Senators on Thursday prodded the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to cover patients staying in hospital tents, after getting reports saying that some hospitals required patients to pay P1,000 per hour.

Senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara in a joint statement said that PhilHealth has a moral obligation to provide healthcare amid the pandemic.

They also pointed out that the Universal Health Care Act or Republic Act 11223 states that every Filipino has the right to have access to emergency health services. 

Villanueva said it was “ridiculous” to let patients pay especially with an existing health care act that provides people with health care services.“So, it makes no sense to exclude them from coverage from the mere fact that the emergency room is already overcrowded,” he said in a Twitter post. 

Covid-19 cases surged in March 2021, stretching hospital capacities and forcing them to use modular tents to accommodate the influx  of patients. 

“Prove to the country and to your constituents, which are the people, that you exist for a reason and you are there to help them during these tough times. Don’t scurry away from the responsibility when it finally lands on your laps,” Poe said. H.B. Oledan