OFF THE CUFF: Operation cover up begins

La PRENSA cartoonist Vic's take on the rescue plan
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THE  FIRST  20 of some  15,000  patients awaiting surgery, checked into a Panama City hotel on Thursday June 1.

They were received by  Julio García Valarini, the Social Security (CSS) deputy director.

The patients will undergo surgical procedures under the “Plan for Optimization of Surgeries,” which seeks to resolve the backlog.

The plan is viewed with skepticism by  political commentators, who see it as  a move to divert attention from recent presidential payments  totaling scores of thousands of dollars for  surgeries  in private hospitals in  Panama and the US for well paid government officials, connected to the ruling party.

The first group of patients from different parts  of the country arrived at the hotel in the capital accompanied by family members. The surgeries will start Friday.

Garcia Valarini said that the Ministry of the Presidency is initiating the surgeries, which will be paid with funds from the Presidency, and noted that there are insured and uninsured in the list. He added that those patients who have waiting the longest will be the first to receive  operations, reports La Prensa.

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