Tenorio, Pangelinan disagree on Bill 513 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Tenorio, Pangelinan disagree on Bill 513

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It appears the battle over Bill 513 rages on as both Acting Governor Ray Tenorio and Committee on Insurance chairman Senator Ben Pangelinan continue to disagree on the measure's impact to thousands of Government of Guam employees and retirees. Late Friday, Tenorio vetoed Bill 513, calling it another election year empty promise to the people "wrought with severe legal, factual, financial and actuarial deficiencies in its assumptions and analysis".

He said, "The veto of Bill 513 is a way to protect the pocketbooks of the retirees who have a fixed income, it was a way to protect the employees and the beneficiaries and the people who are dependents of GovGuam employees from not paying more for their insurance, it's not to protect anything else."

Pangelinan disagrees. In a press release, he expresses concern over the veto stating, "I worry that the interest of taxpayers, government employees and the general public have been sacrificed for special interest." he adds the measure, which was introduced and passed in session in a span of two weeks, would have provided more options for healthcare coverage and would have saved GovGuam employees and retirees money."

However, as noted in the acting governor's veto message, the legislation was passed even though the Attorney General's Office wanted more time to review the bill and an independent actuary said it would instead drive up costs for employees and retirees. Pangelinan refutes those claims arguing that in no way can the bill raise rates on health insurance from what we are paying now.

Tenorio retorted, saying, "If Senator Pangelinan relies on the same financial crunching that he did in the prior three fiscal years that weren't realized and came directly out of his productivity, then I'm glad. Because that's because that's probably the basis for the factual problems that he has for a lot of his failures in the Legislature - but the reality is that actuarial, the Hay study, the attorney general and the memos we put out based on those factual information is solid."

In his release, Pangelinan further states the Hay Group study was done without analysis and didn't include examples of how the bill would increase rates, adding Bill 513 would actually save $6 million for the GovGuam employee and retiree.

There's no word yet from Senator Pangelinan or the Speaker Judi Won Pat's Office as to whether a special session will be held to address the veto, but Tenorio expects for Pangelinan to push for an override. "It was done without the benefit of legal review, it was done without the benefit of actuarial assessment, it was done in such as hasty fashion that it border on reckless, and I hope they don't override it," he said.

After making numerous calls and leaving several messages along with stopping by his office, Senator Ben Pangelinan was unavailable all day for comment.

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