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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesDELEGATE MOVES BILL TO LIFT MEDICAID CAP

DELEGATE MOVES BILL TO LIFT MEDICAID CAP

Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen introduced a bill in Congress on Thursday to remove the cap on the amount of federal dollars provided to U.S. territories for Medicaid.
Christensen’s bill also seeks to increase the amount the federal government covers for Medicaid from the current 50 percent to 77 percent. Medicaid is for the most part the only way elderly, low-income and disabled people receive medical care in the U.S. and its territories. However, territories like the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico receive limited funding because they don’t directly contribute to the program in federal taxes.
In the Virgin Islands, there are some 15,000 people eligible for Medicaid, according to V.I. Department of Health statistics. Christensen and others who support lifting the cap, which currently stands at $670 per eligible person compared to $3,300 per person on the mainland, argue that it would mean better health care for residents of the territories and free up local dollars for other pressing purposes.
"In this time of record surplus federal dollars there is no reason why the American citizens residing in territories should not be afforded the same level of federal support for health care that is enjoyed by the residents of the 50 states," Christensen said.
A hurdle that will have to be cleared is convincing Congress to lift the cap for all territories, which includes Puerto Rico and its 3.8 million residents.
Christensen’s bill comes on the heels of the governors of the U.S. territories sending a letter to President Clinton asking him to increase Medicaid payments to the territories by 20 percent each year for the next five years until the current cap on payments is lifted.
Groups such as V.I. Find, Lutheran Social Services and the University of the Virgin Islands have come together to form a lobbying group, the Medicaid Task Force.
Christensen said she applauded the efforts of Priscilla Berry Quetal, director of the Medicaid Program of the V.I., Ellie Hirsch of the Virgin Islands University Affiliated Program of UVI, Chris Finch of Lutheran Social Services, V.I. Find, the American Association of Retired Persons, the Interfaith Coalition and the Women's Coalition to have the cap lifted.
"Lifting the Medicaid cap has become the primary focus of many interested parties and community groups, both in and out of government, by which to raise the standard of health care in the territory," Christensen said.

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Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen introduced a bill in Congress on Thursday to remove the cap on the amount of federal dollars provided to U.S. territories for Medicaid.
Christensen’s bill also seeks to increase the amount the federal government covers for Medicaid from the current 50 percent to 77 percent. Medicaid is for the most part the only way elderly, low-income and disabled people receive medical care in the U.S. and its territories. However, territories like the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico receive limited funding because they don’t directly contribute to the program in federal taxes.
In the Virgin Islands, there are some 15,000 people eligible for Medicaid, according to V.I. Department of Health statistics. Christensen and others who support lifting the cap, which currently stands at $670 per eligible person compared to $3,300 per person on the mainland, argue that it would mean better health care for residents of the territories and free up local dollars for other pressing purposes.
"In this time of record surplus federal dollars there is no reason why the American citizens residing in territories should not be afforded the same level of federal support for health care that is enjoyed by the residents of the 50 states," Christensen said.
A hurdle that will have to be cleared is convincing Congress to lift the cap for all territories, which includes Puerto Rico and its 3.8 million residents.
Christensen’s bill comes on the heels of the governors of the U.S. territories sending a letter to President Clinton asking him to increase Medicaid payments to the territories by 20 percent each year for the next five years until the current cap on payments is lifted.
Groups such as V.I. Find, Lutheran Social Services and the University of the Virgin Islands have come together to form a lobbying group, the Medicaid Task Force.
Christensen said she applauded the efforts of Priscilla Berry Quetal, director of the Medicaid Program of the V.I., Ellie Hirsch of the Virgin Islands University Affiliated Program of UVI, Chris Finch of Lutheran Social Services, V.I. Find, the American Association of Retired Persons, the Interfaith Coalition and the Women's Coalition to have the cap lifted.
"Lifting the Medicaid cap has become the primary focus of many interested parties and community groups, both in and out of government, by which to raise the standard of health care in the territory," Christensen said.