Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drilon bill to commercialize public health services

MANILA, March 29, 2012—A more commercialized health care is what Senator Franklin M. Drilon wants to happen in filing a bill which aims to classify government health institutions as government-owned and controlled corporations.
While it is bad for the poor people’s pockets, it is too bad, literally, for their health as it will allow giant fastfood chains, mostly serving greasy and rich-in-fat-and-sugar foods, to open their stores inside the hospital premises.
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) assailed this move of the lawmaker from Iloilo, saying that it would make the health services in the country pricey, disallowing poor people—like ordinary fisherfolks—to access.
The Drilon bill, also known as the “National Government Hospital Corporate Restructuring Act of 2012”, will liberally allow the government-run hospitals to engage in business and generate more income for the facility, that will eventually improve its facilities and the services it renders to the people. However, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap, expressed disbelief in this motive.
“Senator Drilon is fooling the people. His bill is all about privatization of public hospitals and public health so the national government will stop extending budget to public hospitals and let hospital administrators look for money outside government sources. If this highly condemnable bill is passed, Malacañang and Congress will further cut the budget for people’s health which is a complete state abandonment of public health,” Hicap said.
Hicap, also an Anakpawis Partylist Council member said, Drilon should think of better ways of improving the healthcare services in the country, and not to make government hospitals and clinics “at the mercy of conglomerates or corporations”.
Meanwhile, Eleanor A. Jara, M.D., executive of non-government health organization, Council for Health and Development (CHD), Inc. said, it seems that the Benigno C. Aquino III government is “doing the old ways” in terms of corporatization of the health services in the country.
“Instead of public service, the government's priorities are directed towards the interest of foreign investors as manifested by budget cuts on public services and the government's sheer effort to accentuate privatization. Privatization is encouraged by the Aquino government, through the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) program. This is said to decrease the government's budget spending while increasing the income with the help of the investments from private corporations,” the lady doctor said.
In the 2011 National Budget, observes Jara, the government had allocated a measly P3.2 billion for facility enhancement of hospitals under the Department of Health (DOH), while P6.1 billion for medical tourism project of the government.
“In privatization, budget cuts on government owned hospitals will be implemented. This, along with shares and investments of private corporations that desire profit will result to the need of hospitals to obtain more income. In return, health care services become more expensive. The ones who will benefit the most would be the foreign and domestic investors and corporations. The health services for the masses which should be free in public health facilities would be compromised. Even if the government is successful in raising its funds with PPP, it will be at the expense of the poor,” she said. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]


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