Editorial: Medical Tourism

POSTED: 01/13/12 11:48 AM

The government is researching options for medical tourism, but we now learn from the Ipol-report that this industry is already flourishing on our island. Unfortunately, this is what our decision makers have in mind, because the tourism the Ipol report mentions has more to do with healthcare insurance fraud and with illegal residents than with any beneficial economic development.

St. Maarten has become a magnet for poor and ill migrants from surrounding countries and islands and it is all our own fault. Migrants are only using the opportunities the Friendly Island is offering them. Inadequate registration systems, government agencies that don’t communicate with each other and a lack of supervision over incoming migrants all have contributes to the current situation.

That there is no money to fix this situation is obviously a non-argument, because by doing nothing this type of fraud costs the government millions. To make things more interesting, the healthcare insurance fraud is facilitated by bogus-employers and by real employers who see an opportunity to make a buck on the side.

The companies that operate as bogus-employers are known to the Justice Ministry. We ask our government: What are the plans to take these swindlers to court and when will this happen?

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