MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved on 3rd and final reading a bill that seeks to prohibit the privatization of public hospitals, health facilities, and health services on Tuesday, July 31.
District representatives approved House Bill (HB) No. 7437 with a vote of 218-0-0.
Under HB 7437, no public hospital, health facility, or health services will undergo privatization, which the bill defines as the process in which non-government actors become increasingly involved in the financing and provision of health care services.
The bill would also prohibit the Department of Health secretary from causing or approving the privatization of any public health facility or service. (READ: Modernization of gov’t hospital raises fears of privatization)
Under House Bill 7437, at least 90% of the total bed capacity of all public hospitals would be allotted for poor patients.
Should HB 7437 become a law, first-time violators would be fined between P100,000 to P200,000, with a one to two-year suspension from public office.
For the second offense, violators would be fined between P200,000 and P500,000, with a temporary disqualification from holding any public office between 3 to 6 years.
On the third offense, the fine for violators may reach as as high as P500,0000 to P800,000, with removal from public office and perpetual disqualification from holding any public position.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate welcomed the approval of HB 7437, which he co-authored.
“Health care must be made accessible, affordable, and appropriate to the needs of the people. Public hospitals, as part of the public health care delivery system, must be fully developed and strengthened by the government, not privatized. This bill is a major step to address the inaccessibility and inequity in health care made worse by privatization of public health services,” said Zarate.
“We hope that its Senate counterpart will also be fast-tracked so that it would be enacted into law before the year ends so that more Filipinos would have access to health care,” he added. – Rappler.com
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