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    Tuesday, July 16, 2019-6:02:35A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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OPINION | Life-threatening situation aggravated by incompetence

HEALTH of a citizen is fundamental. So, nothing is more egregious than to put at risk the healthcare needs of 1/3 of our vulnerable citizens.

Since the majority of our citizens in the CNMI fall below the poverty income guidelines, this means that all of these individuals are Medicaid eligible. As a matter of fact, based on recorded data from the CNMI Medicaid office, the number of Medicaid clients climbed to nearly 15,000 individuals in fiscal year 2014.

Daniel O. Quitugua

Suffice to say, these 15,000 plus individuals have no private health insurance coverage (can’t afford it) to underwrite their medical treatment costs at the hospital or private healthcare clinics here or elsewhere. This example should suffice to prove the precarious situation these members of our community face.

Having this information known by our esteemed Republican Governor and his elite members of the Legislature for more than 4 years, the real question now is, what is their end game plan when the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage FMAP on Medicaid expires this year 2019?

It is bad enough that this administration has failed miserably in its obligation to provide the needed Medicaid matching requirement (45/55 ratio and the unfunded matching obligation is about $14 million), and will now allow these members of our community to go without any kind of health coverage due mainly by the Administration’s gross negligence, is absolutely unconscionable.

These are the same group of people who were recently elected under their campaign of “super economy” led by a very conflicted Governor. A Governor who has demonstrated, with impunity, his defiance for accountability and transparency in disposing his indiscriminate expenditure of the 20 million dollars of the “Community Chest” account/funds. This huge amount of money was an agreed obligation paid by Best Sunshine International BSI as required under the Casino License Agreement when BSI was given the Exclusive Casino License in 2014. To this very day not a single bit of meaningful information regarding how he is using this money has been reported to the general public. One wonders, if he is worried about some of this money funneling into the First Lady, Diann Foundation trust account?

The likelihood is these members of our community, when needing healthcare treatment at our only public hospital, will further exacerbate the unpaid “Uncompensated Care/Indigent Care” costs account. This unpaid healthcare services account at the hospital has a staggering figure of more than 15.8 million dollars, and yet not a single member of these “elite leaders” has taken any proactive efforts to mitigate this very serious healthcare deficit.

The “Super Booming Economy” claimed to be for the taking last year and the esteemed Governor does not have the foresight or the serious leadership to account for this critical need. The Republicans pander for the votes of these citizens just to get elected, but since those people are vulnerable, they are just as easily disposable as well in the minds of the GOP. This is how their formula of reciprocity was applied and used. In other words, these vulnerable members of our community became victims of their “all or nothing” political conquest attempt.

The writer is a resident of Kanat Tabla, Saipan.