Washington D.C. – Showing continued animus towards the people of Puerto Rico, President Trump personally intervened to cut the territory’s Medicaid funding as part of the government spending deal, according to a report in Politico.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers had jointly agreed to $12 billion in Medicaid funding over four years for Puerto Rico as part of the end-of-year budget deal, but when the budget deal was released this week the funding had been cut to $5.7 billion dollars over two years.
“Throughout his presidency Donald Trump has shown nothing but contempt for Puerto Ricans,” says National Health Law Program staff attorney Héctor Hernández-Delgado, “but this budget deal goes beyond the President and is part of a long tradition of the United States Congress treating the people of Puerto Rico (and the other U.S. territories) as second-class citizens, especially in regards to health care services. Federal Medicaid funding to the island is provided as a block grant, essentially forcing the Puerto Rican government to ration health care to low-income individuals. The President’s budget cuts add additional strain to an already precarious health care system – this will further exacerbate the health crisis on the island. It is cruel and, frankly, deadly, but unfortunately what the people of Puerto Rico have come to expect from Washington.”
Hernández-Delgado leads NHeLP’s issue group focused on health care for the U.S. Territories, Rural Communities, and Native Americans.