Well, as they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Filipinos learned this the hard and bitter way.
After learning a still partial, incomplete story about how the B.S. Aquino administration created and disbursed a new, controversial form of pork barrel called Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Filipino netizens and taxpayers were shocked and angry to learn that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the country’s corporatist healthcare system, will impose a new premium rate next year.
Under the new rate, PhilHealth’s individually paying members (IPM) earning a monthly income of P25,000 below will have to pay P2,400.
Here’s a report from ABS-CBN News:
Starting Jan. 1 next year, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will implement the new premium rate of P2,400 for individually paying members (IPMs) with a monthly income of P25,000 and below.
IPMs pertain to self-employed and voluntary members, including those under the Kalusugang Sigurado at Abot-Kaya sa PhilHealth Insurance program and the group enrollment scheme.
IPMs can choose from three payment schemes: P600 per quarter, P1,200 semi-annually or P2,400 per annum.
PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Alexander Padilla said that IPMs with an income of more than P25,000 shall continue to pay P3,600 in annual premium.
“Individually paying members and their dependents shall be entitled to in-patient hospital care including all case rate packages and catastrophic illnesses in the Case Type Z Benefit Package, out-patient coverage and other special benefit packages under the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP),” he added.
Last year, PhilHealth planned but deferred to raise the P1,200 contribution to P2,400 to increase the “financial risk protection” of its members and their dependents. Premium increase for Employees and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) was deferred after PhilHealth received complaints from members on the scheduled increase on the first day of 2013.
This time the government can no longer afford to delay premium increases. PhilHealth officials claim premium increase will enhance benefits.
The report adds:
The increase is attributed to the continuing enhancement of PhilHealth benefits, which substantially cover hospital expenses of members and their dependents.
These benefits, Padilla said, also ensure “totality of care and attainment of better health outcomes, especially on its low-risk and end-stage renal package worth P600,000, P 210,000 for childhood leukemia and P100,000 each for early stage breast cancer, and low to intermediate risk prostate cancer.”
This year, PhilHealth introduced catastrophic packages for coronary artery bypass at P550,000; surgery for tetralogy of fallot for P320,000; surgery for ventricular septal defect for P250,000; cervical cancer chemo-radiation with cobalt and brachytherapy (low dose) for P120,000, and cervical cancer with linear accelerator and brachytherapy (high dose) for P175,000.
“Improved subsidies to various medical cases and expanded coverage also pushed benefit payments upward. This also means that more and more beneficiaries are availing themselves of the benefits at the time they need them most,” Padilla said.
As expected, PhilHealth’s announcement drew flak from angry, dissatisfied members.
One netizen posted the following comment on ANC 24/7‘s Facebook post: “why such an increase again? why dont they use PDAF to sustain?”
Another netizen said: “Is this government only knows to increase payment why DAP not contributes fund on services like philhealth….kapal ng mukha nyu…taung bayan lamang kaya yung linlangin.”
This uproar reminds me of how Americans angrily reacted to ObamaCare’s failed promises. Many American liberals thought ObamaCare is all about “free” healthcare. They’re all wrong, as some of them learned they’ll pay more and might lose their current health insurance with Obama’s failed healthcare project.
Here’s how upset Americans flooded ObamaCare’s official Facebook page with angry posts and comments:
Current Premium Contribution Schedule for the Employed Sector: