Democrats Propose Procurement Violation, Contradict Themselves on Insurance Contract
Democrats are now supporting a single, exclusive health insurance contract — a clear contradiction of earlier statements from them.  In a legislative session, both Senators Ben Pangelinan and Mike San Nicolas asked their colleagues to override the Governor’s veto on Bill no. 81, which would have mandated only multiple carriers for government insurance and would have taken away the very option they now purport to want.
Worse than their politically-motivated change of position, is a provision in the newest version of the budget which requires a single carrier for health insurance.
Majority Leader Rory Respicio claimed the Legislature is not mandating the Governor choose an exclusive option for insurance, but the new budget bill only appropriates enough money for the exclusive contract, effectively cutting the multiple carrier option from employees and retirees.
Contract negotiations are already underway for a multi-carrier plan. Notices of award have already been given to these three insurance companies.  Interrupting this process is more than just bad faith negotiating, but also in clear violation of procurement laws. This sets the stage for another year of protests just one month before the new fiscal year will start with a new plan year for health insurance.
Excerpts from their comments on session floor follow:
Senator Mike San Nicolas
It does not make sense to only offer one choice to our people because we want to put everybody together, and maybe keep costs down.  In the end, competition and choices is [sic] good for our people.  So what kind of benefits package do we want to offer our people’s employees?  Do we want to give them only one choice?  Or would a prudent employer who values their employees give them more choices?  We talk about our retirees, and there won’t be a single person in this room who says they don’t value their retirees.  But in the end, Madam Speaker, how much we value them is going to be reflected in this vote, because our retirees only have one provider of health insurance — and that is the health insurance the government of Guam provides.  Do we value them so much that we want to give them choices?  Truly, we value them.  Let our votes reflect that value.  This is the question before us, Madam Speaker.  This is the hard work that Speaker Ben [Pangelinan] put together in this bill.  And I’m hopeful that today is the day, and this bill is the bill, where we will all be so brave enough to say, “Politics be damned.  Let’s do what we know is right.”  Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Senator Ben Pangelinan
So it makes healthcare more accessible to the GovGuam employee and their family. That’s what Bill 81 does — not the way it is today.  Today, we have a health insurance program — one choice for the government of Guam employees, no opportunity to make any other choices.  Every single market of health insurance has an opportunity to choose — except for the government of Guam health insurance program.  That’s what it is, nothing else.  It’s as simple as that.  It guarantees freedom of choice and access to the market.  The process today doesn’t guarantee that choice, as SelectCare had the opportunity of being guaranteed into the federal employees’ market with the other offerings, as long as they were qualified — and that’s what we do here, Madam Speaker.  What is this? This is a process that will eliminate the monopoly we have, in which one single company will be the provider of health insurance services to the GovGuam employees.  So the only question then, is: whose interest are we gonna [sic] protect?  Are we gonna [sic] protect the employee interest, who now will be able to have a choice on where he can go?  I believe that’s the interest I want to protect, and I certainly hope those are the interests that every single member of this body will protect, instead of protecting one, single interest.  And that’s what it is, Madam Speaker — and that’s why I’m pleading with my colleagues: please, please support this override, and let’s guarantee that this economy and this government will have a policy for open, fair, and honest competition.  Thank you and Si Yu’os Ma’ase, Madam Speaker.

Skip to content