73.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, February 6, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesTerritories Push for More Money For Medicaid

Territories Push for More Money For Medicaid

Sept. 8, 2004 –Virgin Islanders eligible for Medicaid receive just a little more than a tenth of what is the national average, according to the V. I. Medicaid Office.
This disparity, the result of a cap on Medicaid funding for the islands, has been a bone of contention between federal and island officials. Delegate Donna Christensen has made numerous attempts to have it removed. In July she requested the federal General Accountability Office to make a study of its impact on the islands.
This week she joined Delegates Madeleine Bordallo of Guam and Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa in sponsoring an amendment to the Department of Labor, Health &Human Services and Education Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2005 to provide a 25 percent increase in Medicaid payments to the territories. The amendment would provide and additional $2.5 million a year in Medicaid payments.
The amendment was ruled out of order.
"I want to commend my colleagues from Guam and American Samoa for their leadership in championing increased Medicaid funding for our constituents," Christensen said. "We are going to continue this fight using every opportunity to press our case for more equitable health care funding for all Americans."
A press release from her office stated the territory receives about $436 for each of the approximately 15,000 people eligible for federal Medicaid assistance. The national average is about $3,800 per eligible person.
The release added, because of the cap on Medicaid payments to the territories, the federal government covers only about $6 million of the $15 million in annual Medicaid bills in the Virgin Islands forcing the local government to pick up the difference.
Christensen's most recent effort to lift the Medicaid cap was in a national health care bill, which was sponsored by the Democratic leadership of the House and the Senate in Congress last October. (See "Federal Health Bill Would End V.I. Medicaid Gap" ).
Medicaid is the major public financing program to provide health and long-term care coverage for the nation's low-income residents, and one in 10 Americans is covered, according to testimony before a V.I. Senate committee last year. The assistance is available to those with income of not more than $8,500 and savings of not more than $1,800 for a family of four. Those served include children, pregnant women, the elderly and the totally disabled.
While federal law provides for a 50/50 split in federal and state funding for the program, the V.I. government has ended up paying a much higher proportion because of the $5.59 million federal cap.
Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Croix Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice… click here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.