(April 19, 2017 – Washington, DC) The Secretary of State, Luis Gerardo Rivera, is in the federal capital leading the efforts of the Health Multisector Committee—created by executive order—which seeks parity in Medicare and Medicaid funds for Puerto Ricans.
As part of the tasks, between today and tomorrow, Rivera will visit the offices of senators James Lankford (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS,) and Richard Shelby (R-AL); as well as those of congressman Raúl Labrador (R-ID), of Puerto Rican origin, congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH), and congressmen Pete Olson (R-TX), John Culberson (R-TX,) and Ben Ray (D-NM) to emphasize on the importance of including the Island in the health budget assignments that Congress will make within the next days.
Visits to Congress were organized by the legislative team of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA.)
“We are on the last stretch to define the route in Congress in terms of finding immediate action regarding Medicaid. Counting on the support of different government officials and the private sector propels all the work that we have carried out from the Office of the Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González and PRFAA to identify a solution for the problem,” declared Carlos Mercader, PRFAA director.
The Secretary of Health, Rafael Rodríguez, the director of the Health Insurance Administration (ASES, for its Spanish acronym,) Ángela Ávila, and Mercader joined the meetings with the congressmen and congresswoman.
From the Legislative Branch, the representative of the New Progressive Party, Enrique Meléndez, as well as the spokesman of the Popular Democratic Party minority in the House of Representatives, Rafael Hernández, also joined the efforts, along with spokespeople from different organizations of the Puerto Rican private sector, such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Hospitals Association, the College of Optometrists, the College of Engineers and Surveyors, the Builders Association, the Manufacturers Association, and the Chamber of Commerce.
Furthermore, as part of the efforts to route the participation in the status plebiscite, Secretary of State Rivera took advantage of his visit to Washington, DC, to counsel the Puerto Rican community on the steps to take so as to participate in the plebiscite via absentee voting before April 28.
“We are looking for as most electorate participation as possible, which will strengthen democracy, by informing voters—who wish to participate in the plebiscite but who will not be in the Island for that date— that they have the possibility of doing so though absentee voting, according to law. It is critical that those who request an absentee ballot do so before April 28,” stated Rivera.