Healthcare in the Caribbean

US Virgin Islands Delegate on Medicaid: “We Will Not Go Down Without a Fight”

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - May 9, 2012

Above: US Virgin Islands Delegate Donna Christensen

By the Caribbean Journal staff

US Virgin Islands Delegate Donna Christensen joined the Congressional Hispanic Caucus at a press conference Wednesday morning to protest proposed cuts to Medicaid.

The changes would cut into benefits gained by the US territories through health care reform.

“I stand with my colleagues today to remind my friends on the other side of the aisle that, while we may be small territories, we will not go down without a fight,” she said. “We will fight tooth and nail to retain it, because we, like every other member of this body, represent hard-working men and women who want to preserve and protect their health and wellness, and that of their families.”

Christensen has introduced legislation called the Medicaid Payment Fairness to the Territories Act, which would increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages for the Medicaid programmes in the US territories from 55 percent, to the highest level which is applied in any state.

“This bill will play an integral role in helping to ensure that the Medicaid programmes in the US territories are financed in a more just and equitable manner,” she said. “Currently, the FMAP from the US Virgin Islands and other territories, when combined with the cap, make it extremely difficult for these vitally important programmes to consistently meet the health and health care needs of our most vulnerable residents, those whose medical needs exceed their financial resources.”

Christensen said the territories were not seeking special treatment.

“We are seeking equitable treatment,” she said. “This bill, as well as the sustained funding of Medicaid dollars that we were able to attain through the Affordable Care Act, will put our Medicaid programmes on a smoother, fairer glide path to parity, resulting in Medicaid programmes that truly improve the health and wellness of our people.”

For more from Christensen, see our recent interview.

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