San Juan, Puerto Rico – January 18, 2016 – As commented by Andrew Weiss, during Treasury Testimony to the U.S. Senate, “Puerto Rico is in the midst of an economic and fiscal crisis and without congressional action the situation could become a humanitarian crisis.” These were strong words and have prompted Maria Levis, CEO of Impactivo Consulting, a noted expert in health policy, to publish an in-depth article examining this issue, which was published in the well respected Health Affairs Magazine Blog, the premier vehicle for commentary and analysis on health policy and issues affecting health and health care.
Maria’s article brilliantly elaborates on the effects of the Puerto Rican fiscal and economic crisis and how it impacts the lives of the Puerto Rican people. Americans on the mainland are mostly unaware of this dire situation, although they will be when they read this article. Hundreds of thousands of its residents have been forced to leave the Island in search of jobs and their family’s sustenance. The impact of this loss of employable talent is enormous to the Island’s economic development and capacity to rebound from the crisis. Puerto Ricans may have the same rights as U.S. citizens on the mainland, but those living on the Island are subject to territorial statutory limitations with significant implications especially in the area of health care.
Maria takes great pains to point out that: “Puerto Rico (P.R.) has the lowest Medicaid ($1,571 per enrollee vs. $5,790 in the U.S.) and Medicare ($5,208 per enrollee vs. $8,700 in the U.S.) annual spending in the nation while cost of living remains comparable. These significant disparities in funding may start to explain why residents of the Island also face the highest national prevalence of diabetes (13.7 percent P.R. vs. 9.3 percent U.S.), hypertension (42.3 percent P.R. vs. 32.5 percent U.S.), and fair or poor self-rated health status among adults (35.4 percent P.R. vs. 16.9 percent U.S.). Children on the Island are also affected with the highest pediatric asthma rates in the nation (14.1 percent P.R. vs. 9.2 percent U.S.), and what until recently was the highest premature birth rate in the world (11.8 percent P.R. vs. 9.6 percent U.S.).” Statistics can be boring, but the facts back them up.
She raises the question: “Who Absorbs The Costs Of Out Migration?” The stats show that more than 10 percent of the Island’s population has already fled with 430,367 Puerto Ricans immigrating to a U.S. state at a growing pace from 2009 to 2014. When compared to the general P.R. population, those immigrating to the States have a lower median income. The vast majority of these individuals noted that their reason for leaving was to work or find work.
The underfunding of Puerto Rico’s Medicaid Program has caused a cascade of events to unfold.
It becomes clear that “Federal and state spending is not offset by enrollment reductions in the Puerto Rico Medicaid program because the local program is severely underfunded and federal funding for the Island is statutorily capped at approximately 19 percent of costs for the P.R. Medicaid program, which is significantly below the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) of 55 percent to which it is entitled.” Medicare spending on the Island is significantly lower than in any state even though Puerto Ricans on the Island pay the same in Medicare payroll taxes.
During a recent interview, Maria made these comments: “Congress and this Administration have appropriated over a trillion in funding over the past decade to bail out the automobile and banking industries. While the long-term damage of this crisis on Puerto Rico can only increase dependence on the federal government, the Puerto Rican people are not asking for a bail out. In the area of health, Puerto Ricans on the Island are only asking for equal rights.”
About Impactivo Consulting:
Impactivo Consulting is an impact-driven consulting firm that works with leaders to make health and wellness accessible to children, patients and communities. They specialize in connecting population health, quality and financial value to help health organizations make sense of the current health care market and design initiatives that improve health outcomes and financial returns. They currently work with health organizations in Puerto Rico, New York and DC.
For complete information, please visit: www.impactivo.com
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Company Name: Impactivo Consulting
Contact Person: Media Relations
Address:PMB 140 1357 Ashford Avenue
City: San Juan
State: Puerto Rico
Country: Puerto Rico