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Extension of federal govt funding includes additional month at 100% Medicaid Match

Congresswoman Aumua Amata
Source: Office of the Congresswoman

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata said that the House has passed an extension of level federal government spending that includes an extra month for American Samoa’s 100 percent federal Medicaid match rate, now extended another 30 days through December 20, 2019.

This is the second extension for the Medicaid assistance passed earlier in the year, previously extended about eight weeks from Sept. 30 through Nov. 21. In the meantime, work has continued in Congress toward providing a long-term Medicaid policy that would provide a lower cost share for American Samoa than the standard 55-45 percent match for the next several years, along with raising the cap on current spending.

(Editor’s note: Read NPR report on the “Shame of Medicaid Funding in the Territories linked today on this website.)

The current special rate of 100 percent assistance has freed millions of dollars in funding this year that otherwise would have been used up as the Territory’s 45 percent standard Medicaid share.

“The House has passed short term government funding that adds another month at the 100 percent Medicaid rate for American Samoa,” said Aumua Amata. “This special Medicaid assistance passed initially because of Storm Gita, and has been helpful for our Territory. I will continue working for Medicaid policy improvements that could be a significant improvement over the former 45 percent match requirement for the Territory.”

The effort to secure long term Medicaid relief is ongoing in Congress. Congresswoman Amata participated in bipartisan development of the House effort, and was an original cosponsor of one of its building blocks, the Territories Health Care Improvement Act, H.R. 3631. That bill became part of a larger bill that she also cosponsored: H.R. 2328, The Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act. Congress’s final legislation will be a compromise between the House and Senate.

“I am urging Congress to complete a policy for the Territories that strengthens American Samoa’s health care and finances, and provides a stable, better match rate for several years,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “I’m pleased that both Senate and House leaders seem committed to getting this important effort over the finish line.”