Congressman Michael San Nicolas said he is working with fellow members of the House of Representatives on a bill that will extend Medicaid funding to 100 percent up to FY 2022, gradually returning to 55 percent in FY 2025.
“While this measure is still in draft form in the Congress, its passage will free up Guam Medicaid appropriations for other purposes,” the Congressman stated in a letter to Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes and Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, the chairman of appropriations.
In light of the planned legislation, San Nicolas has urged the Guam Legislature to include language in the GovGuam FY 2020 budget to protect healthcare appropriations.
According to San Nicolas, recent information from the Legislature indicates that MIP funding is facing dramatic cuts due to healthcare budget constraints, while Medicaid matching funds remain intact.
“We need to include in the FY 2020 GovGuam budget language that will make sure that money stays in healthcare and funds MIP, rather than being diverted to non-healthcare areas,” San Nicolas added.
With the passage of the disaster relief bill in Congress, the $6 million healthcare Medicaid matching funds saved was offered for a local war claims program. However, San Nicolas said that the program has yet to materialize and the Guam Memorial Hospital, Guam Regional Medical City, and many healthcare vendors remain unpaid for MIP and other healthcare services provided to the community.
“The idling of the recently saved $6 million with the recent action by the Congress is a clear indicator of what may happen to future healthcare dollars if we don’t secure them by law,” said San Nicolas. “The Guam Legislature must ensure that any future action taken by Congress to increase available Guam funding for healthcare actually stays in healthcare.”