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Gov calls Medicaid Task Force to develop program

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has appointed a six-member Medicaid Task Force who will develop and recommend for his review and approval the Medicaid Format (Medicaid Expansion, Medicaid Insurance Exchange, Combination or a new hybrid that American Samoa will adopt.)


According to the memorandum issued yesterday, Lolo noted that the Affordable Care Act popularly known as the Obama Healthcare Act (or Obamacare) dramatically transformed the Medicaid Program with regard to financing healthcare services for the United States and its territories.


“While the intent of the Obama Healthcare Initiative is meritorious, providing the cart blanche opportunity for all Americans to be insured, the implementing infrastructure unfortunately is not yet ready to fully accomplish the vision of this healthcare program," he wrote, adding that "It has been acknowledged by the Federal Government that the Affordable Care Act framework and infrastructure was not developed for the Territories, thus exacerbating the implementation process for American Samoa and the other territories.”


Lolo said during his meetings with Hawaii’s Governor Neil Abercrombie, he strongly recommended that it might be to the territory's benefit to develop and establish a local program that is reflective of the needs of the territory, instead of struggling to meet federal regulations which lack program specificity for the territories.


The members of the new Task Force include LBJ Hospital CEO Joseph Davis Fleming, Director of Health Tuileama Motusa Nua, DOC Director Keniseli Lafaele, DHSS Director Meki Solomona, Andra Samoa CEO of American Samoa State Agency and Iulogologo Joseph Pereira.


Lolo has appointed Sandra King Young, as Director of the Medicaid Office, to Chair this group. The governor also gave the Task Force 45 days to complete its work culminating with a presentation of their recommendations for his decision.