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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Federal spending package cleared by Congress includes FMAP hike, $200 million in Medicaid funding

Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration Executive Director Carmen M. Feliciano

By The Star Staff

While the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) welcomed the hike of the Puerto Rico Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to 76% and the $200 million in Medicaid funding for the island, it insisted upon parity with the states in the allocation of funding.

The money came as a result of the $1.5 trillion bipartisan appropriations package for funding the federal government through fiscal year 2022, which the U.S. Congress passed late last week. However, the increase in funding is conditioned on meeting the 70% payment floor for physician services that are covered under the Medicare part B fee. Additionally, Puerto Rico would have to submit a report on Medicaid contracting to Congress by Dec. 1, of this year.

“Medicaid continues to be a priority for our administration, we thank congressional leaders, especially Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. and Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro for the allocation of these funds that will help the most vulnerable population in Puerto Rico,” PRFAA Executive Director Carmen M. Feliciano said in a statement. “However, there is still improvement to be made for the U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico. There is still a long way to go in terms of achieving state-like treatment and funding parity for Puerto Rico; we continue to advocate for the inclusion of Puerto Rico as a priority so that these funding increases can shorten the parity gap.”

The agreement keeps the FMAP for Puerto Rico at 76% from Jan. 1 to Dec. 13, 2022. The FMAP reflects the federal matching funding granted, which currently reflects additional finances due to the public health emergency. In the past, Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program has had several funding limitations and shortfalls, which have been addressed by Congress using temporary stopgap funding.

“We receive the news with great enthusiasm because of the positive impact it will have on the lives of millions of Puerto Ricans who depend on this help for their well being,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said.

The omnibus bill includes several measures on diverse subjects, including aid for Ukraine, domestic priorities and funds for infrastructure, among other pressing matters. The appropriations bill also includes funding to restore San Juan Harbor and the San Juan Courthouse, for improvements to the Martín Peña Channel, and for U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in Puerto Rico.

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