THE Department of Health (DOH) reiterated last Tuesday that both legal and technical aspects will be considered in crafting the final report and recommendations of the Technical Working Group (TWG) threshing out a proposal to transfer the administrative supervision of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) from the Department of Health (DOH) to the Office of the President (OP).
The TWG, the DOH said, has had one initial meeting to discuss the preliminary thoughts of both DOH and PhilHealth on the matter.
Discussions centered largely on the legality of the proposed transfer, given that PhilHealth has a standing charter under RA 10606.
According to the DOH, the legal question being addressed is mainly on the plausibility of such transfer, and what legal entanglements may need to be looked into.
As a way forward, the DOH said, relevant agencies have been asked to provide their legal opinion on the matter – Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), and the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG).
“Both agencies are on standby for the opinion of these agencies for discussion in the next TWG,” the DOH said, referring to itself and the OP.
Aside from the legal aspect, the “technical and strategic merits” of the transfer shall also be tackled.
“This is to balance the legal aspects with how the matter might affect the sector’s movement forward, especially given the Universal Health Care Act,” the DOH explained.
To this, the DOH added, partner expert and academic groups will also be engaged to solicit insights.
These include international health partners, as well as other academic institutions such as the Ateneo School of Government and the University of the Philippines -National Institutes of Health Policy.
Earlier, Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the TWG was created to study thoroughly the proposal.
“Nothing is final yet. This is just a proposal,” said Vergeire, who is also the ex-officio chairperson of the PhilHealth board.