Guam – Guam could be a stepping stone for Americans seeking to use their Medicare benefits at lower cost Hospitals in the Philippines if a bill under development in Congress becomes law.
Philippine-American lobbyist Eric LaChica is on Guam this week meeting with island leaders seeking their support for the soon to be introduced “Medicare-Portability” Act. Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo is one of the co-sponsors of the legislation.
The measure would allow retirees to use their medicare benefits at Philippine hospitals. But at least one island doctor doesn’t think that would be a good idea for Guam.
Medicare beneficiaries are already allowed to get reimbursement from Medicare for medical procedures done in the Philippines, if those procedures can not be performed on Guam. But LaChica says the proposed bill he is advocating would allow for full medicare portability.
LaqChica also argues that the measure could be a boon for Guam’s medical community because it would require all patients seeking care in the Philippines to pass through Guam first and get a referral to a Philippine Hospital here.
But the President of the Guam Medical Association, Dr. Tom Shieh opposes that idea. He believes that medicare dollars are better spent here, rather than overseas and he warns that patients seeking care in foreign hospital, give up legal rights that protect them against malpractice.
And Shieh doesn’t buy the “boon for Guam” argument LaChica makes, warning that a bill in development may look very different when it passes Congress and gets signed into law.
For details on the proposed bill, click on the following links:
3) Jan. 26, 2012 Q&A video clip (3 min.) w/ PH Pres. Benigno Aquino:
4) PH ANC Early Start video interview