IT is really MORE than the same thing over and over again (Déjà vu) with the Medical Referral Program because these Republicans have used what many Economists Call “Voodoo Economics.” How can you operate a “Government Program working under a Private Cooperation with costs into the multiple-millions every year and it’s not even funded — it’s RIDICULOUS Voodoo Economics that could only happen in the CNMI under Republicans! I’m still trying to figure out how they figuratively tried to mixed “oil & water (a private cooperation & government entity) in the first place. And Yes, the Medical Referral Program is an “un-funded liability” with no budget which is why the juggling of money for the program is ENDLESS, as the Governor continues to “take from Peter to pay Paul” in an endless cycle the Governor is good at and I can’t wait to see him juggling the 500 Million from the Feds. But running the program as an unfunded liability prevents ANY and ALL accountability over the Program, the Governor and his administration, which is the real problem and why the troubles for the Medical Referral Program never stops — there is no real ACCOUNTABILITY, for TRUE!
I agree with the editor about the Déjà vu with the Medical Referral Program that really needs to be overhauled for sure but how and what to do seems to be the challenge for our politicians. But I can tell voters now the Program may never be set up properly until WE have Democrats in full control to fix the mess made by Republicans who had full control. I didn’t bother to attend the Hearing because I know the Governor and Republicans who will have to weigh-in on any changes really don’t listen, especially when they are the problem and it’s me talking. But I will share my comments with the People because I actually wrote a Report with Recommendations back in 2013 for FREE after spending time in the program and they didn’t listen then and the Program is still in same unstable state of existence.
1. The Medical Referral Program must first become a “Permanent & Budgeted Liability” which will immediately create a more stable and manageable program. Making CHCC a private Cooperation and running the Medical Referral Program as a non-funded liability of the Government was the Republicans’ brilliant voodoo economic way of avoiding any accountability for our Hospital and the Medical Referral Program — HELLER Voters don’t forget this come Decision Day 2022! Republicans have been “Gaslighting to mislead & Hiding from Accountability” for over two decades which is WHY and HOW so many voters were FOOLED into voting for Republicans, even members of the “Dirty-Thirty”! How can people under a RICO Investigation by the Feds get elected — ONLY in the CNMI as voters are not paying attention, for TRUE!
2. If the Medical Referral Program is truly a permanent necessity, then the CNMI should be working to establish “Permanent Housing” on Guam for patients. The second highest cost for the Medical Referral Program is “housing” and the CNMI is paying for rooms (60 to 90 rooms average and even more at times) in hotel cost which is more than enough to be paying on the CNMI’s own hotel. But that takes initiative and real work. In addition, Guam may even be willing to make some exceptions to help the CNMI (fellow Chamorros) in acquiring land to build a Medical Referral Complex that could even be the epic center for reunifying CNMI & Guam Locals.
3. Take ALL the Politics out of the Medical Referral Program and make it a real entity that is driven totally by the CHCC Board, including the hiring of staff (Director & Employees). I learned that the Mayor from the different islands, are contributing workers to the program which means the workers are really working for the Mayors and not so much the person in charge, which has been a real problem in the past when these employees can’t be fired or reprimanded by the Director. Reduce the Mayors’ budget by one or two employees and add that to the Medical Referral Program to help end the politics within the system. Also stop the Governor from having anything to do with the Programs daily activities as the Director should not be a political appointee but hired by the CHCC Board.
4. Create some kind of real “Government Subsidy Program” to help CHCC & the Medical Referral Program with its short-fall in “accounts receivables and unexpected cost not covered by Insurance or Medicaid.” We have a lot of people who can’t afford these un-covered costs and the accounts receivables for CHCC often go uncollected due to so many people living BELOW the Poverty Level with no insurance.
But to do all these things means the Government must take on real accountability and take in more revenues which is something the Republicans don’t know how to do other than passing the buck to citizens with MORE taxes instead of doing the hard work to expand our Tourism Industry like they should be doing. At any rate, the Government must end the Voodoo approach to running the Program and make the Medical Referral Program more stable and take on real responsibly of being accountable for the Program’s activities. One People One Direction.
The writer is a retired teacher, former CNMI Board of Education Member, James Madison Fellow (U.S. Constitutional Scholar), a Fulbright-Hays & Humanities Scholar who resides in Kagman III.