Bipartisan Effort to Help Those Displaced by Hurricane Maria Seek Healthcare

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U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy is leading a bipartisan effort in Congress to seek clarity regarding how American citizens from Puerto Rico who were enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare while residing in the U.S. territory can continue their coverage when they relocate to Florida or another state in the wake of Hurricane Maria.  The initiative, which is being is co-led by Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, is a response to multiple press reports finding that displaced individuals from Puerto Rico are experiencing challenges obtaining essential health care services in Florida, despite the fact that they were enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare back in Puerto Rico.

“Displaced Americans from Puerto Rico who are relocating to Florida because of Hurricane Maria have endured enough hardship; we should be working to ease their anxiety, not add to it,” said Murphy. “Because the rules governing Medicaid and Medicare are different in Puerto Rico and Florida, too many displaced Puerto Ricans are struggling to get the health care they need.  I’ll continue fighting so that every American in our community has access to quality, affordable care.”

In the last month alone, over 143,000 individuals from Puerto Rico have arrived in Florida, and this figure is expected to continue rising in the coming months.

Murphy, Nelson, and Rubio today sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asking the federal agency to swiftly prepare and publish a fact sheet that helps displaced individuals and their families, health care providers, insurance companies, and government officials better understand how displaced individuals can maintain access to essential health care services when they relocate to Florida, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.

In addition to Senators Nelson and Rubio, Murphy’s bipartisan letter was co-signed by U.S. Representatives Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and by Republican Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.      

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