Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) Director Art San Agustin on Monday submitted letters supporting H.R. 4406 to bipartisan authors, Congressman Darren Soto and Congressman Gus Bilirakis.
In her letter, Governor Leon Guerrero requested language within the bill that would extend equitable treatment to territories under the Medicaid program and provide a permanent solution for sufficient funding allotments.
“The true necessity of this legislation is represented in the numbers. Historically, Guam and the territories have been shortchanged when it comes to adequate Medicaid funding, or we have been burdened by high matching requirements, preventing our most in-need from availing of critical health services,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “Congressman Soto and Congressman Bilirakis have been exemplary allies to the territories, and we are hopeful they will further champion our needs in the Capitol.”
The measure will extend Guam’s increased Medicaid funding and temporary federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) to 83% for the next eight years.
“We have seen the positive impact that additional Medicaid funding has had on the government’s ability to ensure healthcare access to our most in-need,” added Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio. “We thank the hard-working individuals of the DPHSS Public Welfare Division, under the leadership of DPHSS Director Art San Agustin, for their diligent and swift processing of Medicaid applicants, expeditious payments of claims, and for securing health services for our people.”
DPHSS Director San Agustin stated, “Extending the increase on Medicaid FMAP and cap amounts for the territories will provide greater access to health care. Providers will continue to accept Medicaid patients knowing there is enough funding to compensate for their services. Thus, Medicaid patients will no longer delay seeing their physician or go to the emergency room where their primary physician discontinued accepting them. This will lessen the non-emergency use of hospital emergency services and reduce the uncompensated care for emergency room use. Additionally, this will provide Guam’s Medicaid program with the flexibility to develop innovative approaches using federal funding to purchase private insurance for some of its recipients. Furthermore, it will also promote Guam’s economic growth because providers will be paid timely, treat more Medicaid recipients, and have additional resources to spend which translates to greater tax revenues.”
(Office of the Governor Release)