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Governor Seeks More Medicaid Help for Territory

Nov. 16, 2008 — As the U.S. economy continues to deteriorate, residents around the territory are getting hit with higher health-care costs and need more assistance under the federal Medicaid program, according to Gov. John deJongh Jr.
The governer, along with Gov. Felix Camacho of Guam and Gov. Benigno Gitial of the Northern Mariana Islands, recently sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for Congress to show support for the territories as it considers a new Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act, according to a Government House news release.
The bill would allow the 50 states and Washington, D.C., to increase their federal medical-assistance percent (FMAP) by up to three percentage points, based on criteria that reflects the current economic conditions on the mainland. But the territories would not be given the same advantage, according to deJongh.
"The territories are particularly vulnerable because of their discriminatory treatment under the Medicaid program," deJongh wrote. "While Mediciad is essentially administered as an entitlement program for individuals on the mainland, it is an arbitrarily capped program in the U.S. territories."
The territories' FMAP matching rate is currently capped at 50 percent.
"Under state-like treatment, the territories would be entitled to a … matching rate of 83 percent based on existing statutory criteria," deJongh wrote in his letter to Pelosi. "As governors of the insular areas, we urge you to support modification of the FMAP provisions in any stimulus bill enacted by Congress to reflect the actual health-care needs of our residents and our respective Medicaid programs."
The territories should at least be given the same rate as Washington, D.C., which has been set at 70 percent, deJongh wrote.
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Nov. 16, 2008 -- As the U.S. economy continues to deteriorate, residents around the territory are getting hit with higher health-care costs and need more assistance under the federal Medicaid program, according to Gov. John deJongh Jr.
The governer, along with Gov. Felix Camacho of Guam and Gov. Benigno Gitial of the Northern Mariana Islands, recently sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for Congress to show support for the territories as it considers a new Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act, according to a Government House news release.
The bill would allow the 50 states and Washington, D.C., to increase their federal medical-assistance percent (FMAP) by up to three percentage points, based on criteria that reflects the current economic conditions on the mainland. But the territories would not be given the same advantage, according to deJongh.
"The territories are particularly vulnerable because of their discriminatory treatment under the Medicaid program," deJongh wrote. "While Mediciad is essentially administered as an entitlement program for individuals on the mainland, it is an arbitrarily capped program in the U.S. territories."
The territories' FMAP matching rate is currently capped at 50 percent.
"Under state-like treatment, the territories would be entitled to a ... matching rate of 83 percent based on existing statutory criteria," deJongh wrote in his letter to Pelosi. "As governors of the insular areas, we urge you to support modification of the FMAP provisions in any stimulus bill enacted by Congress to reflect the actual health-care needs of our residents and our respective Medicaid programs."
The territories should at least be given the same rate as Washington, D.C., which has been set at 70 percent, deJongh wrote.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.