Equally American Supports the Insular Area Medicaid Parity Act

Equally American sent letters today to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee in support of the Insular Area Medicaid Parity Act, H.R. 6495, which seeks to eliminate the general Medicaid funding limitations for Territories of the United States. 

Medicaid enables health providers to care for millions of vulnerable Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. Congress allocates Medicaid funds to states based on residents’ per capita income. However, Congress has historically capped funding for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa well below these territories’ actual need.

Congress increased Medicaid funding to territories in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but this funding bump expires in  2021. It is unclear whether Congress will extend it, setting the stage for a Medicaid cliff that has life or death consequences for Americans living in the territories.

“Disparities in federal Medicaid policy leave U.S. territories without adequate funding to ensure a basic level of healthcare. This practice is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest and unjustly excludes members of the vary class of individuals whom the Medicaid program was designed to serve,” said Neil Weare, President and Founder of Equally American, a non-partisan civil rights group that fights to advance equality for the nearly 4 million Americans living in U.S. territories.

“All Americans should have equal rights, wherever they live. That is why Equally American strongly supports the Insular Area Medicaid Parity Act, which would eliminate the arbitrary and discriminatory limitation of Medicaid funding for U.S. territories and enable some of America’s most vulnerable citizens to access the healthcare they need and deserve,” Weare added.

The Insular Area Medicaid Parity Act was introduced by Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands, and as of May 4, 2020 had 21 bi-partisan co-sponsors. The bill is pending consideration in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Equally American's letters to the House Energy and Commerce Committee are available here, and the referenced Op-Ed attached to the letter is available here.

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published this page in Equally American Blog 2020-05-04 11:19:22 -0400