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Committee passes Amata-cosponsored bill with millions in support for American Samoa Medicaid

CMS Administrator Seema Verma with Congresswoman Amata
Source: Office of the Congresswoman

Washington, D.C.  — Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed the continuing rapid progress for a bipartisan health bill, introduced just last week, that would provide tens of million in funding for Medicaid in American Samoa.

Congresswoman Amata participated in bipartisan development of this bill and is an original cosponsor of the Territories Health Care Improvement Act, H.R. 3631. The Energy and Commerce Committee passed the legislation, as part of a larger bill that Amata also cosponsored.

American Samoa’s Medicaid funding is now Title 5 of H.R. 2328, The Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act (along with the No Surprises Act preventing unexpected medical billing), and the next step is consideration by the full House.

“This bill strengthens American Samoa’s health care and finances, while freeing up Territory funds for major priorities, such as efforts to improve LBJ facilities or equipment,” said Amata. It “has moved quickly with bipartisan support, and would mean tens of millions of dollars in support for our Medicaid program. Not only would there be immediate benefits, there would also be lasting help for six years.”

Specifically, the bill provides for a major increase in federal funding from $12 million to $84 million per year. The bill includes 100 percent full federal cost coverage over the next two years so that ASG has zero costs through 2021. In following years, the federal cost coverage becomes 83 percent in years 3-5 so the local match is only 17 percent, and finally, a 76-24 percent cost share for the final year of the six-year time frame.

“The Territories have typically been working with a 55-45 percent federal to territory cost share so these new percentages will make a big difference,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “Tens of millions in available federal funds for these services will ease the Territory’s costs and save money for other priorities.”

Congresswoman Amata welcomes the leadership on this effort by sponsoring Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and appreciates Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR).