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Insurance commissioners meet with Obama

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's no secret that the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare has had its share of problems throughout the nation and that doesn't exclude Guam.

As a member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Art Illagan has written letters to the Department of Health and Human Services over the many concerns with the Affordable Care Act more specifically on its impacts to the territories including Guam. And more recently he was able to share those concerns in person with those directly in charge. "The National Association of Insurance Commissioners which there are 56 of us were invited to the White House to meet the President, we also met with the Vice President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was there," he explained.

The meeting took place back in April where NAIC regulators were allowed to discuss the ongoing challenges with Obamacare found in their respective markets and how HHS and the administration can find solutions. While state regulators raised concern over access, cost and geographic variables to name a few, Illagan says Guam and the territories have it worst.

0115 the mechanism for the territories is not there 0117 for it to work in the territories 0118 they're requiring the market reforms to be there, to be implemented, but they're not giving us the subsidies and the mandates to make it work 0128 so without the whole mechanism of ObamaCare and just requiring the territories to implement the market reforms which are the essential health benefits, to apply means the rates are going to increase 0146

Illagan had previously stated that premiums could increase up to 55%. And while many of the concerns were referred to HHS, he hopes having President Barack Obama hear them firsthand from those who have oversight in their jurisdictions will hold more weight if and when changes are considered for Obamacare. The April 17 meeting with the president was followed by another on May 7 with more White House officials.

"We had another commissioners meeting and in there was the chief of staff of the president Denis McDonough and again I brought it up to his attention that the territories is still waiting for an answer on the ObamaCare and we're asking for a delay until we can fund the mechanism to make it work on Guam," he said.

As we reported because of challenges with Obamacare, HHS had extended the deadline for mandates to take affect originally from 2013 to now in late 2016. Illagan says as he awaits a response from the federal government, he continues to work with Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo's office on the matter.

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