Resident commissioner feted for aid to disadvantaged
By The Star Staff
The National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved (NHIT) has recognized Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón for her work to eradicate health disparities affecting the people of Puerto Rico and her efforts in support of infrastructure and technology projects that would provide broadband access to rural areas.
“I am deeply grateful for this recognition, which I accept on behalf of the 3.2 million residents on the island and many other Puerto Ricans who have been forced to move to other states in search of the equality to which they are entitled as American citizens and yet are denied at home,” González Colón said. “Puerto Rico’s longstanding lack of equal treatment in public policy and federal funding as a U.S. territory is most evident in the area of health and health care. Disparities in Medicaid funding, as well as differences in Medicare implementation, have contributed to even broader fiscal and health challenges for the island, which have been exacerbated by recent natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
On her most recent achievements in the area of health, the resident commissioner highlighted the nearly $19 billion she secured for five years to stabilize Puerto Rico’s health system, as well as the increase in the federal contribution to the Medicaid program from 55% to 76%.
In addition, she highlighted legislation that she has introduced in the current 118th Congress to correct the disparities among island residents in the area of health, such as HR 4411, the Medicare Advantage Program Integrity Act; HR 4028, the Territories Equality in Medicare Drug Assistance Act; HR 4410, the Medicare Savings Program Fairness Act; and HR 4027, the Medicare Part B Enrollment Justice Act.
Earlier this year, González Colón introduced the E-Bridge Act (HR 1752) with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves to advance high-speed broadband projects in rural and economically disadvantaged communities nationwide.