Bipartisan health bill advancing with millions in new Medicaid funds for American Samoa
Washington, D.C. – Thursday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed momentum for a bipartisan health bill, on which she is an original cosponsor, that would provide substantial new funding for Medicaid in American Samoa.
“This is extremely good news for American Samoa,” said Aumua Amata. “This bill would provide tens of millions of dollars in increased support for our Medicaid program over the next six years, and reduce the Territory’s share of costs. This is a win-win that would benefit the health care of our people and strengthen the finances of our Territory considerably.”
Congresswoman Amata is an original cosponsor of the Territories Health Care Improvement Act, H.R. 3631, introduced just this week by Reps. Darren Soto (D-FL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and promptly voted on and passed by bipartisan voice vote Thursday by the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. It now moves to the full Committee for the next step.
“I want to especially thank Congressman Soto and Congressman Bilirakis for their important leadership on behalf of the health needs of all the Territories,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “This bill represents an important change in how Medicaid is delivered to the Territories and will likely mean permanent improvements for American Samoa.”
Specifically, the bill provides an increase of federal funding from $12 million to $84 million per year, and includes 100 percent full federal cost coverage over the next two years so that ASG has zero costs through 2021; 83 percent federal cost coverage in years 3 thru 5 so the local match is only 17 percent, and then a 76-24 percent cost share for the year following. “Normally there is a 55-45 percent federal to territory cost share so this is a major improvement in the cost share, along with an increase of $72 million in available funding over existing amounts. This will substantially reduce the Territory’s costs and save the government tens of millions in the coming years so services can be improved at LBJ,” the congresswoman concluded.