Central government to pay what is owed the Caja

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social celebrated it’s 70 years Monday at the Teatro Nacional, where President Laura Chinchilla confirmed that the government was going to give more aid in order to help the struggling health and social services agency.

The Costa Rican government signed an agreement during the celebration that will give 123 billion colons (about $241 million) to the Caja in what the President of the Republic referred to as a necessity to the country and its people. The funds will be paid in 18 months.

“It is unimaginable a Costa Rica without a Caja,” said President Chinchilla.

She added: “We will adopt all measures and means to make the Caja work.”

After the president’s speech Fernando Herrero, the minister of Hacienda, and Ileana Balmaceda Arias, the executive president of the Caja, signed the agreement. In July of this year it was reported by the Panamerican Health Organization that the Caja was in a financial crisis, by 2015 there would be a huge deficit.

“Social Security is a patient diagnosed with time, and it has all the vital signs, in other words, Social Security lives!” said Ms. Balmaceda Arias. “It will not fall upon this generation the terrible crockery of its death.”

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social was established on Nov. 1, 1941, under the Rafael Angel Calderón Guardia administration. The Caja started as a national security retirement program for the country.

Ms. Balmaceda Arias also announced that the Caja board of directors decided to name the Hospital de Golfito after Costa Rican hero Manuel Mora Valverde. She said the board found the hospital worthy of the name.

The central government has been deeply in debt with the Caja, and has been subject to substantial criticism as the health care agency approached serious financial trouble. This is the second infusion of money for the agency. A special commission empaneled to study the Caja’s problems recommended that the central government pay up what it owes.

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