Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios said Wednesday that the eight-year Medicaid funding for the CNMI in the amount of $482.35 million is a victory for the CNMI and a huge accomplishment on the part of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP).
Palacios said in an interview that their administration and even the previous administration have been on that path to try to have the U.S. Congress amend the laws so that the CNMI’s share of Medicaid is lower than what it was.
To Sablan’s credit, he said, the CNMI will receive an eight-year funding where the Commonwealth’s share is now 17% instead of the previous 55%. “That would take a lot of pressure off the general fund to fund healthcare in the Commonwealth,” Palacios said.
In his e-kilili newsletter last weekend, Sablan said Marianas Medicaid will get $482,350,000 under the terms of a bipartisan agreement approved by the U.S. House Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee last week Thursday.
Sablan said H.R. 4406 also sets the local match requirement for the Marianas at 17%—lower than for any state.
The delegate said their deal extends through 2029 the two-year funding increase and 83/17 improved federal/local matching rates that they enacted in 2020 for the CNMI, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Palacios said that’s a huge win for Sablan, the Commonwealth, and all other insular areas and their respective congressional members.
“I congratulate and commend Kilili,” said Palacios, adding that this is something he and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres have tried to advocate because it’s one of their common objectives.
He said it has to be a congressional action and Sablan and the other members of insular areas and other members of Congress finally got it done this year.
“It’s huge for all insular areas, including the Commonwealth. That’s something that we’ve got to give him credit for,” Palacios said.