Government of Puerto Rico Continues Advancing Efforts to Achieve State-Like Treatment in Medicaid Program

(July 21, 2021 – Washington, DC) – This week, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), Carmen M. Feliciano, the Puerto Rico Secretary of Health, Carlos R. Mellado, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration (ASES per its Spanish acronym), Jorge E. Galva, the Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Products Association of Puerto Rico (MMAPA), the Hospital Association, and Members of the Puerto Rico Health Working Group (Grupo Multisectorial de Salud de Puerto Rico per its Spanish acronym) will participate in several meetings with Members of Congress to discuss H.R. 4406, the “Supporting Medicaid in the U.S. Territories Act”.

H.R. 4406 introduced by Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL-09th) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12th) contains the language reflecting a bipartisan agreement reached on the funding of the Medicaid program for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories by the subcommittee of Health of the Subcommittee on Health of the House Energy & Commerce Committee (The Committee) that seeks to prevent the upcoming “Medicaid funding cliff” on October 1, 2021. Last week, as the Committee held an open markup session on H.R. 4406, PRFAA Executive Director, Carmen M. Feliciano, introduced a statement for the record outlining the position of the Government of Puerto Rico regarding this bipartisan compromise.

“This short-term agreement to Puerto Rico’s Medicaid funding shortfall known as the ‘Medicaid Cliff’ averts the loss of 85 percent of federal funding for the island’s Medicaid program, reductions in vital healthcare services, instability across our entire public health system, potential cuts in other government programs, and losses in enrollment,” stated PRFAA’s Executive Director Carmen M. Feliciano, Esq.

The Government of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico’s Health Working Group met with Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congressman Bilirakis (R-FL-12th), Larry Bucshon (R- IN-08th), Buddy Carter (R-GA-01st), and Congresswoman Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR- AT- Large). Additionally, they also met with Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and staff from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Tim Scott (R-SC).

“While we are grateful for this near-term solution that would prevent the “Medicaid cliff”, the historical disparity that has affected Puerto Rico is still present. The only long-term solution to this disparate treatment is to give Puerto Rico state-like treatment. Governor Pierluisi urged the Subcommittee to adopt a cost-of-living adjustment so that the capitated amount can account for inflation going forward and the Island’s eligible population under Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program won’t be further constrained.  I am confident that if we come together, we can reach an agreement that provides the necessary funding to meet the needs of the American citizens living in Puerto Rico the same quality healthcare services their counterparts enjoy in the states,” said PRFAA’s Executive Director Carmen M. Feliciano, Esq.

“While this legislation provides an immediate solution to the precipitous drop that our healthcare system would be confronting on October 1, 2021 and will guarantee a funding appropriation similar to what we have been receiving, it doesn’t provide a long-term solution to our Medicaid program. Under H.R. 4406, the American citizens of Puerto Rico will continue to receive unequal treatment compared to other citizens of our Nation. Therefore, I will continue to make sure Congress understands our needs so that we can achieve the long-term stability and equal treatment we deserve for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program.” said Puerto Rico’s Healthcare Secretary Carlos R. Mellado.

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