This morning on K57, former senator Eddie Calvo continues to demonstrate his not-ready-for-primetime understanding of the evolution of healthcare reform in our nation’s capital. Worse still, the Adelup occupant continues to pass along under-informed opinions espoused by others who have done little work to really understand or review empirical data on the matter.
(Check out the audio link above.)
Calvo seems to be under the impression that somehow US lawmakers simply “forgot” about the US territories when crafting the Affordable Care Act. The territories were not forgotten. They were intentionally left out because of cost and no one really was fighting for equality for Guam and US territories - except Puerto Rican politicians who stand to lose as much as $1 billion in Medicare/Medicaid benefits over the course of the reform implementation.
Calvo’s ignorance on the matter is not surprising and par for the course. Even more inculpatory is the lack of attention and due diligence by congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, who as congressional delegate has the responsibility to be on top of this hot button issue.
Rather than join together with the Caribbean and CNMI territories when this reform package was being drafted and lobbying for Guam, Bordallo failed to do anything - not even reaching out to local officials so they could get involved early. Although, I am sure if challenged, she will find an excuse (oops), I mean a press release or something that she will count as evidence of work.
Additionally, consider the number of trips to Washington made over the past 3 years by our senators and the governor…do you think any of them even bothered to discuss healthcare reform with US congressional leaders?
Now Guam leaders find themselves in a scramble to figure out a (half-ass) response to a situation that has already passed them by, leaving them to play catch up.
Guam, CNMI and the Virgin Islands, like Puerto Rico will not receive the same healthcare reform benefits as Americans living in the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii.
Since 2009, Puerto Rican politicians, unlike our politicians, have made a considerable amount of noise about the lack of parity in applying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to the territories.
Do any of you astute readers recall at any time since 2009 any efforts by local leaders, including Calvo and Bordallo, to fight against the exclusion of the territories in the most important aspects of this federal healthcare reform package?
And don’t let the people who have done nothing and still do little to understand this complex topic scare you: Guam, like the other territories is not mandated to have an insurance exchange.
The Affordable Care Act does not guarantee that residents of US territories will be able to participate in the healthcare exchange, which is supposed to lower costs by giving participants a choice of many competing plans.
Considering that Guam, like Puerto Rico and the other territories, are not on par or treated equally with the rest of the nation, it very likely that our uninsured will not face a penalty.
If our leaders were smart however - and they don’t seem to be - they would work with CNMI to create a larger regional exchange or even join with Hawai’i in their exchange.
But with a handful of local families and insurance companies here standing to lose millions in gouged…er, I mean profits, from a “trapped” market, any reforms that increase competition will be fought tooth and nail.
Evidence? Even though former senator Calvo doesn’t understand what is going on, he is has not trouble rushing to threaten a “legal confrontation” with the US government for an unfunded mandate.
Funny thing…Guam did not bother in filing a “friend of the court” brief to defend its partition of the law, arguing that the entire law could stand regardless of the mandate. This or the previous Republican adminsitration did not have to embrace a program its national party objects to, but it could have made an argument to avoid striking the entire law down over one (albeit important) provision.
This is an issue that could easily be fixed if Congress treated Guam in the same way it treats the other 50 states when it comes to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements, if we had a congressional delegate that actually did more than talk about talking.
Where is the Guam version of the Puerto Rico Medicare Reimbursement Equality Act of 2012? Just what have congresswoman Bordallo or any of the past two caretaker governors (Camacho and his clone, Calvo) done to actually address this critical issue? Nothing. Their attitudes seem to say, “Why act when you we can wait to react?!”