SAIPAN TRIBUNE — Nothing shows the choice for voters on Nov. 6 better than Medicaid.
This federal program delivers healthcare to 15,000 people in the Marianas with incomes below the federal poverty line.
But Medicaid is important to everyone. Medicaid is 28 percent of Commonwealth Health Center revenues. And without those revenues our only hospital would close its doors and everyone would suffer—rich and poor.
My record on Medicaid is clear:
I got our base Medicaid grant increased by 30 percent—$6.7 million this year. I got our local matching requirement cut by 10 percent. So, we now have a better federal/local share than 19 states.
And I got $109 million in supplemental funding for Medicaid in the 2010 Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, Public Law 111-152. That money kept the hospital open, just when the Fitial administration decided to “privatize” it and stop funding.
Altogether, those changes in the law brought us over $163 million in Medicaid funding over the last nine years.
By contrast, my opponent has a history of short-changing Medicaid.
As chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, he failed to budget the local match for Medicaid year after year. He brags about passing the “biggest budget ever.” But he short-changed the hospital $700,000 in base Medicaid and over $11 million in supplemental.
In fact, the Legislature short-changed the hospital $69 million over the last seven years.
So, here is the choice for the 15,000 people in the Marianas who depend on Medicaid—and for everyone who uses our hospital.
I put money into the program—over $163 million. He failed to pay his bills.
Who do you trust to keep Medicaid funded in the next Congress?
Hayi un hongi?