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Wed Jun 23, 2021, 01:48 AM

Puerto Rico governor goes to D.C. to advocate for solution to island's Medicaid woes

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi is in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to advocate for the American territory to achieve parity in federal funding for Medicaid, a cornerstone goal of his administration that he is trying to push in a Democratic-controlled Congress.

“Puerto Rico should have state-like treatment on the Island’s Medicaid program; anything less than that is discrimination against the most vulnerable citizens of our Island based on their geographic location,” the governor said.

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that offers health coverage for low-income individuals and families, including 1.4 million people in Puerto Rico. But Puerto Rico, along with other U.S. territories, has a different funding structure than U.S. states do, resulting in less federal money for Medicaid than a state such as Mississippi, the poorest state in the union, which has a lower poverty rate and smaller population than the island.

Pierluisi is expected to meet with federal officials and attend congressional meetings. The trip comes after a recent letter the island’s highest official sent to legislative leadership. The letter, obtained by the Miami Herald, asks that they work with his administration to finance “state-like” treatment for Puerto Rico so that the island can have a more comprehensive and stable Medicaid program. In the correspondence, he also attributed Puerto Rico’s high prevalence of chronic conditions to a decades-long lack of financing and infrastructure of health programs. “Without a permanent and reliable source of funding, Puerto Rico will not be able to provide much-needed services to its vulnerable low-income population,” the governor wrote.

Read more: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/article252278188.html

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