Press Release
November 11, 2019

Explanation of Vote

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto
11 November 2019

Mr. President:

For most of our countrymen, hospitalization is a luxury they cannot afford. The body may be willing, but the pocket is not.

The result is that six in ten deaths in this country are unattended by a doctor.

This should not surprise us at all, because almost all families are one grave sickness away from bankruptcy. Financial ruin is a side effect of sickness.

The reality is that while only one member of the family is in the sick bed, the entire family's finances end up in the ICU.

Even those with insurance - public and private - soon realize that it will cover only a small portion of hospital bills.

Often, the balance to be paid is still high--so high, that it has been proposed to put a recovery room beside the billing section of hospital. Or a crash cart near the cashier.

But better still, a Malasakit Center in, at the least, DOH-run public hospitals. The latter must not only be centers of wellness, but of compassion as well.

The creation of such is one step in helping our people raise the financial resources for the medical care of their loved ones.

These are access points to financial help, in a one-stop-shop setup, in hospitals themselves.

As our National Health Accounts would show, funds which can be tapped by these centers would not totally displace the need for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Truth be told, they represent a mere fraction, but these gateways to assistance tell the people that government is here to help.

In 2018, total national health spending was P799 billion. Of this, almost P450 billion was out-of-pocket expenditures of individuals.

In all, government, including PhilHealth, accounted for P221.7 billion.

This means that for every health peso spent, 59 centavos came from private pockets, and 32 centavos came from the various instrumentalities of the government.

Not captured by the National Health Accounts are contributions to the Malasakit Centers by PAGCOR and PCSO.

Just the same, the Malasakit concept is commendable for bringing this help to the people, instead of the people chasing after them. Ito po ay parang Waze na magtuturo kung paano makakamit ang tulong, ang diperensiya nga lang ay hindi ka na pupunta pa sa kung saan-saan kasi embedded na sa ospital.

This is an ease-in-securing-aid program that spares the caregivers of the agony of scouting for help, which today assumes the proportion of an urban expedition lasting many days in many government offices.

I vote yes.

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