Migrante decries Philhealth ‘ghost claims’ and Duterte’s fake ‘Universal Health Care’
The recent Philhealth scandal involving unlawful ‘ghost claims’ by WellMed points to the rotten state of a profit-oriented and privately-dominated healthcare system in the Philippines. Since Philhealth membership is mandatory for OFWs, it is just one of the many state exactions being relished by the corrupt Duterte regime. Migrante views this crime as a horrible offence against OFWs and their dependents.
At this period when many OFW families are battered by the unreasonably high cost of healthcare and all sorts of state exactions, we find it insulting that our hard-earned contributions are getting funneled into the over-bloated pockets of reprobate thieves.
Recently, the Duterte regime has been bragging about its Universal Health Care Law which automatically enrolled all Filipinos under Philhealth membership. Contrary to what the name suggests, there is really nothing universal about Duterte’s much vaunted healthcare law. In fact, we see this as just another government scam to subsidize private profit.
There is no question that the privately-dominated healthcare system in the country enables large-scale corruption. Massive theft has been going in for many years. Since 2013, over Php 154 Billion was lost due to fraud and overpayment. What’s more outrageous is that the Duterte regime is hell-bent in recovering this huge amount of losses through a hike in the contribution rate of Philhealth members.
Migrante International is one with OFWs and their families in opposing this atrocious hike. OFW pockets are being suctioned dry with various forms of state exactions while corrupt vultures feast on our hard-earned money.
Likewise, we find it troubling that the Duterte regime is exempting Philhealth board member Francisco Duque III from investigations. Duque was Philhealth president in 2004 when his involvement in the Php 500 Million malversation scandal was bared. Duterte asked all the rest of the current Philhealth board members to resign. What makes Duque so special above the rest?
Despite the Duterte regime’s excessive braggadocio, the Philippines is stricken with underfunded hospitals that are rapidly getting devoured by intensified commercialization and privatization. Our Filipino healthcare workers are forced to endure being overworked in long shifts under meager pay and poor facilities. This painful reality is driving thousands of Filipino healthcare professionals to search for better opportunities overseas.
Instead of building adequate infrastructures for public health services, the Duterte regime fastens itself to neoliberal economic policies that systematize the gobbling of public funds to fill the coffers of big private entities.
Such is the deteriorating state of the Philippine healthcare system. This most recent Philhealth scandal is just a dot in the larger scheme of corruption in this field. The profit-oriented and privately-dominated healthcare system overindulged with subsidies from the Philippine government through public contributions in Philhealth is in itself the biggest form of theft that deprives Filipinos of their right to genuine universal health service.
Through unified actions, Migrante International will continue to expose the neoliberal attacks being perpetrated by the Duterte regime against Filipinos here and abroad. OFWs and their families will not stand idly as legalized plunder occurs under Duterte’s watch.