MMAPA representatives offered tangible solutions to long-standing inequity in federal health care funding during fly-in meetings with congressional leaders and policymakers from both parties
June 17, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, representatives from the Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Products Association of Puerto Rico (MMAPA) met with policymakers and members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to discuss issues impacting Puerto Rico's federal health programs and offer solutions to improve the well-being of American citizens on the island.
MMAPA's fly-in began with a briefing for congressional staffers hosted by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón. The event emphasized the widespread harm caused by inequitable funding of the island’s Medicaid and Medicare Advantage (MA) programs, with Robin Rudowitz, Vice President of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Edna Marín, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration (ASES), joining MMAPA President Roberto Pando Cintrón as speakers.
In tandem, Rep. González-Colón touted the introduction of MMAPA-supported legislation, H.R. 7997, which would mitigate decades-long Medicare Advantage funding disparities on the island. In April, the 2023 MA rates were released, increasing the disparity in MA rates between the mainland and Puerto Rico to 41%, compared with a 24% disparity in 2011. Puerto Rico’s MA rate is now 23% below the neighboring territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Meetings continued between MMAPA advocates and health care policy leaders in both chambers of Congress and the White House, resulting in productive discussions on inequitable funding and the potential path forward. Conversations with executive branch officials centered on potential administrative solutions in line with President Biden’s platform to address inequities in Puerto Rico. The health care community of Puerto Rico shares concerns on this issue, with a range of key stakeholders taking part in this week’s events, including health care providers, individuals within the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, and the Puerto Rico Secretary of Health, Dr. Carlos Mellado López. MMAPA applauds the government of Puerto Rico for their efforts as they join in our unified call for equitable treatment from the federal government.
"Americans in Puerto Rico have shouldered the burden of inequitable health care funding for far too long, with providers forced to make do with far fewer resources than neighboring territories," said MMAPA President Roberto Pando Cintrón. "I'm grateful to the experts, policymakers, and elected officials from both parties who took the time to learn more about remedying the disparity and helping patients to thrive."
This March, 11 members of Congress, led by Rep. González-Colón, signed a bipartisan letter calling on Secretary Xavier Becerra of the Department of Health and Human Services to address underfunding of the island’s MA program. MMAPA also joined thirteen partner organizations, including those representing all major health care providers, in a community letter echoing these concerns to Secretary Becerra. This community letter was signed by:
- The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce
- Puerto Rico Hospitals Association
- Puerto Rico College of Healthcare Administrators
- Puerto Rico Community Pharmacies Association
- Pharmaceuticals College of Puerto Rico
- IPAs Association of Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico College of Physicians and Surgeons
- Primary Care Association of Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico Medical Association
- Clinical Laboratories Association of Puerto Rico
- Entrepreneurs for Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico United Retailers Association
- Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association
MMAPA remains focused on solutions, like this new legislation from the resident commissioner, that will lead to a more sustainable health care workforce and better health outcomes for patients and vulnerable populations. As it stands, Puerto Rico is the only jurisdiction where dual-eligible Part B enrollees must pay the $170 member premium from their Social Security checks each month to cover costs, and H.R. 7997 will lift this burden off beneficiaries living in poverty.
Rep. González-Colón’s H.R. 7997 is cosponsored by Reps. Soto (D-FL-9), Velazquez (D-NY-7), Salazar (R-FL-27), Crist (D-FL-13), Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), Bacon (R-NE-2), Espaillat (D-NY-13), Radewagen (R-AS-AL), Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), and Murphy (D-FL-7).
MMAPA member companies are committed to fighting for equitable funding for Puerto Rico's federal health programs. Learn more about our efforts at mmapapr.org and follow us at @mmapapr on social media.
The Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Products Association of Puerto Rico (MMAPA) is a non-profit organization composed of the leading Medicaid and Medicare Advantage organizations in Puerto Rico. Founded in 2009, MMAPA is dedicated to promoting policy solutions to solve Puerto Rico's health care challenges.
Follow MMAPA on Twitter at @mmapapr or visit our website, mmapapr.org.
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