Initiative aides Guamanians without health insurance - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Initiative aides Guamanians without health insurance

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Following the discussion over health insurance during session over the weekend, Governor Eddie Calvo has announced the start of a new initiative aimed at helping 30,000 Guamanians who do not have health insurance.

In his weekly address, Governor Calvo says just as tax refunds and home ownership are important, so are the health and well-being of thousands of Guamanians who cannot afford medical insurance.

Calvo says he's gathering a group of stakeholders including Committee on Health chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr., local doctors, insurance carriers and economists in order to come up with ideas and solutions.

Among the ideas include expanding Medicaid to include more people, something Calvo says by raising the income threshold for Medicaid will capture more Guamanians in the plan.  Secondly, Calvo proposes changing the law and requiring everyone to have health insurance similar to Obamacare which he says spreads all the risks so that costs stay down. Lastly, he suggests an idea that's more of an incentive program that would allow small businesses that can't afford health insurance for their employees and allows them to band together as coops. Governor Calvo says a tax credit can be applied to the cooperative, distributed to the business and employee based on how much of the premium they pay.

Calvo ultimately says at this point, these are simply ideas adding they will cost money. He's since directed GEDA to capture the revenue coming from health insurance companies that currently don't pay taxes in order to pay for a solution - whether it's an increase in Medicaid, premium tax credit for the individual mandate or incentives for private health insurance cooperatives.

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