Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 20 Dec 2017 12am







    Monday, December 18, 2017-7:31:26A.M.






Font Size


Regarding CHCC

MS Lue Marciano is right to be upset about the lack of support for the Commonwealth Healthcare Center. (Opinion, 12/4/17)

Fortunately, just when the commonwealth government cut off funding for our hospital, the Obamacare money I secured was enough to keep the doors open.

CHCC will be able to rely on that $159 million in Medicaid funding until the end of 2019. And I continue to work in Congress to extend the funding — or better to get the Marianas and all the U.S. insular areas treated the same as states under Medicaid.

Meanwhile, the assistance I gave to the people who had worked so persistently to make the Kagman Community Health Center possible, as well as the necessary funding from Obamacare, helped open Kagman’s doors. That took some of the burden off CHCC.

Follow-up funds that Congress has appropriated have enabled the Kagman Health Center to keep providing good quality, primary care to the people it serves. And expansion to Tinian and Rota is on the drawing board.

But reliance on federal dollars alone will never get us the kind of health care services that Ms. Marciano wants. The commonwealth government has to put some skin in the game.

Maybe abandoning the hospital was the only choice, when our economy was in dire straits. But today the commonwealth is flush with cash.

Who gets a cut of that new money is a political decision. And, in my view, the health of our people — not to mention the education of our children — should not be the last to benefit from all the casino dollars the Legislature is handing out.

The writer represents the people of the Northern Mariana Islands in the U.S. Congress.