LULAC Hails the Inclusion of Puerto Rico in the House Bill

Healthcare would extend coverage to millions who lack it.

October 30, 2009

Contact: Lizette Jenness Olmos,  LULAC (202) 833-6130 ext. 16

Washington, DC – The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country, hails the inclusion of Puerto Rico in legislation rolled out by House Democrats yesterday. A vote is likely to take place next week.

“The House bill presented today is a triumph for all of Puerto Rico,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “The island will receive an unprecedented amount of funds and we are on track to meet our goal that not a single Puerto Rican is without adequate insurance.”

The legislation includes important provisions that will allow the government of Puerto Rico to provide healthcare coverage to the more than 400,000 islanders who don’t have a medical plan or whose coverage falls short.

The plan would bring $12.8 billion in Medicaid funds to Puerto Rico between 2011 and 2019, a dramatic $9.1 billion increase over current funding under the federal program for low-income patients. The island would receive another $3.7 billion in an insurance exchange program and allow coverage for Puerto Rico residents of moderate incomes who don’t qualify for the local Health Reform.

Importantly, the House bill would require the federal Department of Health and Human Services to present a plan to Congress before October 1, 2013 a detailed plan on bringing Puerto Rico to full parity in Medicaid funding.

The Senate Finance Committee plan, meanwhile, would grant Puerto Rico and the territories a smaller Medicaid boost, or around $7 billion, and not provide access to the exchange. A competing plan from another Senate panel envisions including the territories.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health, housing and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.

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