Fitzpatrick Urges Congress to Act on Puerto Rico

Supports measures to aid hurricane recovery efforts

November 14, 2018

Washington, DC—Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today joined Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, and Congressman Peter King (NY-02) to call on Congress to address the health care crisis in Puerto Rico, particularly as it relates to Medicare.

The bipartisan Puerto Rico Integrity In Medicare Advantage (PRIMA) Act [H.R.6809], cosponsored by Rep. Fitzpatrick, would address the continuing health care crisis in Puerto Rico by eliminating Medicare Advantage Payment disparities, incentivizing doctors to stay on the island, and encouraging those who have left to return.

“Following the devastating effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria, Puerto Rico experienced an accelerated exodus of residents and physicians. Many people in our community are rightly concerned about the situation in Puerto Rico. It’s time for Congress to act,” said Fitzpatrick. “By eliminating Medicare Advantage disparities, and incentivizing doctors to return, the PRIMA Act would help reconstruct the island’s healthcare infrastructure.”

According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Puerto Rico, the presence of doctors on the island declined from 14,000 to 9,000 between 2006 and 2016. Hurricane Maria further hastened the departure of qualified physicians from Puerto Rico, leading to a shortage of medical providers and slowing ongoing recovery efforts.

Click here for a fact sheet on the PRIMA Act.

Watch Rep Fitzpatrick’s remarks at today’s press conference here.

Last month, Rep. Fitzpatrick hosted Congresswoman González-Colón for a roundtable discussion in Bristol Borough, PA with the Puerto Rican Cultural Association of Bucks County to discuss the progress being made in Puerto Rico. One year after hurricanes Irma and María devastated Puerto Rico, FEMA, its federal partners and the Government of Puerto Rico are undertaking one of the largest post-disaster reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in U.S. history.

Following the roundtable, Rep. Fitzpatrick became the first Republican to cosponsor the National Commission of the Federal Response to Natural Disasters in Puerto Rico Act [H.R.6103], which would create a commission charged with examining the federal government’s preparedness and response to a tragedy that is estimated may have killed 2,975 or more people in Puerto Rico.

Additionally, Rep. Fitzpatrick supports and cosponsored the following bills to aid Puerto Rico’s Post Hurricane Maria recovery and statehood efforts.

  • Puerto Rico Admission Act [H.R. 6246], to enable Puerto Rico to enter the Union as a State
  • HELP Puerto Rico Act [H.R. 3932], to increase Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico
  • The Puerto Rico Medicare Part B Equality Act [H.R. 2531], to automatically enroll eligible residents of Puerto Rico in Medicare's medical insurance program. Under current law, automatic enrollment applies to eligible residents of the United States, excluding Puerto Rico.
  • Puerto Rico Insurance Excise Tax Exemption Act [H.R. 5651], to exempt from the foreign insurer excise tax certain insurance policies issued by United States territory and possession insurers.
  • H.R. 6209, to prohibit mortgage lenders from discriminating against individuals with income from Puerto Rico.
  • Puerto Rico Data Collection Equality Act [H.R.6211], to improve the collection and publication of statistics relating to Puerto Rico.
  • Puerto Rico Economic Empowerment Act [H.R.5975], to support businesses in Puerto Rico, extend child tax credits for families in Puerto Rico.

Congressman Fitzpatrick, a member of the Homeland Security Committee which has oversight of FEMA, spent Thanksgiving 2017 in Puerto Rico where he inspected hurricane recovery efforts and met directly with Congresswoman González-Colón and local residents.