Republicans from the House Energy and Commerce Committee have a plan to send $1 billion in additional Medicaid funding to Puerto Rico after two hurricanes ravaged the island, and tie that funding t a federal health insurance program for children.
The money for Puerto Rico would be part of a funding package for the Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, community health centers, and other health-care extenders, according to the Washington Post. The deadline to extend the funding of these programs was Oct. 1, but Congress did not act in time. Most states have funding for several more months though.
Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., outlined a plan to pay for the package, including charging higher Medicare premiums to seniors earning more than $500,000, shortening the grace period for ACA enrollees who don't pay their marketplace premiums, and channeling money from the ACA's prevention and public health fund to community health centers, among other things, according to the report.
The Energy and Commerce Committee intends to mark up the bill Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the CHIP bill the same day. Both pieces of legislation provide additional CHIP funding for the next two years under the Affordable Care Act before rolling it back.
Puerto Rico has been experiencing a Medicaid funding emergency, due to the fact extra funding to the program from the ACA will expire at the end of the year. Like other U.S. territories, Puerto Rico receives substantially less federal Medicaid reimbursement than states.