By Greg Williams
The House Rules Committee rejected an amendment that would allocate Medicaid funding to Puerto Rico at an equal level to US states. Medicaid in Puerto Rico is currently funded under a 'block grant' that will run out this year. When it runs out, the island will receive a set amount of funding that is expected to cover less than one-third of Puerto Rico's Medicaid-related expenses. Medicaid reform was a key element of the recommendations made last year by the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico. If the Rules Committee had accepted the amendment, the full House of Representatives would have voted on it during the American Health Care Act debate.
"As Puerto Rico restructures its debt and seeks to prevent austerity, the island needs equal access to healthcare funding," stated Eric LeCompte, who testified to Congress on these issues. LeCompte is the executive director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA. "Although the amendment failed, it's now clear there is an eventual path to secure this funding for Puerto Rico."
The amendment was submitted by Puerto Rico's Representative Jenniffer González-Colón and Representative Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa. Puerto Rico's Archbishop Roberto González Nieves and Bible Society head Reverend Heriberto Martínez-Rivera sent a letter to Congressional leadership yesterday urging them to act on task force recommendations on Medicaid, Medicare and the Child Tax Credit.
"You moved Congress to act for Puerto Rico," Archbishop González and Reverend Martínez write in a letter sent to Republican and Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives and the Senate. "As our island prepares to restructure its debt, we need you to act again."
Read the text of the amendment
Read the religious leaders' letter to Congressional leadership