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Delegates Continue Effort to Remove Medicaid Caps

Sept. 16, 2004 – Delegate Donna M. Christensen, along with her colleagues Delegates Madeleine Bordallo of Guam and Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa, met Wednesday with the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to urge him to keep his promise to provide the territories with $8 million in additional Medicaid dollars.
The lack of Medicaid funding has been blamed for financial struggles at V.I. hospitals and could lead to a cutback in services. (See "Study Says St. Croix Patients' Costs the Lowest in U.S.").
According to a press release from Christensen's office, Joe Barton, the committee chairman, promised Delegates Christensen, Bordallo and Faleomavaega to find a way to provide them with the additional $8 million in exchange for withdrawing their recent amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. (See "Territories Push for More Money For Medicaid").
"I want to thank Chairman Barton for his willingness to work with us to address the inequities in the Medicaid funding that we receive," Christensen said in the release. "We had a very good meeting and the chairman explained that he was committed to helping us secure the $8 million we were seeking with our amendment, before Congress adjourns this year. He also promised to work with us to hold a hearing on my bill to lift the cap altogether, when Congress reconvenes next year."
She introduced her bill in November of last year. (See "Federal Health Bill Would End V.I. Medicaid Cap"). A release earlier this year 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.
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