Senate passes health care act - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Senate passes health care act

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - By a vote of 56-43 the Senate today passed the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, which makes a number of corrections to the House-passed version earlier this week signed by President Barack Obama.  According to Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, the new version directly addresses the health care needs of Guam and other territories by allowing us to opt into the new health insurance exchanges in 2014 or enhance Medicaid programs.

Congress specifically appropriated $1 billion to assist residents of the territories in purchasing health insurance on these exchanges.  If any territory elects to not participate in a health insurance exchange, those funds will be used for Medicaid.

The Senate version also increases federal assistance for Medicaid locally.  Guam currently receives approximately $13.7 million a year from the federal government.  This will nearly double to $24 million for Fiscal Year 2011.

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