Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett released the following statement today regarding the Democrats’ introduction and passage of a continuing resolution that extends 100 percent federal funding to the Virgin Islands to sustain Medicaid through Nov. 21, 2019:
“The bill contains critical Medicaid relief for us. Supplemental funding has only been provided on temporary basis; and disaster-related Medicaid relief, in the form of a 100 percent federal match, only lasts through the end of this month. While the House has already passed appropriation bills, the Senate appropriations process is far behind. Because of this delay, we in the House have passed a continuing resolution to avoid another government shutdown. This continuing resolution will provide families, businesses, and communities with budget certainty while we negotiate long-term funding. Importantly, the legislation also extends a full waiver of any local matching funds for Medicaid in the Virgin Islands through Nov. 21.
“The territories are part of America, and we are American citizens. Federal law unfairly places Medicaid funding caps on the islands (unlike the states where funding is open-ended) and requires them to pay a much greater percentage of Medicaid than states of comparable income levels. I am pleased that through the hard work of my office, we were able to come to a short-term agreement to extend our Medicaid matching funds waiver, which was scheduled to expire at the end of the month, through Nov. 21, 2019. Without the fix in this bill, the rate of federal funds would plummet nearly fifty percentage points to the permanent, capped level of 55 percent. This agreement will ensure that Virgin Islanders will continue to have access to health care coverage while Congress works toward a long-term agreement. Our work is not done, and we must work toward a long-term deal to provide Medicaid funding certainty. I have sponsored legislation, H.R. 1354, to remove these caps permanently.
“I welcome the momentary certainty the CR delivers, but we must keep working to reach a long-term, bipartisan agreement that provides affected patients and families real peace of mind.”