Health Reform in the Pacific: Comparing Approaches to Universal Coverage in the Philippines and the State of Hawaii

Thursday, October 21, 2010
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room
  • Dr. Gerard Russo

The Republic of the Philippines began on the path to universal coverage with the passage of the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 (Republic Act 7875) which established the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) . Building on the Philippine Medicare program which began in 1971, PhilHealth has expanded coverage to more than 80% of the population with basic benefits, but accounts for only 10% of total health financing—wide population coverage with thin public benefits. An extensive system of private insurance provides additional benefits for high-income Filipino households. While the Philippines is pursuing a public insurance approach with private add-ons, Hawaii has mandated private employment-based coverage through the Pre-paid Health Care Act of 1974 and operates under a Congressionally granted ERISA exemption as well as an exemption from the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Combining the employer mandate with generous Medicaid and SCHIP programs, Hawaii has achieved a coverage rate exceeding 90% of the resident population with extensive benefit packages. The presenter will provide an overview of the two systems and present original research on the labor market effects and public insurance effects of the Hawaii system.