‘This is a new scam’: JV Ejercito claims some hospitals lie to get UHC law funds for COVID-19 patients

May 5, 2021 - 6:18 PM
Family member assist a suspected coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient lying on a hospital bed outside the emergency room of Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, in Marikina City, Metro Manila, Philippines, April 19, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

(UPDATED: 12:36 a.m.) Former senator JV Ejercito claimed that there’s an ongoing scam wherein some hospitals allegedly lie to acquire funds dedicated to COVID-19 patients.

Ejercito mentioned this on Wednesday in response to online user @lakwatsarah under a tweet of another Twitter user.

They argued about the supposed benefits of the Universal Health Care law, which he sponsored when he was still a senator. This was signed into law in February 2019.

The exchanged was under the tweet of online user with handle @MrMorrel who claimed that his father got out of the hospital with a huge bill. He said the hospital bill reached P850,000 and state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation charged P4,000 from it.

“Nakalabas na si Papa yesterday, inabot ng P850,000 gastos. Kaltas ng Philhealth P4,000. lmao. Universal healthcare is a joke,” the user said.

The tweet reached Ejercito who argued that COVID-19 patients are “getting considerable amount of assistance.”

In a separate reply, he floated the idea of a possible error.

“There must be an error in the computation,” he said.

Screenshot of the exchange between JV Ejercito and Twitter user lakwatsarah on May 5, 2021

Twitter user @lakwatsarah then reminded the former senator to stop invalidating the original poster’s tweet.

“Sir, maybe let’s not invalidate the struggle of people sharing their experience at a time like this. Most is still not ‘universal.’ Valid ang hinanakit niya especially now that we’ve heard PhilHealth has been mishandling funds,” she wrote.

Screenshot of the exchange between JV Ejercito and Twitter user lakwatsarah on May 5, 2021

In response to this, Ejercito alleged that some hospitals are making false COVID-19 claims just to acquire government funds.

“Madame, it’s not only Philhealth. Problema nga ngayon lahat ginagawang “COVID” kahit hindi talaga COVID case by some hospitals para they can claim. Funds should be allotted to those in need. This is a new scam,” he said.

Screenshot of the exchange between JV Ejercito and Twitter user lakwatsarah on May 5, 2021

In the thread, @lakwatsarah clapped back at Ejercito and argued that such problems in the health system do not concern the main Twitter user anymore.

“And this is the OP’s fault because” she said.

“You deleted a reply before I could respond. Ang akin lang, alam mo naman pala na may abuses in the system and yet you choose to throw shade at someone who is a victim. If anyone is ‘naninira’ ng UHC, it’s the implementors so sana sa kanila mo buhusin ang galit mo,” she added.

Screenshot of the exchange between JV Ejercito and Twitter user lakwatsarah on May 5, 2021

The Twitter user who posted the main tweet did not respond to Ejercito in the comments section.

In a separate tweet, however, Twitter user @MrMorrel explained the reason why his father’s hospital bills were not covered by PhilHealth.

“They categorized hospitals which designates COVID patients na pwede i-cover ng Philhealth based on symptoms based on final diagnosis. Level 1 hospital for mild COVID patients at pag ang final diagnoses mo ay moderate or severe, malaki chance wala ka makukuha kay Philhealth,” he said.

Problems with PhilHealth

In a separate tweet, Ejercito insisted on the importance of the proper implementation the UHC law.

“I sponsored passage of UHC law with the intention of providing genuine universal healthcare for all Filipinos without the financial burden. That is why I regret not being in the Senate in the implementation phase. Ngayon dapat bantayan ang agencies if they are doing it right,” he said.

And in another tweet, the former senator shared infographics containing the packages and benefits the PhilHealth is offering for COVID-19 patients under the UHC law.

In December 2020, some Filipinos opposed the mandatory contribution hike of PhilHealh citing corruption controversies surrounding the state insurer.

READ: Voluntary contribution sought as PhilHealth announces scheduled hike

Under the law, the adjusted rates will finance the additional benefits that the UHC law sought to provide.

Last January, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered PhilHealth chairman Dante Gierran to postpone the increase in contributions amid the public health crisis.