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Medicaid program high on Lolo’s ‘to-do’ list

fili@samoanews.com

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is keen on making sure that American Samoa gets every penny it is entitled to under the Medicaid program, through provisions of federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) better known as Obamacare.
 
With the complicated issues involved in Obamacare, the governor will soon appoint a new director of the American Samoa Medicaid Office, which is under the jurisdiction of the Governor’s Office.
 
The Medicaid Office has been headed for many years by Niuatoa A. Puletasi, who is also the Medicaid officer.
 
“More money is made available under the Obamacare Act however we are trying to find ways to ensure that every penny to which American Samoa can qualify will be pursued with vigor,” the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira told Samoa News.
 
“Medicaid could be the best source of funding for LBJ and the Health Department,” he said via e-mail from the mainland last Friday morning while en route to the territory with the governor and ASG officials who attended meetings in Washington D.C.
 
“The Obama Healthcare Act is complicated hence Governor Lolo upon his return home will review the applications received for the Medicaid Officer/Director,” said Iulogologo, who added that this federal health care act, with its Medicaid provisions were discussed during the Washington D.C. and the Lolo administration has sought assistance from Congressman Faleomavaega Eni.
 
LBJ is already estimating a loss of $1.35 million annually in federal Medicaid funding, because the number of “presumed eligibles” for Medicaid dropped from 87%of the population to 73% of the population, according to the hospital’s FY 2013 first quarter performance report.
 
More details on this issue as well as the 2% wage tax to fund LBJ Medical Center operations will be in tomorrow’s Samoa News edition.



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