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Calvo makes pitch to fix GMH

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Governor Eddie Calvo is lobbying hard for the passage of legislation to help solve the Guam Memorial hospital's chronic budget woes.  He appeared today before the Tumon Bay rotary club to explain his plan, and lobby for support.

The Governor is awaiting action on a pair of bills. One would authorize a $125 million bond to pay for new equipment, and to renovate the hospital's dormant Z-wing and turn it into a potentially money-making outpatient services center. The second bill would raise business privilege taxes from 4% to 4.75% to cover the bond's debt service, and fund the hospital's chronic operational shortfall. He says he will continue to seek proper funding from the federal government for issues such as Medicaid reimbursement and compact impact tied to hospital services, but for now the additional costs will be shouldered by Guam taxpayers.

"We can't wait for the united states to straighten out their health care system We've got to do what we have to do. I'm here today to ask for your support," he said.

Calvo fielded questions from rotary members about taking on more huge debt, and about raising the b-p taxes. He explained that only 3 out of 10 patients seen at the hospital can pay.  The rest can't pay in full, or even pay at all.  But the Governor says the hospital still has a moral obligation to treat all patients, regardless, noting, "This hospital is so critical to our society.

"We cannot allow it to fail. In fact, we can't even allow  mediocrity. It has to be the best."

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