Puerto Rican Statehood and ObamaCare: White House Task Force Suggests Increased Economic and Medical Care

Just over a year ago I wrote an article exposing the list of Republicans voting to pass a non-binding resolution to grant statehood to Puerto Rico as our 51st state. The Senate did nothing, so the status of Puerto Rico remains one for political conquest. I’ve noticed a lot of traffic on that older post for several weeks now, with little to clue me why there is currently such interest, but now I find that in March 2011 Obama released the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status. Presidential Task Forces ALWAYS find ways to spend money. The report reiterates the right of Puerto Rico to self-determination but lures statehood with a possible promise of more in Medicaid funding, and hypes the pure loveliness of ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act). Puerto Rico’s “tough” economic challenges are also addressed.

Flag of Puerto Rico

Here are a few snippets from the Report on Medicaid:

[Page 58-59 Medicaid] …the Federal Government only matches every Medicaid dollar spent by Puerto Rico up to its limit, and any spending above the limit is not matched…

Thus, the cap limits Federal funding to a level below what it would be if Puerto Rico were treated as a State…

There are a number of Medicaid beneficiaries affected by the lack of access to the full spectrum of services provided under this program  For example, many children aged 0-18 years who are below the Federal poverty level receive limited benefits from the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment Program  Furthermore, elderly Puerto Ricans over the age of 65 and Puerto Ricans with disabilities are impacted because there are no available funds for home and communitybased waiver programs or the innovative Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly…

Recommendation – The Task Force recommends that the Administration work with Congress to build on this foundation and work toward further progress in achieving a more effective, efficient, and equitable health care system for Puerto Rico…

The Task Force further recommends that Federal agencies work together to ensure that the Affordable Care Act provisions are implemented to maximize the availability of health services to Puerto Ricans…

See the summary of Task Force recommendations beginning on Page 3 (click the link above).

Puerto Rico already has the right to “self-determination.” Any time Puerto Rico wants to become a state, they can vote and then appeal to Congress for statehood.

From my previous post:

Since 1952 when their Commonwealth status was established, Puerto Ricans have voted four times on the issue of statehood and each time have voted to retain their Commonwealth, and not become a state, in 1967, 199, 1998 and 1991. I believe it is accurate to say the question of statehood is required to be voted on at specific times.

There is a lot of talk that the questions presented to the voters will be different this time, that one option will not be available, which will make the outcome different than in the past, and which will probably result in a vote to become a state. I can’t verify that – as I said, it’s complicated.

Indeed, the White House recommended that some obvious options would not be available on the “plebiscite” presented to the people. After the White House Task Report was released, Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party approved two plebiscites:

Inspired by the recommendations of the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico, the PNP would not allow the island’s current Commonwealth status (Estado Libre Asociado, or Associated Free State—also known as the ELA) as an option on the first plebiscite.

The White House report states the following on page 28 (we include part of pages 27 and 29 for more context) of its recommendation:

Two Plebiscites. In response to concerns about the potential for uncertainty that may result from a single plebiscite, many advocates have supported an approach with two plebiscites, the first of which would narrow the options and the second of which would make a final decision.

About U.S. presidential election in Puerto Rico: Puerto Ricans living on the island cannot vote in stateside elections, but they can vote in presidential primaries. Puerto Ricans who become residents of a U.S. state can vote in stateside elections. In the U.S. Congress, PR has a nonvoting delegate. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in Puerto Rico, although Obama scrambled for the vote in February 2008 writing a letter promising a lot of love for the people, and he made a highly criticized fundraising visit.

The two obvious factors at work here is that statehood bring millions of voters to presidential election, although not in time for 2012. Would most of those voters be Progressive? Undoubtedly. To court the voters, Obama is willing to place the cost of Puerto Rican health care on our already soaring health care debt. Remember, ObamaCare plans to pay for itself by forcing all Americans to buy into a health care plan, with the goal to get to a single payer system. Without forcing health care on each of his, ObamaCare cannot function.

  • There is always a hidden agenda with this guy.