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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor: Decision not to hike funding for Advantage plans is part of discrimination

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Wednesday that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ decision not to increase funding for Advantage plans in Puerto Rico is part of the discrimination the island is experiencing over the status issue.

Pierluisi said he personally addressed the issue with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Vice President Kamala Harris when they were in Puerto Rico to, among other things, participate in a fundraising event.

“Well, that’s a decision that’s made by the center for Medicaid and Medicare programs that is overseen by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “I was in regular communication with Secretary Becerra himself, Xavier Becerra. He was also making his arrangements: He didn’t give up the increase we were asking for. The decision was really to continue studying the matter. And obviously they left open the possibility of taking action on this matter, on the rule that will be published in 2025.”

“It wasn’t the result we wanted. We are still fighting,” Pierluisi continued. “That is yet another example of discrimination against U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico. I raised the issue with Vice President Kamala Harris, as it should be. Well, she reacted, [in a way] which I would call receptively. I mentioned to her that the president himself had said before he became president that he wanted to take action on this matter. So we’re still fighting. If we were a state, we wouldn’t be fighting this fight. Because we would get the deal automatically.”

“Here, for example, we don’t receive, retired seniors don’t have support for the cost of medicine in Puerto Rico. In the U.S., Part D gives it to you,” he said. “This is where the Advantage plans have to come in, give you some of that cost, help you with some of that cost. That’s one of the disparities we face. If we were a state, we wouldn’t have to deal with these struggles.”

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