Summit will focus on drawing attention to Puerto Rico’s fiscal and health care crisis and strategizing best ways to prevail upon Washington to act
Governor Cuomo announced plans for a summit in conjunction with Governor Alejandro García Padilla and 1199/SEIU to strategize ways to prevail upon Washington to address Puerto Rico’s looming health care and economic crisis. The summit, which will be held in the coming weeks, will be the start of a national effort and include key stakeholders and activists on issues of government, health care and finance. This is the latest in a series of actions Governor Cuomo has taken to partner with Puerto Rico in their time of need and ensure fairness and parity from the federal government. Puerto Rico’s crisis is becoming increasingly impactful not just for the local government, but the livelihoods of millions of U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico as well.
“Puerto Rico’s problems are New York’s problems, and we are going to be there for them 100 percent,” Governor Cuomo said. “This crisis has been decades in the making, and we will not allow the situation to continue deteriorating simply because of a lack of political will in Washington. New York stands shoulder to shoulder with Puerto Rico in the fight for fairness and economic parity – and the federal government should do the same.”
The summit will be planned in coordination with the members of the New York State solidarity delegation that traveled with Governor Cuomo to Puerto Rico in September. The Governor made this announcement today in Old San Juan while attending the SOMOS el Futuro Fall Conference. Puerto Rico Governor García Padilla also plans to travel to New York to take part in the upcoming summit.
Governor García Padilla said: "The friendship and commitment shown by Governor Cuomo and New York's many federal and state elected officials is exceptionally gratifying, and it will be critically important to helping Puerto Rico avert a healthcare and economic crisis. Puerto Ricans on the Island and the mainland must join together to call on Washington to enable the Commonwealth to address our problems."
George Gresham, President of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, said: "This is a humanitarian crisis and the 350,000 healthcare workers of our union will not stand by and watch our friends and family members on the Island suffer. We stand with Governor Cuomo to demand that Washington address this crisis and give the US Citizens of Puerto Rico the equal funding for healthcare that they deserve."
Dennis Rivera, Chair of Puerto Rico Healthcare Crisis Coalition and former President of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, said: "Washington’s callous and discriminatory funding policies have caused an unprecedented healthcare crisis for the 3.5 million US citizens who live in Puerto Rico. Wait times to receive medical attention have skyrocketed, doctors are leaving the Island, and patients in hospitals are not receiving the care they need due to inadequate staffing. Governor Cuomo's leadership on this issue is critically important to the people of Puerto Rico."
In September, Governor Cuomo led a delegation to Puerto Rico at the invitation of Puerto Rico’s Governor, Alejandro García Padilla, where officials discussed the Puerto Rican governments' ongoing health care crisis and economic challenges, as well as the need for federal action. Following those discussions, Governor Cuomo announced an action plan to assist the Puerto Rican government with efforts to streamline its health care system, as well as invest in its energy systems, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, and business and technology development. Senior members of Governor Cuomo’s administration also returned to Puerto Rico earlier this month to provide further assistance in the creation of a health care transformation plan.
After Puerto Rico, New York is home to the largest population of Puerto Rican people in the world. Approximately five million Puerto Ricans live in the mainland United States.
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