Adelup says budget bill ‘guts’ Public Health, Medicaid

The old DPHSS building in Mangilao. (PNC file photo)

The Office of the Governor has started a series expressing Adelup’s views on the recently passed fiscal year 2021 budget.

In the first installment of the series, Adelup said the budget, as passed, guts Public Health operations appropriation by more than $3.7 million when compared to the agency’s request.

“That’s a crippling reduction to the lead agency fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and deploying our social safety net. It could result in the forced furlough of some experienced locally funded Public Health personnel at the height of a pandemic,” the Adelup release stated.

The release added: “The war against COVID-19 can’t be won by abandoning our Public Health heroes in the middle of the fight. By gutting operations at Public Health, an untold number of men and women could be furloughed when we need them most. At its heart, a budget is a statement of values. This budget seems to abandon the thing we value most—the health of our people.”

In the second installment, Adelup said the budget will also mean $13 million less in federal Medicaid funding for Guam.

“This will leave the most vulnerable members of our community without adequate healthcare at a time when they need it most. The measure would forfeit Medicaid match by nearly 20% and affect healthcare and medication services for over 32,000 of our most vulnerable who rely on this program. It places fewer healthcare resources where they are most needed: to support the work of our doctors, clinics, and GMH, our COVID-designated hospital,” the Adelup release stated.

It added: “We need more investment in healthcare, not less; now is not the time to shortchange healthcare for those who need it most. Every budget is about choices, and that choice is reckless and wrong.”