Friday, September 25, 2020

New federal funding for Medicaid in Puerto Rico

By on October 3, 2017

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González (Jaime Rivera/CB)

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón announced that the Energy and Commerce Committee earmarked $ 1 billion for the Puerto Rico health program, which would save 640,000 patients from losing their coverage.

González Colón made the announcement after the Energy and Commerce Committee of the Federal House of Representatives confirmed that the project that funds the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, by its Spanish acronym) will be considered for voting in the committee on Wednesday and, if passed, the project would be considered next week in the plenary of the Federal Chamber.

SCHIP is a program administered by the Federal Department of Health that provides health insurance for families and children in the states.

This legislation includes an allocation of $ 1 billion to prevent an abyss in the Medicaid program in Puerto Rico until 2019. This will be divided into $880 million available for Puerto Rico until 2019 and $120 million that will become available once the fiscal control board certifies that the government of the island has met certain efficiency and fraud control measures outlined in the law.

On May 1, González Colón announced the $295.9 million agreement for the My Health program after Federal House Speaker Paul Ryan sent her a letter extolling his efforts during the negotiations for approval of the package allocations for Fiscal Year 2017.

At the time, in conversations with Speaker Ryan, they identified the SCHIP program as the vehicle for Puerto Rico to acquire the remaining funds for the My Health program that benefits nearly 640,000 people.

Since then, together with the Private Sector Coalition and other entities of interest such as the Secretary of Health of Puerto Rico, their lobbying achieved the allocation of funds beyond the original financial need of the program.

Yesterday, in the middle of negotiations for the funds, the resident commissioner sent a missive to both House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden, as well as the minority leader on that committee Frank Pallone.

In the letter, she reminded them of the critical situation facing the island’s health system, worsened by the devastation of two major hurricanes in less than two weeks and, therefore, the need for more funding for hundreds of thousands of patients so that they don’t lose their coverage.

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