Won Pat continues efforts with establishing regional health syst - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Won Pat continues efforts with establishing regional health system

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It was first brought to light during a meeting of the Association of Pacific Island Legislature's last summer and later this month Speaker Judi Won Pat is moving forward with her efforts to establish a regional healthcare system throughout the Pacific.  

During the APIL general assembly last July, president Won Pat introduced a resolution expressing support for a regional healthcare network. Since then she's been working with health insurance companies and making presentations to all the governors and presidents throughout Micronesia. "And the last thing we're trying to do now is get funding from the Department of the Interior who supports the idea of doing this regional healthcare system what we're requesting for is funding to do an actuary where we want to do two actuarial studies one strictly throughout Micronesia and the other for Guam and the CNMI for Medicare and MIP," she said.

Won Pat has since received a letter of support from the Marshall Islands president and met with Governor Eddie Calvo this past week on the matter. She hopes to get support from other governors and presidents who are part of the Micronesia Chief Executive Summit. "We were told of course in the side that it would definitely make our case stronger in the request for some money to be able to do this study," she said.

Won Pat says her hope is to secure $400,000 for the study. But why is establishing a regional healthcare system so important? "It's really important because the people of Guam heard this time and time again about the impact of course our brothers and sisters coming to Guam. I know it doesn't address everything else but one of the biggest of course is health care so it's important for us to reduce the impact to the island 0741 more importantly it gives everybody insured, covered by  insurance," she said.

And when the study is completed, Won Pat hopes DOI can look over how this network will be cost effective to insure everyone along with the possibility of reprogramming Compact impact money given to the islands. "We've seen them do it for education, so why not healthcare and when that happens, we get everybody insured so when they travel, they would be able, no matter where they go. And we're hoping to get Hawaii on board as well especially with the most recent decision made by the courts in Hawaii," she said.

It was back in April with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Hawaii has no constitutional obligation to fill a gap left in 1996 when Congress cut healthcare funding for migrants under the Compact of Free Association. In the meantime, Won Pat will be going off island later this month to visit the region's leaders. 
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