San Nicolas: Guam poised for largest Medicaid relief in history

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With the deadline for funding approaching on Dec. 21 to avoid a federal government shutdown, Congressman Michael San Nicolas says Guam is positioned for a historic relief in the Medicaid program.

Under the critical appropriations bill HR 1865, also known as the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020,” San Nicolas said Guam will realize a federal matching rate of 17 percent local to 83 percent federal for FY 2020 and 2021, versus historic matching rates of 45 percent local to 55 percent federal.

“The reduction in local match is a dramatic savings for our people, as it will cost us half as much in local dollars to provide the same care,” San Nicolas said in a news release. “With our hospital in desperate need of funds, this matching relief means more dollars can go directly to GMH to resolve critical issues they are facing,”

Also in the bill is a massive increase in the allotted cap on federal matching funds available. With the exception of the temporary increases that are now expiring under the Affordable Care Act, Guam’s cap of available Medicaid funds would be limited to $17 million to $18 million and is dramatically lower than what Guam actually needs.

With HR 1865, San Nicolas said the cap will rise almost 10-fold to $127 million for FY 2020 and 2021.

“Not only does this potential matching environment give us the ability to double our buying power, the cap increase allows us to further leverage our Medicaid healthcare spending to ten times what it otherwise would have been,” the congressman said.

“I would like to thank my fellow Territory colleagues who made sure we all held the line on this, and our leadership in the House for recognizing the fact that all we are seeking is what every other American would have anywhere else in America,” San Nicolas added.

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