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Fed legislation expected to become law this week includes Medicaid deal for the territories

Congresswoman Amata this week with Chairman Shelby
Source: Office of the Congresswoman

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata is welcoming “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020” — the Medicaid deal that is expected to become law later this week, successfully avoiding the Medicaid cliff.

For American Samoa, this is expected to lock in a new increased spending cap of $84 million each year for the next two years, which is a 600 percent increase over the former $12 million. The federal share would rise to the maximum 83 percent, which is the most allowed by the FMAP formula. This is a steep improvement over the previous federal cost share of 55 percent, which the territories argued was not equitable with the states.

Those key numbers are expected to stay the same as the Senate breakthrough agreement announced last weekend, except for the duration, which became two years under the compromise reached by House and Senate leaders to fund the federal government.

The new FMAP for USVI, Guam, American Samoa, and the CNMI will be 83 percent (the statutory maximum for the state FMAP formula) for two years, while Puerto Rico’s FMAP will be 76 percent for that time.

“This Medicaid agreement should pass rapidly this week now, which is great news,” said Aumua Amata. “This action delivers major increases to American Samoa. We now have important equity with the states in the FMAP formula at the maximum 83 percent, which establishes a precedent to preserve higher rates in the future.”

“Congratulations to Governor Lolo, as this provision is the result of years of long work and cooperation by all the territorial representatives and all of the territorial governors,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “Thank you to the Appropriations leaders, Chairman Richard Shelby in the Senate and Chairman Nita Lowey in the House for this bipartisan policy on funding the territories and the whole country, along with others on the Senate Finance Committee that I spoke to on their trip through American Samoa a few months ago and my dedicated House colleagues from the territories.”

“I’m proud to have cosponsored the House efforts toward this bipartisan agreement which preserved important priorities for American Samoa,” concluded Amata.


Sandra King Young, Medicaid Director of the American Samoa Medicaid State Agency in an email noted that “our thanks goes out to Bettilou Taylor, our Washington, DC, representative that worked hard up to the 11th hour to get this language in the minibus through the approps committees.”

She noted it is “a bipartisan bill and is expected to pass and be signed.”

King Young said, “The best news today!!! We should all be so super excited. Thank you to all of my fellow Medicaid Directors for entrusting me to be your representative on NAMD to help tell our stories, thank you for being present at the hearings so Congress can hear our stories, and for attending our meetings whenever we had to opportunity to tell our stories. This is historic for all of us.”