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Lotteries and public gaming, possible source of funding for the country’s health programs – Sen. Angara

 
Senator Edgardo J. Angara cites public lottery as another source to support RP's health program


“More public funds should be directed towards improving the health and well-being of Filipinos,”said Senator Edgardo J. Angara, vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography in his message during UP National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Forum held last 10 May 2012 at the College of Allied and Medical Professions, UP Manila.

Based on the 2010 World Health Organization (WHO) report, 150 million people globally experience financial catastrophes in availing health services. In the Philippines, out-of-pocket share for medical needs amounts to 54.3 percent, while government support covers only 26.2 percent and 8.5 percent on social insurance.

 

“The main problem is we have not been spending enough on public health and primary care. Almost half of total health expenditure was spent on pharmaceuticals, which are hardly ever covered by public or private health insurance,” explained Senator Angara.

The best source of funding for universal health care, according to Senator Angara is the revenues acquired from public lotteries, gaming and charity sweepstakes. He revealed that in the next ten years, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) will generate almost P150 billion in revenues. Senator Angara recommended that a portion of the revenues be allotted in public health spending.

“In other countries like America, Europe and Japan, lottery is their principal source of funding for public hospitals. What we need is to institute further a policy where the profits from lotteries and public gaming actually support our public health programs,” said Senator Angara.

He further stressed, “At present, a portion goes to government funds. But the remaining portion – where does that go? It is better if it goes to good causes like the health of our people. Better that we do it now.”