When the U.S. House of Representatives returns to an August special session next week to consider a bill extending increased Medicaid and teacher job funding, the U.S. Virgin Islands stands to receive millions, according to Delegate Donna Christensen.
On Tuesday, the House will consider HR 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act which was passed by the Senate Thursday. The lifting of the Medicaid cap will result in an additional $2.1 million in the second and third quarters of Fiscal Year 2011, Christensen said in a statement. The U.S. Department of Education projects the Virgin Islands could receive as much as $13 million for teacher retention too, she said.
Christensen and other territorial delegates worked together for the 30-percent Medicaid cap increase contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. HR 1586 will extend that increase until the health care reform measures in the Patient Protection and Affordable Act take effect in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2011. According to Christensen, the bill provides funding to save or create 140,000 teacher, nurse, police or firefighter jobs in the states and territories.
“This is certainly an infusion of funds aimed at helping local governments continue to provide services in recessionary times,” she said.
Funding is completely paid for through cost saving aspects of the health reform bill and cuts the national deficit by $1.4 billion over 10 years, Christensen said.