Senate bill seeks free medical, dental services for poor children

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

A SENATOR has filed a bill that will require public and private health institutions nationwide to provide free medical treatment and dental healthcare to poor children.  

Senate Bill 1107 or the Indigent Children Free Medical and Dental Service Act would cover those aged 18 years and below who have no means of support or whose parents or guardians have no means of providing for their immediate medical and dental needs.  

If passed, the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be mandated to determine if a child is indigent, while the Department of Health will be in charge of the law’s implementation.  

Senator Jose “Jinggoy” E. Estrada, the bill’s author, said despite the passage of Republic Act 10932 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, some hospitals continue to demand advance payment before administering basic emergency care. 

“We should put an end to such practice by providing a law that would require both private and public hospitals and clinics to render free medical and dental services to indigent children and penalize those who will violate such a requirement,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“Only through a concrete legislative measure can we fully realize the principles and policies sought to be affected by the various laws protecting the rights of the child,” he added.

Under RA 10932, “in emergency or serious cases, it shall be unlawful for any hospital or medical clinic to request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as prerequisite for administering basic emergency care, for confinement or medical treatment, or to refuse to administer medical treatment and support to any patient.” — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan