FSM Information Services
United States Congress Votes to Restore Medicaid Eligibility for FSM Citizens Lawfully Residing in the U.S.
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On December 21st, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (H.R. 133), which includes the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 omnibus spending package. Of crucial import to citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is that the legislation includes a provision that would restore Medicaid eligibility for Freely Associated States (FAS) citizens who are lawfully residing in the U.S.
The provision contained in the relief package mirrors the stand alone legislation, Covering our FAS Allies Act (H.R. 4821/S.2218), which was introduced by Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI). This provision will restore a crucial benefit to FSM citizens that was lost as part of a 1996 welfare reform package.
Prior to 1996, FAS citizens residing in the U.S. were eligible for federal benefits, including Medicaid. However, when Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, it inadvertently removed FAS citizens’ eligibility for Medicaid. Specifically, the law excluded FAS citizens from the list of legally present non-citizens that are eligible to qualify for certain federal benefits. Unfortunately, this gap in coverage has persisted for over two decades.
“On behalf of the People and Government of the FSM,” His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, said in a statement, “I would like to thank our American brothers and sisters for this demonstration of love and solidarity between our two Nations. Between the forthcoming arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, first for our frontline responders, and now the expansion of Medicaid coverage to our citizens abroad, this is heartwarming and wonderful news at the end of a year that has otherwise been renowned for its challenges.”
FSM citizens residing in the U.S. are encouraged to contact the FSM Embassy in Washington, D.C., with any queries they may have regarding the restoration of Medicaid eligibility for FSM citizens lawfully residing in the U.S. The Embassy can be called +1-202-223-4383 or citizens can submit a query via the contact form here: http://www.fsmembassydc.org/webform/contact-us
The FSM National Government deeply appreciates the many congressional champions of this crucial Medicaid fix and applauds the leadership who helped to build strong support to restore Medicaid for our citizens. His Excellency Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, is expected to sign the measure into law later this week.