The issue regarding the signing of Republic Act 9439 into law is not so much on the greed for profit, nor people trying to escape from their responsibility to pay, but the issue is more anchored to the fact that it is the consequence of government’s failure to deliver basic social services to the people, low wages, lack of opportunities to earn a living, and government’s prioritization of debt servicing and military spending.
BY CHARLES RAIÑER C. MARQUEZ
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 16, May 27-June 2, 2007
Lately, several private hospitals nationwide expressed disgust on the passing of Republic Act 9439 into law, which most of the administrators claimed that it would definitely bring private hospitals into bankruptcy.
The law provides that it is unlawful to detain patients “who have fully or partially recovered or have been adequately attended to or who may have died, for reasons of non-payment in part or in full of hospital bills or medical expenses.”
In addition, the law exerts that patients “shall be allowed to leave the hospital or medical clinic with a right to demand the issuance of the corresponding medical certificate and other pertinent papers required for the release of the patients from the hospital or medical clinic upon the execution of a promissory note covering the unpaid obligation.”
Superficially, the government may be applauded by this move since the law has the façade of being a pro-people law. On the other hand, the private hospitals’ reaction to the passage of the law exposes their profit-oriented nature (although most of them are registered as non-stock and non-profit corporations) and treat health care as a commodity. Although the latter is true, the former serves only as a sugarcoated excuse for the government to exempt itself from its real responsibility to the Filipino people’s health.
For one, the people turn to the private hospitals for their health care needs since there is a big discrepancy between the availability of private hospitals and government hospitals. Adding up is that government hospitals are inadequate of the necessary equipments, apparatuses and even health care personnel. Only to find out that these people have just thrown themselves to the pit of being cash-strapped and the inability to pay the much more expensive bills.
All those scenarios mentioned above could’ve been prevented from making into existence if, and only if, the government has been serious in prioritizing health care services by allocating greater chunk of the budget to it.
This issue should be placed into a proper perspective. This issue is not so much on the greed for profit, nor people trying to escape from their responsibility to pay, but the issue is more anchored to the fact that it is the consequence of government’s failure to deliver basic social services to the people, low wages, lack of opportunities to earn a living, and government’s prioritization of debt servicing and military spending.
It is but logical that if the government provided the optimum resources for health care, government hospitals will be equipped with enough resources to provide for the services needed by the people. It is also logical that if the Filipino people have enough wages and better opportunities to earn their living, vis-à-vis with prioritization of optimal budgetary allocation to health care, then it will be the least of their worries that they will be unable to pay the health care services rendered to them. Much better yet, if the government is just keen on truly making health care as a right for every Filipino and not as a commodity, then virtually everyone may have an access to the much needed health care without worrying about whether they can pay or not.
The government is at its best in doing – providing the wrong solution to superficially conceal the nation’s grave health crisis. None in the law, which supposedly the solution, provides the truthful solution to the health care crisis in the country.
The government’s wrong medication, will just only progress to a more deleterious state of the already current health care crisis. (Bulatlat.com)