Bordallo reintroduces legislation to ease costs of FSM migratio - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Bordallo reintroduces legislation to ease costs of FSM migratio

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Federal legislation aimed at easing the costs of FSM migration is reintroduced by Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo.  The Compact Impact Relief Act seeks to help offset the tens of millions of dollars GovGuam says its spends each year on COFA migrants. 

Guam estimates that 16,000 of the 75,000 compact citizens who have migrated to the U.S. live here, at a cost of about $140 million in social services.  In reintroducing her bill, Congresswoman Bordallo again appealed to Washington for help, noting, "As the United States looks to renew the compacts after 2023,  congress must increase mandatory compact impact funding to affected jurisdictions like Guam."

But congress has consistently provided far less in compact impact funding than what Guam has asked for.  So, Bordallo Deputy Chief of Staff Adam Carbullido says the bill takes a more innovative approach telling KUAM News, "If we're not able to get a funding appropriation, we want the united states to meet its obligations to the territories and the affected jurisdictions governments in allowing or providing more assistance to decrease the costs borne by the territorial or the state governments."

The bill would include COFA migrants in a variety of federal social assistance programs. Meanwhile, one of the largest costs to GovGuam is unpaid medical services at the hospital.  Carbullido says they want to tie those costs to the federal Medicaid program in which Guam is required to pay 45-percent of the bills.

"Our bill would allow them to use its unreimbursed compact impact costs, kind of like its offset, saying we have spent this additional money for compact impact, use that as an in-kind contribution for a Medicaid program," he explained. "It doesn't make COFA migrants eligible for Medicaid itself, but it allows Guam to expand its Medicaid pool on Guam and use compact impact as an offset to that."

Delegates from Hawaii and the CNMI have signed on as cosponsors of the bill. 

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