While presidential candidates are flowing into Puerto Rico, doctors have been streaming out.
The U.S. commonwealth, awash in economic problems stemming from crippling debt to a severe drought that hit its agricultural sector, has also been contending with the loss of thousands of physicians dismayed by Puerto Rico’s health care crisis.
Presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat and Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, both visit the island Friday .
Clinton is to participate in a healthcare roundtable being held by the Caribbean Cardiovascular Center.
Rubio’s campaign advisory said he would rally with supporters at Aire Libre Restaurant in the capital city of San Juan and share his “New American Century” vision during his visit.
According to the Puerto Rico Health Care Crisis Coalition, an advocacy group, 60 percent of the island’s population – about 2 million people – receive their care through Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicaid.
The group says without some sort of change to reimbursement rates or assistance to its health care programs, health care in the commonwealth, about 20 percent of Puerto Rico’s economy, will collapse.
Clinton is expected to attend fundraisers on the island.
The dire situation of the island led Rep. Luis Gutierrez, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico, to pen a plea to President Barack Obama to take greater action to help Puerto Rico out of its fiscal malaise.
Gutierrez reminded the president in his open letter that as a senator, Obama used to seek his counsel on Puerto Rico.