VIDEO: Lobbyist Seeks Support for “Medicare Portability” Bill; GMA Pres. Shieh Opposes Idea

In new window

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



Print all

Pacific News Center [NEW]: Guam-PH Medicare campaign update



altEric Lachica to news

show details Feb 16 (1 day ago)  
This is an enquiry e-mail via from:
Eric Lachica <>

News Assignment Editor

I am visiting Guam until Friday night to consult and mobilize our
stakeholder leaders and partners here on the  Guam-Philippine Medicare
Hospitalization bill soon to be introduced by Del. Madeleine Bordallo
that would allow Guam individuals and Filipino American retirees to be
covered by US Medicare in the top hospitals in the Philippines.

I will be available for interviews tomorrow Friday morning at the Guam
Marriott hotel.

Please call or leave a message.
671-649-7827 Room 616 since my US cell phone in on roaming mode.

or contact Ms. SAHLIE BISCOE of Selectcare at 479-7964

For more details, 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

Filipino American Advocate (registered lobbyist in the US Congress)
& Organizer
US Medicare PH. Inc.
1825 Great Falls St.
McLean VA 22101
202 246-1998

in Guam until Friday night

The contents of this communication may contain confidential
information intended for the sole use of the recipient and not
intended for outside distribution. If you receive this email in error
please immediately notify me  and permanently delete the original
email. Thanks!

Fil-Am advocates campaign for US medicare portability

by Caroline Howard, ANC
Posted at 02/09/2012 2:48 PM | Updated as of 02/10/2012 1:22 PM
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American advocates are pushing a
campaign aimed at giving retired Filipino-American immigrant
professionals access to US Medicare even if they are in the

About 100 Fil-Am immigrant professionals retire every day. But while
they can take their Social Security pension and savings anywhere in
the world, it is a different story for their Medicare in-patient,
out-patient and prescription coverage overseas, unlike private medical

Eric Lachica, a veteran lobbyist in the United States is spearheading
the campaign for “Medicare portability,” designed to allow retired
Filipino-American immigrant professionals access to their Medicare
benefits at internationally-accredited hospitals and health care
providers in the Philippines.

Medicare portability

“The Veterans are leading the way on the Medicare Portability. In
America, kung 65 years old and above, you will get Medicare coverage.
Parang health insurance for the seniors. We expanded the base kasi
Veterans in the US hindi pwedeng dalhin ang Medicare insurance nila
dito in addition to the 200,000 US Filipino seniors in the US,” said
Lachica, Organizer of the US Medicare Philippines, Incorporated, a
non-profit advocacy organization based in Washington D.C., on ANC’s

“We expect a $1 Billion in Medicare spending, kung payagan tayo ni US
President Barack Obama and the US Congress, we have to make changes in
Medicare law…. I’ll be paying $55,000 into the health care system in
taxes. I’d like to retire and have a long-term stay here.”

Last month, President Aquino announced, he will discuss this issue
with Obama in their June meeting in Washington, to allow top
Philippine-based hospitals that are caring for Fil-Am retirees, to be
accredited by US Medicare Insurance.

“We’d like to thank President Aquino for taking a forward-looking
stance and bringing this up to the Obama administration. We need his
support especially when they meet in the White House. We have to work
together to make his visit a success.”

Lachica said, advocates are scheduled to meet with President Aquino on
Monday to thank him and give him pointers on the need for assertive
partnership with Philippine Ambassador in Washington DC Luis Cuisia.
He adds, they also look forward to some developments following an
earlier meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario this

Lachica said the Medicare Portability is seen to be a win-win
situation, for both the US and the Philippine economies, as it will
supposedly result in savings for taxpayers and Medicare, while
allowing Filipinos in America to return to tap their health care
benefits in the Philippines.

A community activist since high school in the University of the
Philippines, Lachica has always believed in the mustering communities,
especially the Filipino population in America, an estimated 3.4
million, accounting for 1% of the entire US population.

“There’s about a million possible Filipino-American votes. We were
hoping that we could tap that People Power. The big challenge of our
Fil-Am leaders is to motivate and energize and to bring them to the

“Our campaign for equity for Filipino heroes energizes me. I’m honored
to be one of the point persons of this campaign.”

The veterans’ cause

Lachica, a son of a Filipino-American World War II Veteran from
Dumaguete, is known for tirelessly lobbying for the rights of Filipino
American Veterans. He has worked with the major veterans organizations
here and in the US, and is Volunteer Executive Director of the
American Coalition for Filipino Veterans.

“I was challenged 20 years ago, when he was denied benefits by Uncle
Sam in Los Angeles. He said: hindi natin kaya… Pinakita niya sa akin
yung kanyang discharge papers… mamaya hindi sila pinapansin sa
Veterans Affairs hospital in L.A.  And I met his colleagues. And it’s
really sad they were being shunned to the side,” Lachica said.

This was in 1989. His father had no medical benefits to speak of just
like other Fil-Am Veterans who were given US citizenship.

“That’s the irony. They were given US passports. When they got to the
United State they were turned away. You might be a citizen by virtue
of citizenship in Uncle Sam’s army but you’re not entitled to veterans
benefits,” Lachica recalled, saying that was where the campaign

It was the same case with 95-year old Celestino Almeda of Virginia and
3,000 to 4,000 other veterans who were denied health care benefits
because their names were not on a second list, despite having on hand
discharge papers signed by American officers, pay stubs and mission

“We’re appealing to President Obama to issue an Executive Order to his
Secretary to review individually yung deserving veterans,” Lachica
said, adding the cases are in the appeals process.

In 17 years, Lachica has organized campaigns that helped get five
bills passed in the US Congress. These include the Fil-Vet Equity
Bill, which gave $300 million to Filipino veterans in the US and the

Lachica noted, 18,000 Fil-Am war veterans have received their
benefits, half in the US, half in the Philippines.

Veterans are entitled to a $500 monthly Social Security Income if they
return to the Philippines (75% of the US pension for retirees), burial
benefits in the United States, and $9,000 for the Veteran’s widow.

Lachica noted, most of World War II veterans in 1945, 1946 could have
been automatic US Citizens had the Consul, who was swearing them in,
not been removed.

“There was a private understanding between the new government at that
time under Osmena, huwag na lang kasi our best and brightest veterans
might move to the US but they had a right to go to the US at that

But he admits, while pushing the veterans cause was a breeze during
the term of Former President George W. Bush who recognized Fil-Am
veterans well before he took the top seat in the White House,
persuading US President Bill Clinton to support war veterans years
earlier, was no easy task. Backed by Congressman Bob Filmer of San
Diego, California and war veterans, they took their campaign to the
streets, drew media coverage and eventually public attention.

“Filipino veterans were the responsibility of the Philippine
government so we had to change the perspective.”

“There was an election coming up and unfortunately we have to make it
very clear to his staff that if he didn’t want to move on a resolution
just recognizing our Filipino veterans, we would demonstrate, we would
protest just two months before the elections.”

Fostering Fil-Am connections

Today, Lachica admits, their campaign depends on closely working with
their Asian-American allies and mainstream veterans organizations.

“There’s a lot of goodwill for our heroes. The thing is to tap it to
get it organized and establish personal relationships.”

“Filipino-Americans don’t realize that they have a lot of clout,
especially our doctors and nurses. We have 200,000 Filipina nurses in
the US, 20,000 Fil-Am doctors. A friend of mine who runs this Southern
California Hospital council said, if you guys go on strike the whole
healthare system in the US will collapse.”

“We have to capitalize on those connections.”

“I’m glad that Loida Lewis one of the benefactors there was a good
friend of the First Couple and she helped us get access to the kitchen
cabinet. Hillary had Filipino-American kitchen cabinet members like
Maria Mabilangan-Haley, she was key in getting the Pres. Clinton to
support our bill which allowed many of our Fil-Am veterans to come
back may dalang $500 a month.

“You can’t win the war with one big battle,” Lachica said, recalling
the advice of many of their mentors including Senator Inoue, who
himself had been discharged from the US army after he lost his arm.

Lachica added, Filipinos also have to overcome the baggage of colonial

From their early efforts, initially weighed-down by a lack of
assertive local leadership against discriminatory practices, and the
coordination and cooperation of children of Fil-Am war veterans,
Lachica said, today their campaign depends on empowering Fil-Ams to
fight for their rights.
—————————————————————–fair use

altYouTube – Videos from this email
alt Reply
alt Reply to all
alt Forward