Lance Backs CHIP Renewal, Extending Medicaid in Puerto Rico
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) voted yes today to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through fiscal year 2022. Lance has supported the Children’s Health Insurance Program since his first days in Congress. Lance also secured passage of the HELP Puerto Rico Act, legislation he authored with Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, that would provide $1 billion in funding to Puerto Rico’s Medicaid funding. The HELP Puerto Rico Act passed as part of CHIP bill.
“This legislation accomplishes the very important goals of reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers and extending critical resources for Medicaid in Puerto Rico. One of the first votes I cast in Congress was for CHIP - creating a fiscally responsible health program that now serves 8.5 million children in the United States. And I continue to support community health centers and the work they do for underserved areas like Dover and Somerville, New Jersey. We also cannot forget about the many families and children in Puerto Rico who also benefit from the Medicaid program. That’s why I am teamed up with Resident Commissioner González-Colón to make sure low-cost federal health care continues to be made available to our American children in Puerto Rico,” said Lance.
Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón praised passage of the Lance provisions. “I thank Congressman Leonard Lance for listening to my concerns and working together on this authorization. Achieving this authorization this week is a great relief in the course of all the work we have been carrying out on the one hand for the island’s recovery after Hurricane María and at the same time on the other to keep pushing in D.C. for inclusive treatment for Puerto Rico,” said González-Colón.
Lance’s Energy and Commerce Committee took the lead in reauthorizing the CHIP program this year as well as federally-supported community health centers. CHIP is an important safety net program that provides health care to lower-income children and federally qualified health centers collectively serve more than 22 million patients in more than 9,000 communities in every state and territory. Lance and González-Colón worked together to make sure the legislative package also addressed the Puerto Rico Medicaid program and ensured authorization for nearly $900 million in funding until the end of 2019. An additional $120 million may be provided if steps are taken to reduce Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse. Medicaid continues to provide critical health care delivery needs for the citizens of Puerto Rico and the program is under significant financial strain as the Commonwealth recovers from Hurricane Maria. Lance and González-Colón’s bill gives Puerto Rico financial certainty to continue providing critical services through the Medicaid program. As of June 2015, 1.7 million people are enrolled in the Medicaid and CHIP program in Puerto Rico.