More federal coronavirus support for Guam in the pipeline


The House is expected to pass HR 6201 the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” today pushing out further federal support to fight the coronavirus pandemic, with the President expressing his support and the Senate expected to act as well, Congressman Michael San Nicolas stated.

With HR 6201, San Nicolas said the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage is increased by another 8%, making Guam’s Medicaid match even better at 91% federal to 9% local. As such, to access a million dollars in Medicaid Guam only needs to commit $90,000.

“Just a year ago it used to cost Guam $450,000 to access a million in Medicaid spending, now it’s just $90,000, saving the government a dramatic $360,000 per million. These savings can help us treat more people, or offset economic impacts with tax relief, and completely transforms our options as far as healthcare is concerned,” San Nicolas said.

In addition to the FMAP increase, the following resources are provided in HR 6201:

  • $500 million in SNAP to low-income households with young children whose breadwinners lose their jobs or laid off due to COVID19 administered through the SNAP (USDept Ag)
  • $400 million to local food banks to assist in meeting demand for low-income families during emergency administered through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (USDept Ag)
  • Allows approved state plans to provide emergency SNAP assistance to households with children who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price school meals if not for their schools being closed due to the COVID-19 emergency. In order to be eligible, the child’s school must be closed for no less than five consecutive days. (USDept Ag)
  • $250 million for senior nutrition program (USDept Health & Human Services)
  • Suspends the work and work training requirements for SNAP recipients during the emergency (USDept Ag)
  • Federal employee paid leave benefits to those who are diagnosed, in quarantine, caring for someone diagnosed or under quarantine (USDOL)
  • 14 days available of paid sick leave in an emergency which covers days when child’s school is closed due to COVID19 or when an employer closes due to COVID19 (USDOL)
  • Reimburses small businesses for the 14 days (USDOL)
  • Free COVID19 testing (Dept Health & Human Services)

All of the aforementioned shall be coordinated directly with federal agencies by the State, Tribal, or Territorial governments similar to standard disaster-related correspondences such as typhoons or hurricanes.

“We stand ready to assist in any way the flow or follow-through of communications we are channeled in to and will continue to apprise the local government of any updates or opportunities to avail,” San Nicolas said.

(press release)