Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said Filipinos, regardless of social status, should avail themselves of annual medical checks to catch early critical ailments.
“The right to health is a fundamental right and as such no Filipino should be deprived of basic health services. Every Filipino, rich or poor, should have access to these annual check-ups and consultations with physicians,” he said.
As one of the authors of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, Angara noted that many Filipinos still do not seek medical care in their lifetime or only do so when their conditions are already at a serious or critical stage.
In most cases, he noted the inability to pay for these vital preventive care services is the primary reason many Filipinos opt for self-care or take alternative remedies, including traditional healing.
“Undergoing annual medical check-ups are considered as essential especially at this time when we are facing a pandemic that has already resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 individuals and the infection of close to 1.4 million in our country,” said Angara.
As part of his advocacy of providing quality health care to all, Angara has filed Senate Bill 2297, which seeks to provide every Filipino citizen free annual medical check-ups as part of the benefits provided by the PhilHealth under the UHC.
Through this bill, which is the counterpart version of House Bill 4093 filed by ANAKalusugan party list Rep. Michael Defensor, all Filipinos, as automatic members of the National Health Insurance Program, would be able to see how their blood sugar and cholesterol levels among others are and immediately take steps to address any negative findings.
The laboratory and diagnostic examinations will be administered by PhilHealth-accredited health care institutions free of charge.
Upon approval of the PhilHealth Board, these laboratory and diagnostic exams may be expanded subject to the availability of funds by the State health insurance agency and the current and emerging health necessities of Filipinos.
By providing these services to the people, Angara argued that government could even end up saving money as more serious ailments would be prevented when the symptoms are caught early on.
“This is a win-win for both the government and the Filipino people. We help Filipinos in addressing their most immediate health concerns and promote a healthy lifestyle while also easing the growing cost of healthcare in the country,” Angara said.