In pandemic, govt tops people’s health spend


IT took a pandemic for the government’s health expenses to exceed those made by households, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Data showed that Current Health Expenditures (CHE) made by the government reached P402.24 billion in 2020, half a percent higher than the P400.1 billion spent by households on health last year.

Last year, the country’s Total Health Expenditures (THE) breached the P1-trillion mark at P1.004 trillion for the first time since the Philippine National Health Accounts (PNHA) was collected.

“Yes, by financing scheme, this is the first [time] that government and compulsory social schemes combined [recorded a] larger share than households,” Gerald Clarin, PSA Division Chief in charge of the health accounts, told this newspaper.

The PNHA showed that government schemes and compulsory contributory health-care financing schemes accounted for 45.7 percent of the country’s CHE while Household out-of-pocket payment accounted for 44.7 percent.

Data provided to BusinessMirror by PSA Assistant National Statistician Vivian R. Ilarina also showed that government health expenditures in 2020 posted double- and triple-digit growth figures last year.

Ilarina said Department of Health (DOH) spending recorded an increase of 80.3 percent, while Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) such as Kidney Center, Lung Center, Heart Center, recorded a combined growth of 120.3 percent last year.

She noted that local government spending for health also increased given the pandemic. “All Covid cases were covered by the government,” Ilarina said in the vernacular.

In terms of disease, data showed 30.9 percent of the health expenses were spent on infectious and parasitic diseases in 2020, followed by spending for non-communicable diseases which accounted for 30.5 percent of CHE.

Total expenses for infectious and parasitic diseases reached P276.66 billion in 2020 while spending for non-communicable diseases reached P273.51 billion last year.

Under the expenses for infectious and parasitic diseases, the highest was spending for respiratory diseases, which increased 6.34 percent to P84.87 billion in 2020 from P79.8 billion in 2019.

“By disease group, Covid-19 falls under respiratory infection, which grew 6.3 percent in 2020. Kindly note also that Covid-19 expenses of those in hospital are shared among the households, social and private insurance, PhilHealth, and government,” Clarin said.

Meanwhile, the country’s THE, which comprises CHE accounting for 89.2 percent and Health Capital Formation Expenditure with a 10.8-percent share, was recorded P1.003 trillion in 2020.

It grew by 10.4 percent from P909.50 billion in 2019. The share of THE to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices was 5.6 percent, up from 4.7 percent in 2019.

The country’s health spending or CHE reached P895.88 billion in 2020, 12.6 percent higher compared with P795.64 billion in 2019.

Health Capital Formation Expenditure decreased to P108.09 billion in 2020, down 5.1 percent from P113.86 billion in 2019.

Among health-care providers, the bulk of spending was spent on hospitals at 43.8 percent, followed by pharmacies at 28.2 percent, and providers of preventive care at 9 percent.

PSA said on a per capita basis, health spending was at P8,216.42 in 2020, higher by 10.7 percent compared with P7,422.69 in 2019.

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