GAO: “The plain meaning of the language of the statute is clear.”
Washington D.C.– House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirmed that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) does not have legal authority to permanently extend enhanced Medicaid funding in Puerto Rico.
In a legal opinion to the Energy and Commerce Committee, GAO made a firm and clear determination, saying “HHS’s FY 2022 allotment of $2,943,000,000 for Puerto Rico was not authorized,” and “the plain meaning of the language of the statute is clear.”
Regarding GAO’s conclusion, Leader Rodgers said:
“There has been long bipartisan agreement that enhanced Medicaid funding in Puerto Rico would expire on October 1st of this year. The administration and Puerto Rico made numerous requests to extend, and the Energy and Commerce Committee was working in a bipartisan way to meet this call. While the Administration chose to forego plain interpretations of the law and ignore the statute to implement permanent funding for political gains, the Government Accountability Office confirmed today what we knew has always been the case. The law as written does not allow for Puerto Rico to receive permanent, enhanced funding levels. The Biden administration does not have the legal authority to make this funding permanent and should instead work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to extend this funding. It should not take further unilateral actions.
“Before even more uncertainty and confusion is created, it’s critical that Democrats abandon their partisan and unaccountable approach. They must return to our bipartisan agreement to ensure reliable care for vulnerable Medicaid populations in the territories.”
CLICK HERE to read the GAO’s full memo.