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Medical Care Plunges Puerto Rico into Bankruptcy
Puerto Rico, the almost-like 51st state of the Union, is bankrupt. It has run out of cash and now refusing to pay debts. Call this a Greece-like event where the EU had to create a bailout program to save it, now, the U.S. Congress is doing the same to save the sunny, tropical paradise of Hispanic origin. It has defaulted on its $72 billion debt and has caused a tsunami of emigration to the USA. Its main bank defaulted also, $422 million. Poverty rate is at 45%. The tsunami of exodus has caused the island’s population to decrease by 9%.
Yet, when you see it live, there is no Greece-like chaos, riots, panic. The supermarkets have plenty of food, the commuter trains are clean. You do see homeless sleeping on the street and an unemployment of 12%. You don’t see devastation of Detroit slums where so many picked up and left, abandoning homes. In reality, many Americans are moving to PR, knowing full well that Congress will not let its unofficial 51st state collapse. It’s a wonderful vacation place.
Currently, the government there is aligned with the Democrats, but the oversight committee to bail out the island is Republican.
It all began in 1993, when the Democratic legislature passed an island wide health care plan for all. Call it a precursor to Obama Care. It is called Mi Salud (My Health) and provides health care to 45%. Much of the program is support by Federal funds, which will end in a year. Already, doctors in its service are owed $200 million. They are very unhappy. Hospitals are all facing huge deficits because the program was passed without any real consideration as to how to pay for it! Socially, a great idea, though.
Now, medical care and services are dramatically changing. Doctors are fed up with not being paid and just last year 500 left the island. In 2006, there were 14,000 doctors on the island, today only 9,000.