Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has allocated P200 million to fund the health insurance coverage of up to 27,000 marginalized residents this year, prioritizing the health of the city’s 1.7-million constituents.
Estrada said he wants all poor Manileños enrolled to PhilHealth, citing the high cost of hospitalization in the country, including medicines, laboratory fees, and other medical expenses.
“I believe everyone should have health insurance, more so the poor ones. This is a basic necessity, something underprivileged residents can depend on in times of need,” Estrada said.
The mayor led the ceremonial distribution of PhilHealth ID cards to the first batch of 1,278 beneficiaries at city hall on Tuesday.
Estrada has answered the challege of the national government for universal health care, especially for indigents of all ages, since assuming office in 2013.
The National Health Insurance Act states that the government should give priority to health as a strategy for achieving economic development and improving the quality of life, Estrada stressed.
Manila Department of Social Welfare chief Nanet Tanyag said an initial P72 million of the P200 million fund for 2017 has been released by Estrada for the PhilHealth premiums and other hospitalization expenses of the 1,278 indigents selected from the city’s six districts.
MDSW targets a total of 27,500 beneficiaries this year.
“Our health program covers all indigents, solo parents and anybody who needs emergency medical assistance. We will enroll them to PhilHealth. The city government will pay,” Tanyag said.
Also covered by the program are residents who have chronic diseases and need procedures such as dialysis, chemotherapy, cataract operation and other medical emergencies, the MDSW chief added.
As LGU-sponsored PhilHealth members, the beneficiaries are entitled to benefits enjoyed by regular members, Tanyag said.
A total of 10 million low-income and marginalized members nationwide are enrolled under PhilHealth’s Sponsored Program.
In 2016, Estrada’s administration allotted P142 million for the PhilHealth coverage of 60,000 indigent patients, plus P60 million more to cover other medical expenses.
In 2015, about 42,000 beneficiaries were also enrolled to PhilHealth through the P100 million funding released by the city government.
Poor Manileños are also entitled to subsidized hospitalization, medicines, and healthcare services in the city’s six newly modernized public hospitals.
Senior citizens, on the other hand, also receive free maintenance medicines through the Manila Health Department.
Also this year, the Estrada administration increased MHD’s budget by P360 million to fund the various health programs and services of the city government.