By Pacific Island Times News Staff
It has been more than a year since the federal government reinstated the freely associated states citizens into the Medicaid program, yet the enrolment rate for this segment of Guam's population has been "shockingly low," Congressman Michael San Nicolas said.
As of 2018, there were 19,000 FAS migrants who were accounted for on Guam.
"Yet in 2020 there were only six enrollees, in 2021 there were only 488, and as of this year there are only 1,311," San Nicolas said. "This means that approximately 17,000citizens do not have meaningful access to life-saving healthcare. This is an inexcusable problem that must be addressed now."
In 1996, the citizens of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands-- which are freely associated with the United States through the Compact of Free Association-- were removed from the Medicaid program.
Their eligibility to the program was restored in H.R.4821, the“ Covering our FAS Allies Act,” and as a clause in the“ Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. It went into effect on Dec. 20, 2022.
"Despite our success in reinstating a means for them to obtain vital health care services, it is disconcerting to find that COFA Medicaid enrollment remains unreasonably low," San Nicolas said.
"I write to express our disappointment in your administration’s failure to date to capitalize on the opportunity we provided over a year ago," San Nicolas said in a letter to the governor.
San Nicolas urged the governor "to remedy this inaction with a clear understanding that the issue at hand is a serious determinant of life and death."