Philippines budgets US$1bn for universal healthcare

December 23 2016 by InsuranceAsia News Staff

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte signed on Thursday a P3.35 trillion (US$67 billion) 2017 budget, which includes an allocation of P53.22 billion to fund universal healthcare for Filipinos.

The fund will be channelled through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the national health insurance agency.

PhilHealth was created in 1995 to create universal health coverage for the Philippines. However, some 8 million Filipinos are still not covered by PhilHealth, prompting Congress to raise the budget for PhilHealth.

Senator Loren Legarda, principal author of the Amended National Health Insurance Act, earlier said the 2017 budget will place all Filipinos, regardless of social status, under the coverage of PhilHealth.

On Thursday, Duterte signed into law Republic Act 10924 or the 2017 General Appropriations Act, the first budget enacted under his administration.

The 2017 budget is 11.6% higher than the 2016 budget and the highest proposed by any Philippine administration so far.