The U.S. Senate overnight passed a spending bill that includes $127 million in Medicaid funding for Guam in this fiscal year, and another $127 million in the 2021 fiscal year.
The measure also reduces the amount of local matching funds needed to access that $127 million from 45 percent now to just 17 percent.
Earlier this week, the administrator of Public Health’s Division of Public Welfare, Tess Arcangel, said final approval of the Medicaid funding can’t come soon enough for Guam.
Some 44,000 people on island qualify for Medicaid and Arcangel said GovGuam has just about run out of the remaining ObamaCare funds to cover most of them.
The Guam Medicaid funding is a small part of the nearly $1.4 trillion spending package that will keep the federal government funded and avert yet another threatened government shutdown.
The Senate vote follows early approval of the bill by the U.S. House.
The measure now moves on to President Trump who has said he would sign it.
Transfer Authority for Border Wall Remains
The spending package preserves President Trump’s authority to transfer funds from Pentagon accounts to finance new construction on the wall he wants to build along the southern border with Mexico.
Earlier this year, Congressman Michael San Nicolas said Navy Secretary Richard Spencer advised him that $243.2 million in Guam buildup project funds would be diverted for the border wall.
However, San Nicolas said the transfer did not include funds committed to projects that have already been awarded and no projects would be canceled, although some might be delayed.