New health bill ignores insular areas

Mar 12, 2017

When President Trump promised “insurance for everyone,” I had hopes the resulting legislation, replacing Obamacare, would include Americans living in the insular areas. It does not. I spoke out against this failure at a mark-up of three smaller health care bills in the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

The Obamacare replacement, which was approved by two other committees, has tax credits to help middle-income people purchase health insurance and per-capita funding for the Medicaid insurance program for those with lower incomes. A tax credit, covered by the federal government, was a key proposal in the letter I led at the beginning of this Congress setting out the health care goals of the five congressional representatives from the insular areas — Republicans and Democrats.

A per-capita Medicaid grant could also be an improvement for our areas. But the bill now moving forward only covers persons in states or the District of Columbia. The insular areas have our work cut out for us in the weeks ahead.