“Sike!” - Obama burns Guam twice in one week
by John Davis
Guam - President of the United States, Barack Obama delayed his trip to Indonesia and Australia to ensure the passage of H.R. 3590, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," which amazingly passed in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Just when we thought we were going to get a chance to listen as our nations leader addressed 2,000 residents and 150 very important people, Obama makes the decision to delay his trip until June. I guess Guam got two burn notices in one week.
I believe president Obama pushing for the passage of healthcare reform legislation in the U.S. mainland is going to be a good thing for the majority of people living there. What I don't like about the passage of this "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," is the fact that it's unclear of how it will apply to U.S. Territories, especially Guam. Burn on us!
It's not amazing that the Governor of Guam, Felix Camacho, follows suit with concerns originally made by former healthcare oversight chairperson, Senator Frank Blas Jr. In the beginning of March, Senator Blas sent a letter to Washington's representative to Guam, Madeline Bordello informing her of some "legitimate concerns" he had with the legislation. More specifically, Blas was concerned funding was not provided in the President's plan to narrow the gap of restricted Medicaid programs or to assist uninsured people from purchasing private insurance. Blas said he was disappointed with the "Pacific President's" failure to commit to post-election promises related to disparities in treatment of the U.S. territories in national policies like healthcare.
Today the governor released a statement regarding the passage of the healthcare reform legislation, saying all residents of U.S. territories, including Guam were ignored in the legislation passed by the house. The governor says the concerns of Guam were not addressed and the healthcare reform legislation failed to provide equal treatment in Medicaid and Medicare. Lastly, the Governor said the bill fell short in including Guam into health insurance exchanges, and only worsens disparities in federal healthcare policy affecting Guam and other insular area governments.
It will be interesting to see how the new healthcare reform package will affect Guam. In the meantime, Democrats are already armed with a new piece of legislation to be introduced in attempt to address some of the "deals" made with Republican representatives to ensure the passage of the Act. While waiting for our Congresswoman to inform us on how this new legislation will apply to Guam, our leaders, Democrat and Republican, should begin writing letters to representatives of the House and Senate to ensure Guam and the other U.S. Territories are not forgotten should the new reform act be revised in the short term.
Now let's hop back in to time about one week to take a look at the first Obama burn on Guam. It was early this month residents learned President Obama was going to pay us a visit. Then we learned that he was only going to speak to servicemen and woman. A petition to request President Obama to speak to all Guam residents was circulated throughout the community in an attempt to get our nations leader to hear concerns the people of Guam had about the military buildup. Over 11,000 people signed the petition before it was sent to Washington D.C.
Just last week, Guam received confirmation President Obama was going to speak to 2,000 Guam residents and 150 Very Important People. Many Guam residents questioned why President Obama wouldn't speak to the entire island. Some said the message is a clear indication that the largest post-World War II military buildup is not a priority of the President, although the impact it will place on Guam residents is clearly the People of Guam's first priority. We want to know about the true intentions of purchasing or acquiring Guam land. We want to know if DOD and Japan will fund all upgrades needed on Guam related to the military buildup without the need for Guam to take out long-term low-interest loans. We want to know how environmental, social and psychological impacts to the people of Guam will be addressed.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was the last Democrat President and the last U.S. President to talk to the people of Guam; President Obama should do the same. Mr. President, when you make your trip to Guam in June, make arrangements to speak to the entire island. We are the most important of the military's re-alignment in the Western Pacific Region. If our concerns aren't addressed, the Guam buildup will not be a success for Guam even though it may still be a success for your administration.
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