»‘Changing law by addressing cap, FMAP great for CNMI, other territories’
The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. fully supports Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi’s (D-PR) 26-page H.R. 2635, that seeks to level the playing field for Medicare and Medicaid for U.S. territories.
This bill, now with both the U.S House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees, will provide the territories with state-like treatment within well-defined parameters. This could also mean that the annual funding cap would be eliminated.
Each territory would receive a Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage based on its per capita income. As of now, the current FMAP is 55 percent, largely due to the Affordable Care Act.
The U.S. mainland currently has no limit on the amount of funding the federal government will provide for Medicaid as long as the state provides its share of matching funds.
CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña said the corporation running the hospital is absolutely appreciative of the bill being introduced by Pierluisi and co-sponsors—delegates Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), and Stacey Plaskett (D-VI).
“The CNMI, like other territories, is not treated the same as other states. Unlike the 50 states, the FMAP for the CNMI and the territories is limited to 50 percent and the funding is capped,” Muña said.
“We are fortunate that Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act funds supplement the cap to meet the health care needs for the CNMI population but once the funding is exhausted, the CNMI will have inadequate funds,” she added.
With the CNMI receiving only $109 million in ACA funds for the Medicaid program, once funds are exhausted the hospital could lose millions after the end of fiscal year 2019.
“CHCC is pleased that this bill is introduced and there is again a discussion of this disparity for the people of the CNMI. Changing the law by addressing the cap and the FMAP will be great for the CNMI and the other territories,” Muña said.