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NEWS & PHOTOS

May 16, 2021
 

U.S. Filipino leaders Thank Biden for Donated Vaccines at The White House Rally, Appeal for More

 

WASHINGTON, DC: Filipino American leaders rallied Saturday morning in front of the White House to thank President Biden and the American People for delivering an initial donation of 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX facility to the Philippines.

 

The dozen leaders also appealed to Biden to release by Memorial Day an additional 5 million doses from the excess AstraZeneca stockpile in Baltimore and in Ohio. Biden recently pledged to donate 60 million doses not being used in America to help desperate nations. They also sang the US National Anthem and the Pilipino song, Bayan Ko. 

 

The community leaders are planning another White House rally in June with other community organizations to thank the Biden Administration after the next tranche of millions of donated vaccines arrive.

 

During the next weeks their supporters in several states will virtually meet with the staff of US Senators and Biden administration officials to advocate for the early delivery of donated AZ vaccines. According to the US Embassy Manila website, the Filipino People can expect another separate 42 million doses from the American funded COVAX facility. Delivery dates are still unknown.

 

The following leaders attended: Virginia Alinsao RN of the Philippine Nurses of America (PNA) International Affairs committee with Alvin Matium RN, Steven Raga, a Filipino American candidate for the NY City Council, Paul Inserto RN and Eric Lachica of the US Medicare Philippines, Bettina Obias of the US Filipinos for Good Governance (USFGG) with Tina Maynigo and Ronie Nieva, Mel Alonzo of the Alliance of Women for Advancement and Reform (AWARE PH),  David Borden of the Stop the Drug War, and Dr. Bambi Lorica MD pediatrician with Dr. Victor Lorica.  Several gave solidarity appeals. Several sight-seers joined the group for photos including students and Filipino tourists. The thirty-minute event was live streamed on FaceBook by the USFGG social media team with the hashtag: #VAXFORPH.

 

Supporters are urged to appeal to President Biden on his website: www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and to their U.S. Senators on www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm to donate early the five million excess doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Filipino People who are facing the terrible pandemic.

 

More than 100 Filipinos are dying per day due to COVID-19.

 

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May 4, 2021

 

ACTION 1:

Write your own letter to the President at  www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

 

Dear President Biden:

 

Release 5 Million Excess US Vaccines to the Filipino People!

 

On behalf of 4,000 supporters of our national advocacy organization, we urge your Administration to release 5 million excess US AstraZeneca vaccines in this month of May to help the desperate Filipino People overcome the COVID pandemic.

 

On April 26, you announced your Administration will share the 60 million excess AstraZeneca vaccine doses (not being used in the US) with the world.


The Filipino People need immediate help. The Philippines and the United States have been long-time friends and defense partners for more than a century.
 
Both nations have recently completed military exercises in the West Philippine Sea. More than 700 US soldiers and 1,000 Filipino troops were training side-by-side. The request has also been raised in the recent bilateral talks of US DoD Secretary Lloyd Austin by PH Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in light of the US-PH Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) set to end on June 6, 2021.

According to the US Census, there are more than four and half million Filipinos residing in America. Nearly all worry about family and friends in the Philippines. Mexico received 2.7 million US AZ vaccines while Canada obtained 1.5 Million doses from the Biden Administration last week. Why not the Filipino People?

As of today, the Philippines is experiencing a surge of cases of COVID-19. More than 100 Filipinos die per day due to the pandemic. Close to 15,000 cases are being diagnosed everyday, with a bigger proportion being under diagnosed. Metro Manila's hospital capacity is up to 86%, there are tents in the parking lots and patients are already being transferred to hospitals as far as 100 miles away. Only 0.05% of the adult population has been immunized.
 
Please also consider there are more than 300,000 US citizens living there including more 30,000 American military retirees and veterans. Moreover, there are also less than 3,000 Filipino WWII veterans still surviving who served under US officers. They are caught in limbo.
 
We would deeply appreciate your humanitarian response.
 
Eric LACHICA, organizer
Daisy TUCAY RN chair on behalf of the Board of Directors
Supporting Leaders of Organizations:
Loida Nicolas-Lewis, president - US Filipinos for Good Governance
Mary Joy Garcia-Dia, president - Philippine Nurses Association of America
Dr. Rommel Rivera, president - Association of Philippine Physicians in America
60 plus community organizations (list available upon request)
 
Your ACTION 2:
Write a similar letter to your two US senators to urge President to RELEASE 5 Million excess US vaccines in May. Email them at:
 
Early delivery will save thousands of Filipino lives!
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RETIREMENT HEALTHCARE COALITION PH

 

 

July 2016

New PH Government Urged to Support Feasibility Study

 

New Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo

We are celebrating our 5th year anniversary of our US Medicare Philippines campaign and progress.

We had effective advocacy activities in the US & the Philippines:

 

1)  We successfully lobbied Tourism Usec. Benito Bengzon and Tourism Asec. Shalimar Tamano, Trade BOI USec. Ceferino Rodolfo and Health Director Melissa Guerrero MD to prioritize US Medicare coverage for our balikbayan seniors and expats. Results: it is now part of the bilateral official negotiations between the US and PH governments, and to be included in the Medical Tourism & Retirement Industry Road Map for PH President Rodrigo Duterte and Tourism Secretary Wanda TEO.

 

2)  We were covered by Bloomberg TV news channel on the crucial support of the influential American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. See March 7, 2016 Youtube video.

 

3)  We obtained commitments from the PH senate and House committees on tourism and health to reintroduce our bills in early 2017 to promote medical tourism with the Medicare feasibility study.

 

Toured four Davao City hospitals July 9-11 with Ms. Ludy Resurreccion of the Nursing Office NYC

 

     We met in March with Ms. Lourdes Sanchez and Ms. Marilou Fernando, staff secretaries of the PH congress House Health and Tourism committees.

        We stressed to them that feasibility study is necessary to persuade US Medicare Advantage insurance companies to invest and provide long term full coverage for American retirees there. We need to build their confidence in doing business with the top PH hospitals and their doctors.

 

4)  We visited two Iloilo hospitals in (The Medical City & Guimaras' provincial) in March and four Davao City hospitals in July to assess their emergency room capabilities and facilities for our balikbayans & tourists, thanks to hospitality of Tess Taylor & Ludy Resurreccion respectively.

 

The Medical City Iloilo tourists

​    Medicare coverage in the PH is the major concern of 400,000 Americans residing in the PH and  balikbayan seniors.

     We want Medicare Advantage (Part C) insurance companies to pay directly the top Philippine hospitals and their doctors to treat American retirees using the current Guam model and TRICARE PH Demonstration project.

    The PH healthcare industry study would show the data of past years’ cost savings and the excellent quality of care provided to ten thousand US military retirees in the TRICARE PH program and the 30,000 Guam Medicare American beneficiaries treated at the top PH hospitals at negotiated prices.  Join our campaign! 

 

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2014! Renewed Key Partnerships & Briefed New US Ambassador



JANUARY 16, 2014 - MANILA - The leaders of the Washington-based advocacy organization, US Medicare PH, launched their 2014 campaign during the First Global Nurses Summit at the Manila Hotel with their Philippine-based partners. The event was attended by more than 300 nurses and supporters.

Their partners at the event were: PH Nurses Association of America (PNAA) led by their president Victoria Navarro RN, Secretary Imelda Nicolas of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), Sec. Enrique Ona M.D. of the PH Department Health (DOH) and Gen. Manager Vernie Atienza, PH Retirement Authority (PRA).

"We appealed to the nurse leaders and our partners to renew their commitment to cause of Medicare Portability for thousands of returning elderly Filipino Americans by ensuring high quality health standards and by keeping low medical costs in the homeland," said Eric Lachica, organizer of the US Medicare PH, and a speaker at the summit.

"We urged them to persuade US Medicare Advantage insurance companies to provide full emergency coverage for our retirees here and to build confidence in doing business with the top PH hospitals and their doctors," Lachica added.
The leaders later consulted and strategized with the Retirement & Healthcare Coalition (
www.rhc.com.ph), formed by the four influential foreign chambers of commerce (American, European, Japanese and Korean).

Marc Daubenbuechel, the RHC executive director, reviewed their strategy and actions to improve the healthcare, to protect the interests of retirees and visitors with the help of relevant PH government agencies. He explained RHC benefits to retiree members: health, wellness, travel insurance, visa and transportation assistance.

The Medicare PH group visited on February 4 and consulted the new US Ambassador Philip Goldberg and his economics affairs counselor in the US Embassy on Roxas Blvd on February 4.

Goldberg met for forty minutes with the FilAm delegation comprised of Daisy Tucay RN of Virginia, Lily Chan RN of Maryland, Susan Jimenez of Texas, Rusty Francisco RN of Florida, Lourdes Ceballos of Nevada and Eric Lachica, advocate from Washington DC.

They discussed the challenges and prospects of extending long-term Medicare coverage to US citizens who visit and retire in the PH.

The advocates stressed to the Ambassador their 2014 goal to obtain a PH healthcare industry study of the past year's cost savings experience and the quality of care provided to tens of thousands of US military retirees in TRICARE PH program and the 30,000 Guam Medicare American beneficiaries who can be treated at top PH hospitals at negotiated low charges.

If Tricare and Medicare federal benefits are good for them, why not for them on the US mainland, they asked.

They further explained that Medicare will be facing cuts of spending in the range of two to five billion dollars per month, according to Congressional Budget Office.

A billion dollars of Medicare expenses could be initially saved if 200,000 Filipino Americans seniors were to choose to retire and be covered in the PH as compared to if they resided in the US, the group estimated.

The anticipated results of the study would build the confidence of insurance companies paid by Medicare like United Healthcare, Carefirst, Kaiser, Humana, Molina, Blue Cross, Aetna and others to do business with the top PH hospitals and their doctors to realize tremendous savings.

Currently, certain policies of these companies only provide temporary worldwide emergency room coverage (6-months maximum) for Medicare seniors who travel overseas.

The ambassador and his counselor expressed great interest in this issue since Medicare coverage in the PH was major concern of the estimated 400,000 Americans residing in the PH. They made several suggestions to the FilAm group, including discussing this with members of the US congress.

DUMAGUETE ROTARY & US EXPATS
The FilAm leaders visited stakeholders in Cebu Chong Hua, Doctors, Iloilo and Dumaguete hospitals. They organized a key meeting with their partners in Manila to begin their updated health industry study of cost savings and business feasibility.

 

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JANUARY 2013 New Year Greetings. We can look forward to a bright and promising year for the US Medicare PH campaign. Economic and political factors are in our favor.

During these past weeks, we met with our enthusiastic partners and leaders in California and Nevada.

Filipino veterans led by Mr. Ernesto Anolin in Delano
In Los Angeles, we partnered with United Physicians International, Inc., a group of 30 doctors led by Dr. Rene Lim, a UST Medical graduate, who hails from Iloilo. His group now offers primary care services in Los Angeles and IN THE PHILIPPINES for Medicare and Medical (Medicaid) limited to Los Angeles area patients. It is under an innovative program with Easy Choice, one of the large health insurance companies in the state. They are also a partner with The Medical City Hospital, a world-class hospital institution, headed by Dr. Alran Bengzon. UPI affiliated doctors in the PH provide 3-6 months of urgent medically necessary care there. Lim joined as a founding member. Their website is
www.upihealth.info.

Above is a photo of our partnership signing with Dr. Lim of UPI and witnessed by Atty. Ramon Ocampo, our founding member and Louie Laguitao, a representative of the PH Seniors' Party at the UPI booth at the Eagle Rock Filipino mall.

We also participated in induction dinner meeting with the leaders of the L.A. Overseas Filipinos for Good Governance led by businessman Romy Baylon and Ms. Andrea Aquino, a nutritionist and a charter member of our organization.

Mr. Benito Miranda of United Healthcare Medicare Solutions (www.uhc.com) represents the largest medical insurance (Medicare Advantage & AARP sponsored) company in the United States. He reviewed with us his efforts over the past year to promote his company's UNLIMITED coverage for Medicare and Medicaid members who temporarily visit the PH. His company now handles the U.S. military TRICARE insurance plans nationwide. We were joined by Louie Laguitao of CA Home Health and Dr. Mariedel Leviste.

In Las Vegas, we met Philippine Medical Association Nevada officers Dr. Ben Calderon and Dr. Tess Melocoton. We discussed a partnership to promote joint projects with their 200 physician members. Calderon is a De La Salle Medical School graduate and practices primary medicine. Calderon has an innovative Las Vegas-based project www.FilipinoMedConnect.com to link thousands physicians in the Philippines to serve Filipino Americans and OFW patients when they return or visit. They are very interested in promoting our mutually beneficial proposal.

We also briefed Mr. Ceasar Elpidio of the Las Vegas Filipino American Veterans Families advocacy group. We consulted Ms. Rozita Lee, a White House commissioner on Asian American Affairs and Ms. Lourdes Ceballos, a well-known journalist.

YES.We can win by building a winning coalition with our can-do partners.

MABUHAY to 2013!

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January 6, 2012: Welcome the New Year party with Sec. Imelda NICOLAS of the PH Presidential Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) in McLean Virginia hosted by Daisy & Jun Tucay and USMedPH members.

CLICK for video of our Q&A w/ PH President Aquino at the January 26 Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce luncheon in Manila on his assurance to request Medicare coverage for Filipino American retirees in the top PH hospitals from President Obama when they meet in June 2012:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWbHWXzR7Cs

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/25833/allow-us-medicare-coverage-in-ph-hospitals-for-fil-am-retirees

On Karen Davila's "Headstart" ANC television show:

http://www.frequency.com/video/anc-headstart-lachica-on-campaigning-for/32560391

http://opinion.inquirer.net/23597/%e2%80%98medicare-portability%e2%80%99-for-fil-ams

December 28, 2011: Fundraiser at Loida Lewis home in NYC

June 2011 Global Filipino Mini-summit NYC

Email President Biden & Senators to Release 5 Million Excess US Vaccines to the PH now!

USMedicarePH.org
1825 Great Falls St.

Falls Church, Virginia 22101


Phone: 1 202 246-1998

E-mail: usmedicareph@gmail.com

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US Medicare PH, Inc. (May 4, 2021)