by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Legislative Finance Committee Chair Senator Ben Pangelinan says he's not sure where there's room in the current year budget to fund the additional $16 million needed for the government's health insurance plan. Nearly $29 million was appropriated, which should carry government employees and retirees through until March or April.
Pangelinan says there isn't much discretionary funding in the budget to pay for the additional insurance costs unless the government chooses to defer certain programs such as tax refunds or the implementation of the Hay Study. "I think there are provisions in the contract that would allow us to carry forward while we go back and renegotiate the rates, which may also need an adjustment in the benefits schedule so that's one way of trying to balance out additional costs to both the government and the employees," he said.
Pangelinan contends the renegotiations could allow for readjusting the rates or the benefits that wouldn't require the additional $16 million.