Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/15/2013 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Medical community warns that half of island's population already reliant on free health insurance

When it comes to Obamacare - one size definitely does not fit all. As the rest of the nation scrambles to sign up and make sense of health care reform, the people in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico are at an impasse. The island is facing a financial crisis and members of the territory's medical community say that half the population there already is dependent on free health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act has come to Puerto Rico in the form of a $6.3 billion social welfare check, which is allocated to the government to continue to pay for its Medicaid and for its separate, free state-run insurance program called 'Mi Salud,' between 2014 and 2019.

The Affordable Care Act has come to Puerto Rico in the form of a $6.3 billion social welfare check, which is allocated to the government to continue to pay for its Medicaid and for its separate, free state-run insurance program called "Mi Salud," between 2014 and 2019.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/15/2013 (8 months ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Obamacare, Puerto Rico, Mi Salud, debt


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Puerto Ricans, born as U.S. citizens, haven't enrolled on the healthcare.gov Web site. Their government has decided not to offer health-insurance exchanges, which offers private plans.

The Affordable Care Act has come to Puerto Rico in the form of a $6.3 billion social welfare check, which is allocated to the government to continue to pay for its Medicaid and for its separate, free state-run insurance program called "Mi Salud," between 2014 and 2019. This could be disastrous for the island.

An estimated 1.7 million Puerto Ricans already depend on free health insurance. Local doctors are concerned that the additional financial infusion to the program will make the territory even more dependent on welfare.

Medical experts say that the U.S. territory is already deemed as the "Next Detroit" and "America's Greece." The island's government is already over $70 billion in debt. About 45 percent of Puerto Ricans have incomes below the U.S. federal poverty line. Nearly 40 percent of all households receive food stamps.

In spite of this, Puerto Rico's surprisingly low 7.2 percent uninsured rate is actually second-lowest compared to all states, behind Massachusetts. "Our healthcare system is going to be entirely a welfare system," Dr. Guillermo Tirada, an internal medicine specialist says. "It's sad."

Due to Puerto Rico's U.S. territory status, health care reform gave Puerto Rico the choice to either allocate $925 million dollars toward establishing health care insurance exchanges - or to use the money to fund its Medicaid program until 2019.

Puerto Rico's government elected to take the second option. The nation is now channeling the funds through "Mi Salud," which some have decried as a wrong and desperate step in the government's desperate search for temporary financial relief.

The action, these critics argues, takes Puerto Rico further away from a free market privatized health care system. The doctors there will look elsewhere and leave the island,  already going to the U.S. mainland in search of higher salaries and better reimbursements from insurers.

The number of doctors in Puerto Rico dropped by 13 percent in the last five years, from 11,397 to 9,950. The biggest loss was among primary care physicians and specialists.

"The reimbursement from Medicaid and Mi Salud is abysmal and the public hospitals don't have the infrastructure to deal with an influx of patients and regulations," Dr. Jesus Alvarez, a "maternal fetal medicine specialist," who left the island in April. "For the physicians to survive, they can see 20 patients in one day in the U.S., but in Puerto Rico they have to see 50."



---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Americas

GRISLY HARVEST: Mexican children, adults murdered for their organs Watch

Image of Victims targeted by organ harvesters usually range in age from seven to 10 years while younger children are often kidnapped for adoption.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The already rampant criminal network in Mexico and South America, in addition to dealing drugs, has taken to abducting children and adults in order to murder then and harvest their vital organs. The lucrative, underground business of livers, lungs and eyes to ... continue reading


MASSIVE ACID SPILL: Mexico closes 88 schools after 10 million gallons of acid spills from copper mine Watch

Image of Officials are working to de-acidify the two rivers by adding heaps of calcium to the water. Acid levels are dropping, Mexico's National Water Commission said, but the water is still not totally safe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ecological disaster of momentous proportion is unfolding near the U.S. - Mexico border after a massive acid spill from a copper mine has found its way into waterways. Up to 5,000 school children will be kept out of 88 schools for a week as 800,000 people ... continue reading


The new favorite weapon of the drug cartels has arrived in America -- and it will shock you Watch

Image of Mexican soldiers with hundreds of bricks of marijuana, which is about to be burned.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mexican drug cartels are utilizing a deadly military weapon to keep local residents in terror and protect drug stockpiles. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Authorities on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border say that the cartels are using the grenades. Four live ... continue reading


THREE DEAD: relatives of Pope Francis die in traffic accident in Argentina Watch

Image of According to newspaper accounts, the 38-year-old nephew of the Pope was driving the family's Chevrolet when he collided with an agricultural truck bearing corn in Cordoba.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three members of Pope Francis' extended family, including two young grand-nephews, have died in a traffic accident. The Pope's nephew, Horacio Bergoglio Emanuel was critically injured in crash. Emanuel's wife, Valeria Carmona, and their two children, ... continue reading


Priest jailed in El Salvador for gang rehabilitation! Watch

Image of Father Antonio Rodriguez a Spanish Passionist also known as Padre Tono, was arrested for bringing cell phones to gang members held inside prison.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Father Antonio Rodriguez, a Spanish Passionist, will remain in jail after a judge in El Salvador ruled that he was guilty of various crimes regarding gang activities. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rodriguez, also known as Padre Tono, is well known for ... continue reading


Elderly priest, suspended for involvement in Nicaraguan revolution, reinstated by Pope Watch

Image of Father Miguel D'Escoto's involvement in Nicaraguan politics ran counter to the church ban on clergy holding government positions. He was suspended by Pope John Paul II in 1985.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Father Miguel D'Escoto, 29 years after he was suspended from priestly duties for his involvement in Nicaragua's revolutionary government in the Seventies has been reinstated by Pope Francis. The 81-year-old priest had sent a written request to the Vatican that ... continue reading


Honduran Cardinal gives Israel, Hamas advice - which he himself should follow Watch

Image of Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga has offered advice to the Middle East, that he himself should apply to his home nation of Honduras.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, the president of Caritas Internationalis has suggested that Israeli and Hamas leaders pick up a pair of binoculars so they could see that "most of your victims are innocent people." As we shall see, ... continue reading


Vatican suspends ordinations in Paraguay diocese after accusations of sexual misconduct Watch

Image of The accused priest, Father Carlos Urrotigoity -- who is identified by the Scranton, Pennsylvania diocese as a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of a priest, the Vatican has suspended ordinations at a Paraguay archdiocese pending an investigation. A priest at the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay had been previously deemed a "serious threat to ... continue reading


PROTECTING THE PAST: Peru resorts to drones to save archaeological treasures Watch

Image of Home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu as well as thousands of ancient ruins, Peruvian archaeologists are working around the clock to protect sites from squatters, builders and miners.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A culture is worth nothing if it doesn't preserve its past. To this end, the South American nation of Peru has now resorted to unmanned drones to protect its many archaeological sites. Home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu as well as thousands of ... continue reading


Would you know if a tiger was in your home? Watch

Image of A tiger was found in a cage in a room of an abandoned house by Mexican authorities. The tiger has been moved to a local zoo while police conduct an investigation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Bengal tiger was found by Mexican police officer in an abandoned house after they  received an anonymous tip from a member of the public. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The property was located in the municipality of Chilapa de Alvarez, in the state of ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 37:1-14
1 The hand of Yahweh was on me; he carried me away by ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 So let them say whom Yahweh redeemed, whom he ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:34-40
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Andrew the Scot
August 22: Archdeacon and companion of St. Donatus. Andrew and his sister, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter