Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

August 2009: The Big Healthcare Meltdown

The US Health Reform and its implications for PR

In 2008, around 47 million Americans or 15% of the US population were uninsured. In PR, the uninsured were 553,000 or 14% of the population. Today, improving coverage and quality in the health system while reducing medical expenses are key concerns in President Obama’s health care plan. But philosophical and empirical problems combined with political and private power pressures could elude the promise of a universal health system. These days, the discussion in Washington seems to be how many trillions will health care and the recession require for a quick fix. This proposed health reform will unquestionably affect PR as well. Around $13 billion was spent on health care in the island in 2008 while 11% of the public budget was allocated to finance health. The burning question is how will this plan affect the Puerto Rican public health care option?