Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said she’s always been an advocate for healthcare access in the community, especially for the island’s most vulnerable populations.
She told Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo Wednesday morning that she’s glad FAS migrants are finally allowed back into the Medicaid program and that it’s long overdue.
The governor said the inclusion of FAS migrants in Medicaid is important not just for Guam but for FAS residents across the country.
Many migrants from the Freely Associated States have come to rely on the Medically Indigent Program, also known as MIP, after being barred from Medicaid in 1996.
MIP is a local program that draws from the GovGuam general fund.
Medicaid covers FAS migrants for emergency services but doesn’t provide coverage for outpatient or dental services.
Guam Public Health says that $12 to $13 million in MIP funds was spent to support FAS migrants last year.
There are currently more than 8,600 FAS migrants on the MIP program.
The governor said access to healthcare for any one community protects the entire island, especially in light of the pandemic.
“I do want the Micronesian community to please access healthcare. What we were finding when we were out there testing is that there was a wide spread (of COVID) in the Micronesian community, and one of the reasons is because of the lack of access to healthcare, in terms of affordability,” Leon Guerrero said.
The governor says she hopes to expand Guam’s Medicaid program so that more people, in general, will be able to qualify, especially because of the financial hardship brought on by the pandemic.