Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, commended the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for the swift response in lowering the COVID-19 testing cost.  Earlier, Go was calling upon the state health insurer to revisit its COVID-19 test case rate after being reportedly overpriced.

“I am commending PhilHealth for their immediate response in cutting the cost of COVID-19 test as it provides us a wider coverage for all Filipinos who need to undergo testing in this time of health crisis while maximizing limited government resources,” Go said.

In response to various calls to revisit COVID-19 testing package , PhilHealth announced on Wednesday, June 3, that they have lowered its testing payment scheme COVID-19 testing from P8,150 to P3,409.

“Sa pagbaba ng cost ng COVID-19 test, mas makakatipid ang gobyerno at mas mabibigyan tuon pa natin ang mga health services na kailangan din nating i-address o dagdagan bukod sa COVID-19 testing lamang,” Go said.

According to PhilHealth, the adjustment was because of the “increased availability and affordability of testing kits in the market.” The public health insurance company also emphasized that the increased number of qualified facilities to do the COVID-19 testing also played an important role in lowering the cost.

Under the new payment scheme, PhilHealth will pay P3,409 as long as test kits and services are provided by the testing laboratory.  If test kits are donated, PhilHealth will pay the P2,077, while in public hospitals, PhilHealth will pay P901 only.

Go highlighted that there is a constant need to reevaluate prices especially on medical supplies, equipment and services given increasing demand for more public healthcare services.

“Ang kailangang gawin ng gobyerno ay palaging i-check kung affordable ba ang mga health services, equipment at kahit ang mga gamot para matulungan natin ang bawat Pilipino sa kanilang mga suliraning pangkalusugan,” Go said.

“Karapatan ng bawat Pilipino ang maayos na kalusugan at equal access o health care services. Ang trabaho naming ay para i-safeguard ang interes ng mga Pilipino lalong lalo na sa usaping pangkalusugan,” he added.

In a previous statement, Go has expressed that he expects PhilHealth will continue to review case rates. He added that he and the committee will make sure that PhilHealth rates are in order “to get the best value of every single peso the government spends for this.”

He also emphasized that as more Filipinos are adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, such as losing their jobs and livelihood, the government is working tirelessly to optimize limited resources to help Filipinos and avoid corruption in the process.

“While government maximizes its limited resources, a lot of our fellow Filipinos have also lost jobs, livelihood and savings. We are fighting for survival — as survival is the name of the game here,” Go said.

As a member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Go has constantly reiterated that the funds to address the COVID-19 pandemic and cater the needs of Filipinos must be accounted for up the last centavo.

“Particularly in times of crisis, every peso counts,” Go said.

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