House OKs on final reading bill allowing president to suspend PhilHealth premium hike

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) —  The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on final reading the bill seeking to grant the country's president the power to suspend the scheduled rate hikes in the monthly contributions of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth)

A total of 273 congressmen voted in favor of House Bill No. 6772. Only three voted against it and no one abstained.

"Suspending the imposition of the new PhilHealth premium rates will provide a much-needed relief during national emergencies or calamities and will assure Filipinos that the government is sensitive to their sentiments in this difficult time," the bill read.

If passed into law, the measure would amend the Universal Health Care Act, wherein the PhilHealth contribution rate will further increase to 5% starting next year.

"While PhilHealth only aims to fulfill and remain faithful to its mandate imposing higher premium to Filipinos in these current conditions where most of them are grappling with the pandemic will definitely enforce a new round of financial burden to its members," the bill read. "Our countrymen have barely recovered from the losses and difficulties bought by COVID-19."

Last January, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered PhilHealth to suspend the implementation of the increase in monthly contribution from 4% to 4.5% due to the economic challenges brought by the pandemic.