The U.S. territories’ Medicaid programs are about to regress to a state of chronic underfunding unless policymakers take action, according to a new study.

These programs have historically faced unequal treatment compared to Medicaid in the states, but the Affordable Care Act provided additional funds to make up for some of those differences, the Kaiser Family Foundation said in a recent issue brief. However, the ACA didn’t permanently fix the formula that gave territories fewer Medicaid funds. It just provided buffer funding to allow those programs to thrive and expand—funds that are scheduled to expire in September.

“All of the territories needed the ACA funds to run their Medicaid programs, basically,” said Cornelia Hall, policy analyst at KFF and one of the authors of the brief, in an interview with FierceHealthcare. “After all of these years of having the ACA fund, it would be a very abrupt change.”

Continue Reading