Fed funding bill passes securing Medicaid permanent rate for Am Samoa
Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata is highlighting passage of the 2022-2023 Appropriations bills by both the Senate and House days before Christmas, sending the legislation to President Biden to be signed into law. Known as an Omnibus, the $1.7 trillion legislation includes new permanence for American Samoa’s federal matching rate of 83 percent for all Medicaid expenses, plus a $1 million increase to the ASG Operations budget held by the Department of the Interior.
The omnibus, a series of bills contained in over 4,000 pages, establishes funding for departments and agencies across the federal government, and it includes two major victories for American Samoa, along with other yearly funding and grants locally.
First, Congress made permanent an increase that was first passed in 2019 bringing the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for the four smaller territories to 83 percent after years at 55 percent. The FMAP is the percentage of Medicaid healthcare services that the federal government will pay. These changes will allow the American Samoa Government to invest even more resources to other areas of healthcare, while also allowing potential healthcare providers more stability as they provide important services to American Samoa.
Second, the legislation also included an increase of $1 million to the ASG operations account at the Department of the Interior. The ASG operations account funds critical ASG services like the judiciary. This marks the sixth consecutive increase at the request of Congresswoman Amata – the second largest boost of the six years – bringing the cumulative total to over $5.3 million, after years of level federal funding in this account for the Territory.
“This permanent extension of the FMAP to 83 percent is a wonderful victory for the territories and all of us in Congress that shared this priority, as our people can now count on this non-emergency rate of federal support for the long term, rather than year-to-year,” said Congresswoman Amata. “We appreciate the work of Medicaid Director Sandra King-Young and her staff on this program.”
“I am also thankful for another successful increase to the operations account so these funds can be put to work for our people,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “Over the past six years these changes accumulate to $5.3 million as of 2023, which would become over $50 million by maintaining that for the next ten years.”
“Finally, I want to once again thank the leadership of the Appropriations committees, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Richard Shelby, and Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Kay Granger; House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva and Ranking Member Westerman; and Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris-Rodgers of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. My territorial colleagues, especially Rep. Stacey Plaskett of the US Virgin Islands and Rep. Kilili Sablan of the Northern Marianas, are dependable partners in the bipartisan goals to improve health care and federal services for all the territories.”