Governor tells congresswoman her plan will devastate territory

Governor Lolo Moliga has informed Congresswoman Aumua Amata her plan to repurpose funding for American Samoa under the Affordable Care Act to construct a new hospital would “devastate “ the territory’s ability to cover medical care costs.

This comes in a letter that the Governor penned August, a week after a House Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill at which the congresswoman questioned American Samoa’s Medicaid Director Sandra King Young as to why $150 million in Medicaid funding hasn’t been spent.

The governor after thanking the congresswoman for her efforts in having the Subcommittee on  House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs hold a hearing on the needs of the LBJH Hospital said “now is the time for your office and mu administration to make clear the reasons for extending the ACA Medicaid funds and work together to preserve these funds for American Samoa.

At the hearing the governor in written testimony sought the extension of the 2019 deadline for the unspent Medicaid funds.

Lolo told the congresswoman in his letter of last week, “I am also asking you  to not onlu make extending the Affordable Care Act deadline a priority, but to also fight for permanent solutions so that the US territories are treated equally like the US states.”

He adds, “It is more important for the territory to preserve the ACA funding stream for our health care services because these funds already exist under the ACA law for medical services.”

Our Washington DC correspondent Matt Kaye reported last week that one idea being floated was to redirect the unspent ACA funding to build a new hospital.

Governor Lolo Moliga informed the congresswoman that this approach would devastate our ability to cover all our medical care services, including reimbursements for the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)  and Off island Medical Referral program.

He reiterates the need for a new hospital but said without sufficient Medicaid funding to cover medical services, a new facility will not improve the health care of our people.

Lolo emphasized the extension of the ACA funds and a new health care facility must be pursued on two separate tracks.

The governor said he wanted to make sure the committee holding the hearing knew exactly what we were asking for and that is what the Medicaid director presented.

That authorizing legislation be introduced to provide the authority to construct a new hospital.

Lolo emphasized that the ACA Medicaid funding issue is the most critical issue that the territory faces and “we need your influence and support to …to achieve the goal of extending these critical ACA funds.”

And he adds, “it does not serve our territory for your office and my administration to be at odds on the Medicaid issues, especially given the achievements we are now realizing thanks to the hard work done by our Medicaid agency.”

The achievements that Governor Lolo  lists includes approvals for the federally Qualified Health Center, extending Medicaid coverage to the Department of Health Community health centers,  and the Off island Medical Referral program.

The governor reminds the congresswoman that the Medicaid director had informed her back in February 2015 about extending the ACA deadline, lifting the cap and improving  the local match percentage.

The governor invites the congresswoman to meet with his office the next time she’s in the territory to discuss all of what he wrote about.

Congresswoman Aumua arrived in the territory on Monday.

 


19 Comments

  1. Dante

    Amata is doing very well. Lolo, you are not. You are so ignorant of the subject and so is your Director. The flaw is in your State Plan. It is very sad as you have among your people those who understands it well, more so than your non-medical Director, and yet fail to solicit their knowledge as they conflict with your way of running things. Rightfully so they question your choices, which is unfavorable to you. Sad, very sad.

    Reply
  2. Rankon

    Too many shortcomings and inadequacies in the services govt provided due to lack of true accountability in the administration. Often times we hear different stories that are malicious and misleading but truth of chaos is still persist across the govt. One must seriously scrutinize thoroughly whether all govt agencies are committed to provide quality services as mandated. Evidently some cabinets are incompetent and lack aspirations. Gov should fire them n replace with honest individuals in order to gain voters confidence.

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  3. dude

    We need Lolo to Resign effective immediate. There is NO value whatsoever in keeping Lolo alive Politically Miscalculations of this highest order.

    The funds are Use or Lose. The repurpose calibrates the equal share of what we can aspire towards– not what we came from

    Like the leaving Egypt for the children of Israel– We left Egypt- yet some still desires her smell, her leaks, her onions her heifer her golden calf.

    The worst of the worst we have had with Lolo– He does not think, or value a future–

    He is the Past the damn past we wish to cut off.

    Reply
  4. Common sense

    Im with Congresswoman Amata all the way! Would you rather have a brand new hospital with better equipment to perform these services that our people need, or hold on to Medicaid funding that expires in 2019? New hospital is my choice! Would benefit our people greatly for years to come! We are wasting money on repairs and trying to update hospital year in and year out! Use the fund to build a new facility before we don’t have it in 2019! Duh!!!

    Reply
  5. There Goes That

    THERE GOES THAT

    Kind of like how there is no more ASG Retirement fund since someone spent it all on bonds for this bank and boat?

    PS – There goes that

    Reply
  6. No'i

    This administration has no more credibility! Here’s the Congresswoman moving forward in exploring and exploiting options to better the community and the governor builds a wall! It seems any initiatives to help the territory align with modern times is a problem with many of our local leaders. You want to be treated like a state, then act like one, convince the US Congress that you’re capable of surviving independently better yet, lesson your codependency on the US…focus on that! Meantime, allow the Congresswoman to take this territory towards new horizons…enough with your stale and outdated thinking, these are challenging times! Congresswoman Amata today and for tomorrow!

    Reply
    1. No'i

      @Pe’a Man- Well if that’s the case, so be it! Amata is taking full advantage of the situation and I applaud her for that. Whether it’s a Party or People first, least she’s moving and shaking things around and that’s what we need now in this mug (while local leaders focus on their golf skills). She’s a sista first!

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    2. Amata is the best

      Party first? Where is your evidence of that. Last time I looked, Trump proposed deep budget cuts for Interior yet Amata got the House to increase or grant for the first time since Fofo’s time. Get real, man. You must be reading Sandra Young’s propaganda. She accused Amata if towing her party’s line. She can’t back that p any more than you can.

      Reply
  7. Paki

    It is clear from the last couple of weeks on this issue that ASG does NOT have the matching funds for the ACA program. If you don’t have the matching funds, then you cannot draw down from the ACA funds. I believe the Congresswoman is trying to redirect the funds to a new hospital so we can get the funds. We are NOT going to get the funds and draw down fully by 2019. I like the alternative suggested by Amata. Take it from someone who works with Federal grants for I understand fully how they work.

    Peace!

    Reply
    1. No'i

      Paki, what this administration is really asking the Congresswoman is for a way to transfer those unused dollars into the govt “general account” (govt officials personal spending account).

      Reply
  8. Matt Toia

    Talofa,
    How about this, o Amata e nofo i DC, e le’i ola tautua i le atunu’u, ma e faigata ia te ia ona malamalama i le atunu’u pe a fai e le’i lafo sana ma’a. O lea ua talosaga atu le kovana i le mea e manuia ai le atunu’u. Amata, ole taimi o le tautua. Aua e te pei o Trump.

    Fa la ia,
    M

    Reply
    1. No'i

      Matt are you serious? you need to read up on this woman’s service history to her country as well as her home islands, she’s even gone as far as neighboring island nations. She didn’t just “lafo sana ma’a” this woman servant created pathways with ma’as. Yes she’s a republican, but she has always been grounded in her roots putting her people before her, ask the students who became better citizens through her initiatives before she became a congresswoman. You’ll find the woman there.

      Reply
  9. AG should resign

    The Governor has devastated the territory with his top heavy recession. No Tax returns, ongoing furloughs are on you and your cabinet, Governor.

    Reply
  10. Leo Tuala

    My Reply to Matt Toia. Really?! Seriously?? Amata most definitely is home grown. Where have you been? As to Lolo hiring a lobbyist. That is his right. And cutting the people’s pay to be able to hire a lobbyist? Oka what is the governor thinking??) And then turn around and tax everything in sight? Good thing Lolo is a lame duck which means a person who can’t run for office again. I don’t think the people would elect him again anyway.

    Reply

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