US House passes ‘doc fix’ bill, Kilili says


The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to expand funding for the Commonwealth Health Center to $7.2 billion and to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP for another two years.

According to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), the bill, referred to the “doc fix” bill, was passed on a bipartisan vote of 392 to 37.

Although the Senate must still act on the bill, the White House has said that President Obama supports the measure, Sablan said.

In the Northern Mariana Islands, the Kagman Community Health Center will be receiving $887,173 in the current fiscal year.

NMI CHIP, which provides health insurance for children from low-income families, receives about $999,756 this year and is expected to increase to $1.4 million in fiscal year 2016 in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Sablan said.

H.R. 2 also fixes a longstanding problem with the reimbursement rates for doctors who treat patients on Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors. 

Sablan said he is a cosponsor of the Medicaid and CHIP Territory Transparency and Information Act.

”Data for the insular areas is often in short supply, and without data it can be difficult to build a case for changes in federal law to benefit us. That is why I am an original cosponsor of the Medicaid and CHIP Territory Transparency and Information Act, introduced this week by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida),” he said.

The bill, H.R. 1570, requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to publish online information on how Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP, are carried out in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Both Medicaid and CHIP provide medical care for those who cannot afford it. Currently, data for the 50 states and the District of Columbia is posted at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services website,

H.R. 1570 requires that data from the insular areas be collected and posted, including the number and incomes of people enrolled in the two programs and the federal and local share of spending. Information will also be required about the Medicaid and CHIP plans in each insular area.

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at

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