07/18/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/18/2019 10:14
For Immediate Release Contact: Michael J. McQuerry
July 17, 2019 202-215-8524
CONGRESSWOMAN STACEY PLASKETT RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT AS THE MEDICAID PARITY BILL FOR U.S. TERRITORIES PASSES COMMITTEE, ONE STEP CLOSER TOWARDS BECOMING LAW
Washington, D.C.- Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett released the following statement regarding the passing out of committee of the Medicaid Parity bill:
'Today, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved bipartisan legislation to provide equal access of federal resources for Medicaid to all American citizens living in the five U.S. territories: U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Mariana Islands. The Territories Health Care Improvement Act, included as part of H.R. 2328, now heads to the full House of Representatives for a vote, one step closer to becoming law.
'The legislation prevents many from losing health care coverage, by increasing the limit on Medicaid payments and the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for all U.S. territories. It also sets stipulations to implement integrity and reporting measures for the programs.
'This legislation will save lives. I am encouraged by the bipartisan support the legislation received in Committee to grant every American citizen the equal access to Medicaid coverage they deserve. Under the current archaic system, unequal access to federal resources puts a strain on the territories' Medicaid programs, especially areas with ongoing health care crises exacerbated by hurricanes.
'This plan ensures families have continued access to health care while immediately relieving financial pressures on the territories. The legislation provides a path away from capped federal funds for Medicaid program to several years of increased allotments - $756 million for USVI. It also implements important program integrity provisions, including a new asset verification system and payment error rate measurements, both already required for state Medicaid programs. All territories will also need to report annually to Congress on the expenditures of increased Medicaid funds.
'The Territories Health Care Improvement Act creates a new funding structure increasing the matching rate Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP):
U.S. Virgin Islands: 100 percent for one year, 83 percent for four years, and 75 percent for one year.
'The bipartisan legislation was co-introduced by Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico), and co-sponsored by: Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Michael San Nicolas (D-Guam), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-Islas Marianas), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Peter King (R-NY).'