Puerto Rico's Medicaid monies issue in government spending bill talks

Puerto Rico, which seeks additional federal Medicaid monies, has become a point of conversation as lawmakers negotiate a long-term government spending package, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Here are five things to know.

1. Puerto Rico received a $6.4 billion Medicaid grant from the government allocated for fiscal years 2011-2019. But the U.S. territory, which faces possible bankruptcy, is slated to use the remainder of those funds by the end of 2017, according to the report. HHS projects Puerto Rico needs $900 million to fund its Medicaid program through the middle of next year, according to WSJ. Lack of additional funding would result in loss of health coverage for approximately 1 million residents, reports USA Today.

2. Leaders on both sides of the aisle agreed incremental assistance should be provided to Puerto Rico, unnamed sources told WSJ.

3. However, President Donald Trump responded Wednesday on Twitter, saying, "Democrats are trying to bail out insurance companies from disastrous #ObamaCare, and Puerto Rico with your tax dollars. Sad!"

He mentioned Puerto Rico again Thursday, tweeting, "The Democrats want to shut government if we don't bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!"

4. The president's tweets come as lawmakers work on a long-term government spending package. On Friday, Congress prevented a government shutdown by approving a short-term spending measure, reports The New York Times. Lawmakers now have a one-week extension for negotiations on a long-term spending plan.


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