Pierluisi Letter Signed by US Legislators Seeks Puerto Rico Medicare Program Improvement
SAN JUAN – Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), urging them to take steps to stabilize and strengthen the Medicare Advantage (MA) program in Puerto Rico. The letter was also signed by 12 members of the U.S. House and Senate.
Three of every four Medicare beneficiaries in Puerto Rico—about 570,000 elderly and disabled individuals—are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, which is the highest penetration rate of any U.S. jurisdiction, according to a statement released Monday
“On February 19th, CMS issued its proposed payment policies for MA plans for Fiscal Year 2017, which begins on October 1, 2016. The federal agency discussed Puerto Rico at length and proposed numerous policy changes that will benefit MA plans and patients on the island. This is a major development, since—in previous years—CMS often declined to make such policy changes to assist Puerto Rico. In the letter, my congressional colleagues and I urge CMS to include the positive proposals it discusses in its preliminary rule in the final rule that it will publish on April 4th,” Pierluisi stated.
The other members of Congress who signed the letter are Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio of Florida; Reps. José Serrano, Charles Rangel and Nydia Velázquez of New York; Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida; Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois; Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri; and Rep. John Larson of Connecticut.
In 2015, Pierluisi led two other letters to the HHS and CMS regarding the MA program. Those were also signed by various senators and representatives.