Pen Point 35

Issues with equity have influenced health care for many years. Equity, in the context of social health insurance such as the Philippines’ Philhealth, means access of the whole population to a package of health services by paying an affordable contribution, and sometimes no contribution at all (for senior citizens and indigents). Philhealth can improve access to health care for some groups and could potentially increase resources for health care.

The increase in demand for health care of those covered by Philhealth may require an efficient allocation of scarce resources, such as medical staff, medicines, as well as hospital beds. Philhealth’s commitment to ensure access to health care services must be coupled with the government’s commitment to an acceptable level of supply.

Does the current national social health insurance program increase or decrease the efficiency of the use of scarce resources? Is ‘access’ rather than ‘utilization’ of health services a better measure of equity in health care?

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