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THE call to serve the rural indigents echoed since the early '60s when the Philippine Medical Association introduced the MARIA Project which prioritized aid to communities in need of medical assistance. The Project would then be considered a valuable precursor to the Medicare program, from which a medical care plan for the entire Philippines was created. On August 4, 1969, Republic Act 6111 or the Philippine Medical Care Act of 1969 was signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos which was eventually implemented in August 1971.
The Philippine Medical Care Commission (PMCC) was tasked to oversee the implementation of the program which went for almost a quarter of a century.
In the 1990s, a vision for a better, more responsive government health care program was prompted by the passage of several bills that had significant implications on health financing. The public's clamor for a health insurance that is more comprehensive in terms of covered population and benefits led to the development of House Bill 14225 and Senate Bill 01738 which became The National Health Insurance Act of 1995 or Republic Act 7875, signed by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 14, 1995. The law paved the way for the creation of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), mandated to provide social health insurance coverage to all Filipinos in 15 years' time.
PhilHealth assumed the responsibility of administering the former Medicare program for government and private sector employees from the Government Service Insurance System in October 1997, from the Social Security System in April 1998, and from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in March 2005.
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