Tax reforms, public investment and government transparency are part of AER’s core program and mission. As such, AER is currently implementing a project titled Allocating and Tracking Sin Tax Revenues for Universal Health Coverage. The project seeks to study the earmarking of incremental revenues from excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol to universal health care, in particular, public spending and health service delivery under the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP or Philhealth), focusing specifically on the Sponsored Program for indigent Filipinos.

The project consists of research and advocacy activities. AER will track expenditures generated from this earmarked funds supplemented by further studies on citizens’ accounts on access to, availment of, utilization, and satisfaction from existing Philhealth programs and their preferred health services and financing schemes. Results of these studies will feed into advocacy efforts to engage both the national and local governments as well as citizens in understanding issues, implementation gaps, and recommended appropriate measures to improve health financing for the poor and, thus, contribute towards achieving universal health care.

These research and advocacy activities are part of a three year project called Building Bridges for Better Spending in Southeast Asia Project which is supported by funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).