Bill vs. privatization of public hospitals passes committee level

MANILA A House of Representatives' panel has approved a measure prohibiting the privatization of all public hospitals in the country.

The House committee on health, chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, approved House Bill 7437, otherwise known as the "Anti-Privatization of Public Hospitals, Health Facilities and Health Services Act."

Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, the principal author, said the bill aims to protect the right to health of the Filipino people, the poor especially, by maintaining and upholding the public character of government hospitals and by prohibiting any form of their privatization.

"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," Zarate said.

"This bill is a major step to address the inaccessibility and inequity in health care made worse by privatization of public health services," he added.

Under the bill, at least 90 percent of the total bed capacity of all public hospitals should be allotted to indigent patients.

The bill also seeks to penalize violators of the proposed act with a fine ranging from PHP100,000 to PHP800,000 and even removal from public office of responsible officials.

Zarate said the bill can be further fast tracked and pass during the third reading when Congress resumes its session in May.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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