By Troy Torres
Language in the federal government's omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2021 includes authorization for Compact of Free Association immigrants to be covered under Medicaid.
Currently, Guam's taxpayers foot the bill for thousands of immigrants through the local Medically Indigent Program (MIP), because COFA migrants have not been qualified to receive Medicaid coverage since 1996.
The government of Guam's fiscal year 2021 budget appropriates $14.5 million to the MIP. A large fraction of that amount pays for the healthcare of COFA immigrants. If the federal omnibus budget is signed into law, the government of Guam will be saving millions in healthcare costs that it can shift to leverage Medicaid dollars, and other needs.
"For the first time since 1996, COFA migrants are slated to qualify in the upcoming vote on federal government funding for Medicaid coverage, which is at over 80 percent for Guam since we had the formula adjusted earlier in the year," Congressman Michael San Nicolas said. "These two breakthroughs combined are huge for Guam, as it transfers Guam MIP cost centers to Medicaid, and has the costs covered over 80 percent federally compared to Guam absorbing it at 100 percent. More updates will be forthcoming over the next 24-48 hours, including on relief and stimulus packages."
Mr. San Nicolas has been advocating for this language to be included for some time now.