top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senate president slams governor for failing to secure Medicare funding increase

By The Star Staff

While Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia was in Washington, D.C. making a “futile” attempt to rally support for Puerto Rico statehood, the administration of President Joe Biden rejected the U.S. territory’s request for increased funding in the Medicare Advantage program, Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago charged on Tuesday.

Dalmau accused the governor of negligence that will cost him the health of older adults in Puerto Rico after the Biden administration rejected a request to adjust the rates of the Medicare Advantage program.

“On the same day Governor Pierluisi is in Washington in a futile effort for statehood, the federal government takes a stab at the Medicare Advantage program in Puerto Rico,” the leader of the island Senate said. “The decision not to adjust payments to compensate for the growing deficit of health plans that serve Puerto Rico.”

In its 2025 Medicare Advantage and Part D Rate Announcement released this month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rejected calls to increase Puerto Rico’s Medicare Advantage reimbursement to achieve parity with that of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), writing that the agency had “limited discretion to incorporate specific adjustments or exceptions” to Medicare Advantage rates,” Dalmau said.

“Older adults in Puerto Rico are not a priority for the two NPP gubernatorial candidates,” he said. “They forget the quality of life and health services of older adults. This blow will strongly impact the health services delivery system in Puerto Rico.”

With the determination, CMS maintains a system in which the average Medicare Advantage base payment rate for plans in Puerto Rico is 39% lower than the national average and 21% lower than that of the neighboring USVI.

The funding shortfall, along with projected increases in medical costs, will be financially devastating and will have an effect on health services for the island’s senior population.

“Puerto Rico’s challenges in Washington are the transition from the nutritional assistance program, or PAN, to its supplemental version, an initiative that promotes the economic development of the country, and the request to adjust the payments of the Medicare Advantage program to reduce the deficit of the program in Puerto Rico,” Dalmau said. “Both Governor Pierluisi and [Resident] Commissioner [Jenniffer] González [Colón] have dedicated their time, public resources and energy to playing at statehood.”

133 views0 comments


bottom of page