Amata Radewagen

08/04/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/04/2021 19:08

Amata Welcomes President’s Support for Medicaid Priorities

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Uifa'atali Amata is welcoming a response letter from the Biden Administration directly expressing President Biden's support for a Medicaid priority that is shared by the Territories, as introduced legislatively earlier this year with the unanimous bipartisan backing of the Representatives of the Insular Areas.

The letter from Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shalanda Young states clearly, 'the President supports eliminating Medicaid funding caps for the U.S. Territories while aligning their matching rate with States.'

This letter, which is in response to Amata and the other Members of Congress, goes on to say, 'The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to enact and implement legislation to strengthen Medicaid programs in U.S. Territories.'

Last month, House leaders reached agreement on an eight-year Medicaid plan for American Samoa and the other territories. Upon passage, that would guarantee the nation's best standard federal match of 83 percent for the next eight years - locking in the major improvement that began last year following years of a standard 55-45 percent split.

In May, Congresswoman Aumua Amata worked with sponsor Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, colleagues from all the Territories and other key Members of Congress in introducing legislation together to also lift Medicaid caps completely on American Samoa and other territories, as part of the Territories Health Equity Act of 2021 (H.R. 3434).

In this letter, the President has officially supported this position, strengthening its case in Congress. Original cosponsors of that Plaskett bill include Reps. González-Colón, Aumua Amata, Sablan, San Nicolas, Soto, Velázquez, Grijalva, Pressley, Clarke, and Torres of New York.

'We continue to work together, see a lot accomplished, and welcome lots of good funding news like this,' said Congresswoman Amata. 'The President's position echoes our call for full parity regarding Medicaid and other benefit programs that our people deserve. We've made great progress with the matching rate, and are working to preserve and extend improvements.'

Among other things, the territories support:

  • eliminating Medicaid funding limits for U.S. territories, beginning next fiscal year;
  • improving Medicare reimbursements to hospitals in U.S. territories;
  • permitting Medicaid and Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments to U.S. territories;
  • allowing residents of U.S. territories to be eligible for low-income subsidies under the Medicare prescription drug benefit; and
  • allowing residents of U.S. territories who are unable to obtain health insurance through their employer or a health insurance exchange to instead access marketplace insurance coverage that is available to Members of Congress and congressional staff.