholders from civil society organizations, local government units, other national government agencies, and international partners in pushing for the UHC Act.
In the midst of all this, Sen. JV Ejercito, as the chairperson of the Senate health committee, is instrumental in leading the charge for the UHC becoming a reality. As panel chair, he was tasked to sponsor and defend the bill in plenary.
As one of his main advocacies, UHC is both a vision and a commitment to the health of all Filipinos by providing the full range of high-quality health care services – from preventive to promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative – at an affordable cost. The signing of the UHC Act is a remarkable achievement as it marks the beginning of a new chapter in the reform of the Philippine health system. These include operationalizing primary health care and mainstreaming health promotion to protect people from disease, empowering individuals and communities to maintain good health, and supporting effective management of illness and disability. It will shift the health system’s current treatment-oriented approach towards a more balanced approach emphasizing prevention and health promotion.
Among the significant reforms that will be implemented over time include: automatic enrollment of all Filipinos to PhilHealth; designating PhilHealth as the national purchaser for health goods and services for individuals, such as medicines; improvement of health facilities especially in underserved areas; responding to the gap in health workers throughout the country; strategic engagement of the private sector; and creating and expanding new functions in DOH to improve the delivery of health services.
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