Guam – After being asked by the Department of Administration to look into it the Attorney General Lenny Rapadas has found that the law requiring legislative approval of GovGuam’s health insurance contract is inorganic. Meanwhile the law’s author Senator Judi Guthertz is concerned about what she says is “Governor Calvo’s backpedaling on the health insurance law.”
Senator Judi Guthertz says she’s “flabergasted” to learn that the Calvo administration sought a legal opinion on a law that both Governor Calvo and Lt. Governor Tenorio supported and voted for in the 30th Guam legislature just days before they were sworn into office.
As a result of this request the A.G. has found that the law requiring legislative approval for the GovGuam health insurance contract is inorganic. Senator Guthertz told PNC, “Well lately the A.G. says everything is inorganic. But frankly in principal it’s the legislature that has to appropriate the money to pay for this health insurance program in terms of the government’s share.”
According to the A.G.’s opinion the recently enacted public law 30-227 is inorganic because it violates the separation of powers doctrine by interposing the legislature into the approval and decision making process of the group healthcare contract. A.G. Rapadas says in his opinion that “the development, negotiation and execution of contracts for executive departments and agencies of the government of Guam are executive functions that are carried out by the governor pursuant to his organic act powers.”
Senator Guthertz doesn’t necessarily buy this. “I’m communicating with our own attorney at the legislature to get her guidance on this issue of organicness and I’m sure the senators when we passed this into law believed it was an appropriate thing to do,” said Guthertz.
The lawmaker has also sent a letter to the governor urging him to follow the spirit of the law which she says is to provide transparency throughout the healthcare insurance negotiation process.
Senator Guthertz says that if needed she will revisit the law and prepare legislation that addresses the concerns of the attorney general. However, with or without the opinion Senator Guthertz says the insurance contract will ultimately end up at the legislature.
“Eventually the governor’s gonna have to deal with the legislature whether it’s directly or indirectly I know that my colleagues are not gonna support a health insurance plan that is not representative of transparency and real competition and reasonableness what happened last year is not going to happen again with this legislature,” said the Senator adding, “It’s still the legislature by organic act that appropriates the money for the expenditures of this government so they’re gonna have to deal with this legislature when it comes to paying for whatever proposal they think is reasonable and if we don’t think the proposal is reasonable we don’t have to appropriate the money for it.”
Senator Guthertz says the intent of the law is to provide transparency to the process to help GovGuam budget properly by knowing the true costs of it’s annual healthcare insurance operating expense.