Grupo Progreso spox: Bacchip card a mere propaganda tool

May 5, 2022 by No Comments

IT APPEARS that the Bacolod City Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (Bacchip) card “being given out” by former congressman Alfredo Benitez to the different barangays is nothing but a propaganda tool to generate voters’ support, Grupo Progreso (GP) spokesperson Dr. Chris Sorongon said Thursday, May 5, 2022.Sorongon said Bacchip cards being distributed with Benitez’s camp promising that it can be used if residents need medical and hospitalization services appear to be just a propaganda tool.Private hospitals, he said, will not honor the card because it is not funded as what barangay indigents, who received the first batch of the Bacchip cards, found out.”We inquired from private hospitals if our patients can be accommodated for confinement using the Bacchip but we got a negative reply,” disappointed residents from Barangay Singcang-Airport, who requested anonymity, confided.The GP spokesperson said, “Benitez earlier claimed that he will issue the Bacchip and promised to negotiate with private hospitals that Bacolodnons be attended to using the card issued by his office.””It (card) turns out to be empty and of no use at all,” the group quoted some residents.Bacchip is believed to be patterned after the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program (NOCHP).The GP pointed out that a check with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) sources indicated that the NOCHP is a flagship health advocacy program of the Provincial Government started during the time of the late Governor Alfredo MaraƱon Jr. in 2010.Sorongon said it is mainly bankrolled by the Capitol with the support of the different congressional districts and local government units (LGUs) that sponsor the PhilHealth enrollment of the beneficiaries.Under the NOCHP mechanics, recipients are issued cards only after they have enrolled with the PhilHealth, he said, adding that the NOCHP card entitles them to free services in any of the 13 Capitol-owned hospitals.PhilHealth sources, Sorongon said, explained that if recipients are retirees, pensioners, kasambahays, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, indigents or students without capacity to pay their PhilHealth dues are automatically qualified as members provided that they fill out the enrolment forms.According to PhilHealth sources, this is the spirit of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law, Sorongon said.If NOCHP applicants do not fall in any of these categories, that is when they secure the sponsorship either of the provincial government, the congressional districts or the LGUs for their PhilHealth enrolment, he said.This guarantees them no balance billing during discharge, meaning patients or their families no longer have out of pocket expenses after hospitalization, the spokesperson stressed.”Those who are not registered with PhilHealth can also heave a sigh of relief. Thanks to the Malasakit Centers which partner with the government health insurance agency,” he said, adding that “with other hospital expenses being deducted by the Malasakit Centers, after certification from the SWUA, the total cost is further reduced.”Moreover, the local coalition said that as per PhilHealth sources, they cannot comment about the Bacchip, saying that “it’s the first time we heard about it so we don’t know how it works.””We are only aware of the NOCHP because it’s been there for some time,” they added.The camp of Benitez, who is running against incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia and GP head, denied allegations that they are distributing Bacchip or any health cards to the residents of the city.”There’s no such thing as a Bacchip card being distributed right now as we are not yet in the position,” the camp said, stressing that Benitez, nor any of the Team Asenso members, is distributing these health cards.Access to better health services for the Bacolodnons is just part of the team’s platform, the camp also said.In a previous interview, Benitez is planning to bring NOCHP to the province’s capital city.NOCHP has been a success in the province, Benitez said, stressing that health is important and that every local government unit should have access to the program.Since it is already mandated under the law, they will collaborate with the private hospitals in Bacolod City to allocate 10 percent of their respective bed capacities for the zero-balance program for poor patients in the highly urbanized city of Bacolod, he said.The initiative will be called the Bacolod Health Program, he said, emphasizing that health programs of the city and provincial governments should be collaborative. (With PR)