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The Philippines Medical Association (PMA) asked to President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the payment of PhilHealth premium contribution for doctors and nurses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Dr. Benito Atienza, PMA’s vice president, said that the PhilHealth premium contribution of healthworkers, which amounts to around P1,800 per month, is already a big amount considering that hospitals are on a scaled down operation for non-COVID-19 cases, resulting in reduced income.

“Mabigat po [ang amount] ngayong pandemic kasi wala po kaming clinic ngayon. Ang hospital operations, 20 to 30% lang po kasi natatakot ang mga tao na pumunta ng ospital as outpatients,” Atienza said.

“Ang mga nurses rin po, under quarantine. May hindi nakakapasok kasi sarado rin ang ibang ward. Eh ang ibang nurses, no work, no pay. Minsan kami lang rin bumibili ng Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Kaya sana po i-suspend for the meantime kasi wala naman kaming natatanggap na ayuda,” he added.

The Universal Healthcare law, which requires those with gainful employment to pay PhilHealth premium based on the amount of their salary, enrolls all Filipinos as members of PhilHealth, a state-run health insurance corporation.

The law also requires overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to pay PhilHealth premium contributions, but protests from OFWs have prompted Duterte to issue an order stating that such payment for OFWs should be voluntary instead of mandatory.

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