Increased Funding for Cancer Aid and Expansion of PhilHealth Benefits

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MAKATI City 2nd District Rep. Luis Campos Jr. announced on Sunday that the Philippine Congress has allocated P1.25 billion for the Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF) under the 2024 national budget. This significant increase in funding demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting cancer patients and improving access to essential healthcare services.

According to Campos, the P1.25 billion allocation for the CAF is 150 percent higher than the previous year’s budget of P500 million. As one of the vice chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, Campos emphasized that the CAF aims to directly benefit cancer patients, individuals living with cancer, cancer survivors, and those at high risk of developing the disease.

The CAF funding will cover various aspects of cancer care, including the cost of cancer screening, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and related components. This includes the necessary diagnostics and laboratories for eight priority cancer types identified by the Department of Health (DoH). These priority cancer types encompass breast cancer, childhood cancers, gynecologic cancers, liver cancer (including colorectal and other digestive tract cancers), head and neck cancers (including thyroid), lung cancer, and prostate, renal, and urinary bladder cancer.

To access the CAF, individuals can avail themselves of the services provided by DoH-run hospitals. This ensures that cancer patients across the country have equal opportunities to receive the necessary support and treatment.

It is important to note that the P1.25 billion allocated for the CAF is in addition to the P1 billion earmarked for the National Integrated Cancer Control Program in 2024. This comprehensive approach highlights the government’s commitment to tackling cancer from various angles, including prevention, early detection, treatment, and support for cancer patients.

In related news, Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez expressed his desire for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to shoulder a greater portion of the cost of private hospitalization. Romualdez acknowledged the concerns raised by constituents regarding the amount covered by PhilHealth for billing and doctors’ fees.

To address this issue, Romualdez intends to meet with officials from PhilHealth and the Department of Health to explore ways to expand benefits for PhilHealth members. He aims to find a solution that does not require legislation, as the legislative process can be time-consuming. Romualdez emphasized the importance of taking action to address the concerns of constituents, stating, “Definitely, we hear our constituents. Therefore, we have to do something about it.”

With increased funding for the Cancer Assistance Fund and discussions on expanding PhilHealth benefits, the government is actively working towards improving access to healthcare services for Filipinos, particularly those affected by cancer. These initiatives demonstrate a commitment to addressing the needs of the population and ensuring that individuals receive the support they require during challenging times.

As February is National Cancer Awareness Month, these developments serve as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to raise awareness, promote early detection, and provide comprehensive care for cancer patients in the Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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