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Allow US Medicare coverage in PH hospitals for Fil-Am retirees

/ 09:01 PM February 14, 2012

In a recent forum with the joint foreign chambers of commerce and other leaders of the business sector, President Benigno S. Aquino III said that he will bring the concerns of the Philippine healthcare industry to the attention of US President Barack Obama when he visits the United States by the middle of this year.

“I will be having a visit with President Obama sometime, towards the middle of the year. You can count on my…requesting him again for a consideration of accrediting more of our facilities,” the President said.

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In connection with this, the US Medicare PH, Inc., a national advocacy organization, sent a letter to President Aquino through DFA Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Ambassador Cecilia Rebong thanking him for his commitment to help future Fil-Am retiring seniors.

In the letter signed by Daisy Tucay, Chair and Eric Lachica, Organizer of US Medicare PH, Inc., it was noted that “according to the official 2010 US Census, there were 3,416,840 Filipinos in America, including mixed race Filipinos. More than 400,000 are 65-years-old and older. We estimate that more than half- about 200,000 are seriously considering retiring in their homeland.”

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“Our Filipino American immigrant professionals are retiring at the rate of 100 PER DAY. They are part of the daily “tsunami” of the American “baby boomers” who reach the age of 65. Under US law, they can take their Social Security pensions anywhere in the world. However, the law does not provide them Medicare coverage if they are in the Philippines – unlike private insurance.”

The national advocacy organization also informed President Aquino that “US Congressional Delegate Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and others will introduce this month a Guam-PH Medicare Hospitalization bill that would address our concerns and achieve your priority in welcoming our Fil-Am seniors.”

US Medicare PH outlined the advantages of the Bordallo’s Guam bill as follows:

(1) It is a good start with a non-controversial bill to open doors in the US Congress. Guam US citizens because of proximity to Manila are currently allowed to seek treatment in the Philippines and are reimbursed by Medicare. In 2010, more than 2,600 Guamanians received more than $7,000,000 in care in the Philippines, according to Guam’s Select Care program.

(2) Guam will be a stepping stone or a transit place for Fil-Am beneficiaries who would like to reside in PH after being seen and referred to accredited PH hospitals by Guam US physicians.

(3) PH top hospitals will be accredited with Medicare as service providers since they have been earlier accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) under the bill. They can demonstrate better quality care during the initial 5-year trial period.

(4) These PH hospitals could show cost savings of 50 percent or more for patient care to make it fiscally persuasive to the American Congress and to President Obama. We estimate that the US  Government could save at least $1,000,000,000 (1 Billion) per year for 200,000 Fil-Am retirees .

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(5) The PH accredited hospitals are expected to have safeguards in place to prevent fraud and have computerized electronic health records to minimize error rates, improve patient outcomes and obtain payments from Medicare.

(6) The Guam bill may minimize potential legislative opposition from American physicians and from the US hospital industry.

(7) This win-win bill could energize, motivate and unify the leaders of 3.4 Million Filipino-Americans to engage their congressional members and participate in mainstream US election year politics.  Among the community leaders affiliated with US Medicare PH are Loida Lewis, Para Anderson, Rodel Rodis, Ed Navarra, and Fmr. Pres. Fidel Ramos. Its partners are : PH Nurses Assn. of America, National Federation of Filipino Assns. (NaFFAA), Commission for Filipinos Overseas (CFO), PH Retirement Authority (PRA), RPDev, USPinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), Global Health Network (GLN), and PH Assn. Retirement Counselors.

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TAGS: American, Barack Obama, Benigno Aquino, Filipino, Migration
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