A HOUSE committee approved on Wednesday a bill granting the president the power to suspend and adjust the scheduled contribution rate hikes of the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).  

It is imperative that our social safety nets, like PhilHealth, do not strain its beneficiaries into paying more than they can already afford,TINGOG Party-list Rep. Jude A. Acidre, one of the authors of House Bill No. 6772, told the House committee on health.  

Under the proposed measure, the countrys president may suspend and adjust the period of implementation of scheduled premium rate increases, as recommended by the PhilHealth board, during national emergencies, calamities, or other public concerns.   

PhilHealth officials said at the hearing that the proposed law must include provisions that will ensure government subsidy to cover the impact of rate hike suspensions.   

PhilHealth is a social health insurance program that also depends on the premium contributions of its members to sustain its programs, PhilHealth Senior Manager Rex Paul T. Recoter said.   

He also suggested that the mandated increase shall be implemented upon the lifting of the national emergency or public health emergency or national calamity.Beatriz Marie D. Cruz