Gov. Rosselló demands inclusion of Puerto Rico in federal health reform
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló called on the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) on Friday to include Puerto Rico in any healthcare reform discussed in Congress and requested other states’ help in addressing the situation.
He spoke about the island’s inequality vis-a-vis other states in terms of the allocation of federal healthcare funds, which has resulted in Puerto Rico having some of the highest diabetes and diabetes-related death rates due to a “lack of prevention efforts” since “we essentially don’t have enough resources,” he said.
“All U.S. governors have to learn about the unequal situation in which Puerto Rico lives and must be participants in the process of finding equality for our island. The American citizens residing in Puerto Rico should be included in any bill that reforms the United States’ healthcare system,” said Rosselló at the meeting, which was part of the NationalGovernors Association (NGA) summer meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.
For Rosselló, the healthcare issue’s approach should be bipartisan in nature and focus on “not having American citizens receiving fewer resources and having poorer access to healthcare services.”
“My request here is for us to be rational. If we ask what we want as American citizens, what I have realized is the vast majority of American citizens want people to be healthy, they want access to healthcare services; this is a priority.”
Rosselló also highlighted the measures he is developing on the island to curb the mass exodus of doctors and healthcare professionals to other jurisdictions due to a lack of fair pay.
Govs. John Bel Edwards, of Louisiana; Roy Cooper, of North Carolina; Dannel Malloy, of Connecticut; Steve Bullock, of Montana; and John C. Carney Jr., of Delaware, were among those listening to Rosselló.
The Puerto Rican governor also attended, along with Carlos Mercader, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) executive director, the “Meet the Threat” conference led by Virginia Gove. Terry McAuliffe, which featured strategies states and territories can use to ward off cyberattacks.
In this event, the governor spoke with students participating in “Girls Who Code,” a program aimed at bridging the gap between female and male students in computer science and mathematics.
According to the organization, women hold less than 25 percent of computer science-related jobs—and that percentage continues to decline.
NGA activities continued Friday afternoon with the participation of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.