Puerto Rico wants federal officials to help with looming Medicaid funding crisis

Weeks after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory is experiencing a worsened Medicaid crisis and asking for federal assistance, according to Reuters.

Puerto Rico was dealing with Medicaid funding issues prior to Hurricane Maria. But now the territory’s federal Medicaid funding is poised to dry up by early 2018, resulting in up to 900,000 low-income Puerto Ricans losing medical care, according to the report.

In light of the Medicaid crisis, Puerto Rico has recently made multiple requests to President Donald Trump’s administration and U.S. lawmakers. The territory’s governor Ricardo Rossello has requested that Puerto Rico’s share of Medicaid costs be waived, and last week he asked for an annual infusion of $1.6 billion for at least five years, according to the report.

Federal help is expected in some shape or form. CMS Administrator Seema Verma told Reuters of a pending Medicaid proposal, ”We’re looking at everything at this point. We want to make sure that we’re supportive of them to deal with this crisis — but also dealing with some of their baseline issues that they had with the healthcare system.”

The publication also added another emergency relief package for the territory is expected this month. In October, the House Energy and Commerce Committee drafted a Children's Health Insurance Program bill that included $1 billion in extra Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico.

Read the full Reuters report here.


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