Editorial: Social Security is not a Luxury, it’s a Right

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The Canton of Nicoya seems to have forgotten a fundamental right from the 1940s in Costa Rica: social guarantees, a right that is backed up by Costa Rica’s political constitution. Social guarantees are one of the most important legacies in the country’s history, conceived from the start as a right and not a privilege. In addition, they form part of a system that cares for the health of its citizens and is administrated by the state.

In a country like Costa Rica, it is unacceptable that in districts such as Nicoya and Nosara, 59% of residents do not have social security for their health and a respectable retirement.

Because of an investigation done by The Voice of Guanacaste, published in this edition for the month of August, the reasons behind such high numbers of uninsured people were revealed – the majority of employers and employees see social security payments as an expense and not an investment in themselves or in their country.

In this case, the employers’ and employees’ distorted view of the insurance impedes Nicoyans from receiving the benefits and basic medical attention that they deserve and need.

Social security involves more than just visiting an EBAIS clinic once a year to have a checkup. Social security supports the worker, who receives financial assistance in cases of emergency and not being able to return to work immediately, in having the guarantee that one’s children can receive medical attention thanks to their insurance, and in having financial support for years when it is impossible to work because of old age. And above all, it is a citizen’s obligation to participate and invest in a system that would be out of reach for the majority if it were privatized.

No employee that receives a salary should accept conditions imposed on their social guarantees by their employer. Insurance shouldn’t be at stake and you can never be threatened with losing it.

In Costa Rica, we still have the privilege of access to public healthcare that is accessible; let’s care for it by taking part in it.