The governor’s office said the administration has made $32.8 million in Medicaid payments to various vendors and healthcare providers.
This follows the passage of the disaster aid bill in June which included a provision to temporarily increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for Guam to 100 percent on remaining Affordable Care Act funds.
“During my first trip to Washington D.C., I testified before the House of Representatives and Senate Committees about long-standing issues affecting Guam; key among them was Medicaid parity. I’ve also written letters to Congress urging them to prioritize healthcare funding to the U.S. territories which is severely underfunded in comparison to the states,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.
“Recent congressional action provided a temporary fix to the challenges we faced in addressing our Medicaid expenditures. Nonetheless, it is a welcome reprieve and the result of all our efforts to make our case before the federal government. We are very appreciative of the level of commitment Congress and the Trump administration has given to Guam.”
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In June, President Trump signed into law H.R. 2157, the Disaster Aid legislation that provides $19.1 billion in aid to states and territories devastated by natural disasters.
A provision was included to allow the government of Guam to draw down from the remaining ACA funds without requiring the territory to put up a local match of 45 percent. The funds are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2019.
Leon Guerrero earlier promised to use the supposed savings from the local match relief to cover the processed war claims. This plan has fallen through. The war claims bill filed by Speaker Tina Muna Barnes does not tap the Medicaid funds.
“While the Disaster Aid Bill was a huge victory for Guam, we are still seeking Medicaid parity for our people. We must still push for state-like treatment of Medicaid funding by lifting our annual Medicaid cap and basing our FMAP on a formula that takes into account per capita income,” the governor said.
“Right now, we are capped at about $18 million and we are still required to put up a local match. In recent weeks, Public Health has testified before Congress and I have written more letters seeking support for more permanent healthcare funding,” the governor said. “Along with other U.S. territories, our collective pursuit of healthcare-related services has resulted in the introduction of two bills which will treat Guam and other U.S. territories more equitably with the states.”