August 22, 2018
Hagåtña — The action to repeal a solution without providing a viable option will restrict the help available for those who rely on public health insurance.
The non-appropriation for Guam Memorial Hospital’s Medicaid local match of $12 million, the reduced local match of $1 million for the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS), plus the $15 million of Federal matching — totals a loss of $28 million in available health services for those in need.
With a lack of funding to bridge the financial gap created by the federal tax cuts, Senators had to find a creative way to “fund” our island’s healthcare system. Led by Sen. Mike San Nicolas, this approach leaves some of our people without the help they need.
During a public hearing, Sen. San Nicolas told health officials to focus on health and “leave the policy-making to the senators.”
Today, health officials noted that the loss of the GMHA Pharmaceutical Fund’s contribution will reduce the access to ACA Medicaid Federal funds as the contribution provided for the required local share. This means there will no longer be funding to supplement/offset GMHA Medicaid and MIP claims.
“Reducing the local MIP funding and federal grants local match would seriously jeopardize access to quality health care, placing them at greater risk for chronic conditions and increasing expenditure of preventable hospitalizations, emergency room and off-island services,” Public Health officials stated.
Theresa Archangel, Department of Public Health and Social Services Chief Human Services Administrator, said the delay in payments can result in medical providers’ not willing to accept program clients, an increase in the more costly emergency room utilization, and an increase in inpatient admissions. This would ultimately, increase Government of Guam’s liability due to not being able to access additional Federal funds available through ACA Medicaid.
Speaker Cruz’s unbalanced budget also leaves GMH and DOE out in the cold by failing to provide dedicated funding sources for these agencies that are critical to the island’s stability.