The Social Security System (Caja) got a big break recently when the government announced it plans to cancel the ¢185 billion ($358 million) debt it has been strapped with since 1994.
This will free up money for the Caja to build 150 more EBAIS public health community clinics, increasing the system’s health care capacity by 20%. It will also be able to offer more medicines and services, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial last week.
Long waits for medical care and faulty or broken equipment at national hospitals and clinics have been some of the consequences of the Caja’s chronic financial problems (TT, July 7, 2006).
“Today the fundamental principles of social security have been reinforced; the state is going to be able to ensure people in conditions of poverty benefits they have not had for 14 years,” said Caja president Eduardo Doryan.
Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga also applauded the act.
“This payment is the most important one made by this government, it strengthens one of the most emblematic institutions of Costa Rica,” he said.
Beginning in 2008, the governm ent will provide the Caja ¢20 billion ($38.7 million) per year for continued improvements, Zúñiga said.