US Senate bill to expand healthcare coverage for territories

U.S. Democratic senators have introduced a bill that expand the availability of healthcare coverage to the 4 million Americans living in Guam, the CNMI, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

The Territories Health Equality Act of 2019 (S. 1773) would eliminate the cap on annual Medicaid funding to the territories, which is currently capped at about $17 million for Guam.

It also increases the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate to be on par with the states.

“This would not only result in tens of millions of dollars in additional Medicaid funding to Guam but also millions in savings to the island,” according to a press release from Adelup.

Among the eight cosponsors of the measure, five are Democratic Presidential hopefuls: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the legislation, while Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Corey Booker (D-NJ), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), cosponsored the bill. Other co-sponsors of the bill are Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Ed Markey (D-MA).