President Trump has often expressed his disdain for Puerto Rico since taking office. He has referred to the territory as “one of the most corrupt places on Earth.”
Now, he is slashing the U.S. territory’s Medicaid funding.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers endorsed a deal that would have given Puerto Rico $12 billion dollars over the course of four years to create a long-term financial solution for the island’s Medicaid program.
According to Politico, there are three sources close to the President that say Trump complained that $12 billion was too much money—so he intervened over the weekend.
The budget deal now only allows for up to $5.7 billion to be paid to Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program over the next two years.
A White House spokesperson discussed the change in the deal:
“The administration remains committed to properly prioritizing U.S. taxpayer dollars. With the historical waste we have faced in Puerto Rico, additional funding was not needed or fiscally responsible.”
Lawmakers in Congress have already taken steps to curb corruption in Puerto Rico with stronger measures to prevent any inappropriate spending and increased oversight on contracting practices. There are around 1.4 million people being served by the Medicaid program which has been relying on short-term extensions to keep afloat since September.
Low-income people, many of whom are still struggling to recover from the catastrophic hurricanes that ravaged the island, may have their health care compromised by the lack of funding.
Trump seems to have a personal vendetta against Puerto Rico and the Americans that live there. In fact, this isn’t even the first time that his administration has held up money meant for the island.