American Samoa Retains DC Lobbyist To Push For Medicaid Solutions

Amercian Samoa Government
Pago Pago, American Samoa

May 23, 2017

In a letter to Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has informed the Delegate that he has retained Taylor Strategies to help advance a legislative solution to the ACA Medicaid funding deadline coming up in FY 2019.

Lolo’s immediate priority for Congressional action is the extension of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care ACT "PPACA" funding, lifting or increasing the Medicaid cap and improving the FMAP local matching percentage for the Medicaid program. These statutory provisions apply only to the territories under the Social Security Act that established Medicaid.

The additional Medicaid funding provided under ACA cannot be waived by the U.S. Secretary of Health, but can only be changed by Congressional action.

Lolo and ASG Medicaid Office director Sandra King Young on an ASG Delegation trip to Congresswoman Amata's office, met with her and her staff in February 2015 highlighting the territory's need for Congressional action on the Medicaid issues. Despite last minute efforts to amend the ACA to address the Medicaid issues, the amendments were ruled out of order because of the legislative vehicle used to carry the health care law repeal.

As the September 30, 2019 deadline to expend the funds provided in PPACA, looms, and the chaos with reform efforts to repeal and replace PPACA continues, Governor Lolo and the Medicaid office are taking proactive steps to work closely with all of the U.S. Territory’s Delegate's office to amend and extend the Medicaid provisions.

American Samoa's new lobbyist for Medicaid issues is Taylor Strategies, whose president is Bettilou Taylor, a longtime Senate Republican Staff Director, having served on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health, and Human Service, Education.

She is also of Counsel to Capitol Hill Partners that collectively brings a century of high-level executive and legislative expertise spanning both the appropriations and authorizing committees on Capital Hill.

Bettilou Taylor on behalf of Governor Lolo Moliga, met with Congresswoman Aumua’s staff to layout a legislative strategy for advancing the Medicaid issues.

Last Friday, May 19, Bettilou Taylor helped mobilize and coordinate a territorial staff delegation meeting to discuss and agree on the strategy for moving the Medicaid issues.

American Samoa and the other territories will work to move the Medicaid issues on the upcoming State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) that must be reauthorized by September 30, 2017. The American Samoa Medicaid Agency administers the SCHIP as part of CMS funded programs.

"Lifting the Medicaid cap, improving our local matching requirement and extending the ACA funding is heavy lifting and it is clear that the Delegate's office needs help in advancing these issues, they cannot do it alone,” Lolo said. “We are taking a very aggressive stand to work on Medicaid issues together with our Delegate's office because it will be an extreme hardship on our territory if this ACA funding expires and the Medicaid cap has not been lifted by the 2019 deadline.”

“With the experts we have retained, and the coordinated efforts underway, we are working to address the critical needs of our people,” he said.

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