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Go asks DBM, DOH to address UHC issues

September 19, 2019 - Thursday 3:09 PM by MDM

Article Banner Image Senator Christopher Lawrence Go gestures during the Senate public hearing on the budget of the Department of Health.

The Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed P160.15 billion budget for 2020 was approved on the committee level during a Senate public hearing presided over by Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, chair of the Subcommittee F of the Senate Committee on Finance.

During the hearing, Go expressed his full support for the health department but raised concerns regarding the budget allocated for the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, saying that it might not be enough to cover all expenditures under said law. 

“You have a proposed 2020 budget of P67.35 billion in the (National Expenditure Program),” Go asked the representatives of the health department present. “Is this enough for the implementation of the Universal Health Care next year?”

The health officials responded by saying that with the 67 billion, “the department will not be able to execute the full intent of the UHC as the budget approved is lower than what is proposed.”

The DOH appealed for help from the senators to increase the budget for the program. Go concurred, saying he will ask the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to sit down with the DOH and PhilHealth.

Meanwhile, expressing his concern on the need to allocate enough budget based on bed capacities of public hospitals around the country, Go cited the proposed budget for the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City as an example of a public hospital with high bed capacity given a minimal increase in its budget.

“VSMMC has the largest bed capacity among DOH hospitals in Region VII with 1,200 beds but was only allocated an increase of 3.85 percent in the 2020 budget while other hospitals with lower bed capacities were allocated with high increases in their budget,” Go said.
“What formula guided the DOH in arriving at the proposed 2020 budget for the operation of VSMMC and other DOH hospitals?” he said.

According to DOH, the budget is determined based on the income level of the hospitals.