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Medicaid expansion for Guam, other US territories headed to House floor

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has approved the proposed extension of Medicaid enhancement for Guam and other U.S. territories, providing $130 million in annual federal match funding for eight years.

Under H.R. 4406, the federal government's 83 percent share will be locally matched with 17 percent.

"This resounding bi-partisan support of HR 4406 is solid momentum for the extension of our recently enhanced federal funding for Medicaid, and will translate to over a billion dollars in cumulative healthcare funding for our Medicaid eligible, which also includes our COFA brothers and sisters," said Congressman Michael San Nicolas," Guam's delegate to Congress.

"We will continue to apprise the people of the progress of this measure towards enactment, which next moves to the floor of the full House for consideration," he added.

The bill next moves on for consideration by the entire House of Representatives.

American Samoa Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata said codifying the 83 percent ensures the highest long-term federal match under the statute in any state or territory, and prevents the territories from facing any sudden unexpected loss of Medicaid match funding.

“Our people rely on federal Medicaid assistance for health services, and this bill establishes a good policy for years to come,” said Amata, a cosponsor of the bill “Under this plan, our territory can make decisions knowing this steady federal rate is in place and dependable.”

Titled the Supporting Medicaid in the U.S. Territories Act of 2021, H.R. 4406 was introduced this month in a bid to avert the fiscal cliff resulting from the Medicaid funding expiration on Sept. 30.

“Over the last three years, we have worked closely with our sister territories and members of Congress, including Chairman Pallone. Particularly in the last several months, I have continued to underscore the need for a permanent solution in my testimony to the House Committee on Energy & Commerce and our annual report,” said Guam Gov. Leon Guerrero. “During my meetings with the White House and Congress, I will continue to push for full passage of H.R. 4406.”

“By receiving House Committee passage, our first hurdle has been cleared. The extension of increased funding under H.R. 4406 will help us provide quality healthcare for the most vulnerable in our community. Our Administration remains committed to advocating for full equity under Medicaid and all other federal programs,” added Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio.

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