The San Juan Daily Star
Multisectoral group created to resolve Medicaid cliff issue
By The Star Staff
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón announced Tuesday the creation of a multisectoral group that will deal with the looming Medicaid healthcare cliff.
Health, private and commercial sectors will form the group in charge of seeking in Congress a higher level of Medicaid funds for Puerto Rico. The island is at risk of depleting its Medicaid funds and will have to use general fund monies to supply the deficiency.
“This type of effort has been positive in the past,” González Colón said at a press conference. “For example, when I was sworn in as resident commissioner, it was the first memorandum we achieved, and at that time it was with the Physicians [and Surgeons] Association and with groups like those of us here. We went to Congress to seek funds for Hurricane Maria.”
González Colón said the group achieved a 100 percent authorization.
“After that, when the reauthorization was done, both times under the Trump administration, the second highest percentage was achieved, which was 86 and 76 percent,” she said. “So, yes, these groups are very effective.”
“Now what we want is to remain, obviously, the perfect 100 percent, but we are going to ask for more, knowing that 76 percent is much more than the 55 percent that Puerto Rico has by law,” the resident commissioner said.
“These efforts are very important because it is not just the governor, the resident commissioner, or the secretary of health, it is the entire industry, the entire sector, the entire health component of Puerto Rico, from the academy, from the provider, insurer, hospital and all those related and with national organization.”
González Colón said the best scenario would be for Congress to approve a permanent hike in Medicaid funds.
“Failing that, let it be five or seven years so the industry can plan,” she said.
The group includes AARP Puerto Rico; the American Academy of Pediatrics, Puerto Rico Chapter; the Association of Insurance Companies; the Association of Industrialists; the Association of HIPAS of Puerto Rico; the Clinical Laboratories Association; the Primary Health Association of Puerto Rico; the Community Pharmacy Association; the Puerto Rico Medical Association; the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Chamber of Commerce; the United Retail Center; medical plans; and universities, among others.