Kilili: No Medicaid “cliff” for Marianas

Sep 19, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Federal Medicaid for the Marianas will be $64,010,000 for fiscal year 2022, beginning October 1, Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan announced today. “The Biden administration has sent notification to the Marianas Medicaid Director,” Sablan said. “Rather than dealing with a Medicaid ‘cliff,’ the Commonwealth will actually be eligible for more money in fiscal 2022 than we received this year. This is very good news.”

Future years’ funding will increase by an inflation factor based on $64 million, eliminating future cliffs, the Congressman added.

Congressman Sablan has been working on the inadequacy of Medicaid funding throughout his years in office. He was able to get a substantial increase in funding for the Marianas included in the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, in 2010. When that money expired two years ago, he secured an even larger increase to $60,000,000 per year for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 in U.S. Public Law 116-94.

USPL 116-94 also gave the Biden administration the basis for its decision this week to apply a statutory inflation factor to the current amount and award the Marianas with $64 million beginning October 1 and to use $64 million as the basis for calculating future year increases.

“We have been working with the Biden administration for months on this issue,” Sablan said. “We asked the President to make a commitment to Medicaid for the insular areas in his 2022 budget proposal; and he did. I am very grateful to his support and to my former House colleague HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra for this week’s decision to permanently increase funding.” 

USPL 116-94 also lowered the local match for the Marianas from 45 percent to 17 percent, but under current law the local match will rise again in fiscal 2022 to 39 percent.

“We are currently making the case to Republicans in Congress to continue the local match at 17 percent,” Congressman Sablan said. “We want to include that extension in the continuing resolution that will be voted on next week to keep the government funded.

“So far, I understand that Republicans have said they are opposed to keeping the local match at the lower level. So, I am asking Governor Torres to begin calling his Republican colleagues who are standing in the way.

“If the Governor cannot convince his Republican friends, then he has the $483 million that we provided him in American Rescue Plan Act a few months ago to make the local match – only about $29 million.

“With all that cash at his disposal, I certainly hope the Governor will be willing to help the 38,000 people in the Marianas who depend on Medicaid for their health care,” Congressman Sablan said.

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