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Should Puerto Rico become a US state or independent?
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Puerto Rico would receive increased federal benefits

Puerto Rico has a number of inequities in federal programs like Medicaid and family tax credits and is ineligible for food stamps for disaster victims. Statehood would immediately help out the island, which has been ravaged by natural disasters.

The Argument

Puerto Ricans are US citizens who pay payroll taxes for programs like Social Security and Medicare, yet do not receive the same benefits awarded to mainland American citizens. Making Puerto Rico the 51st state would all but guarantee Puerto Ricans adequate benefits for many social programs, including disaster relief programs, which the island desperately needs.[1] For decades, Congress has capped the amount of money Puerto Rico can get from one crucial program: Medicaid. If Puerto Rico were to become the 51st state, it would be even poorer than the poorest state in the nation—Mississippi. However, Puerto Rico is awarded far less in Medicaid funding than Mississippi, despite having a roughly equal population to the state and over double the poverty rate—19.7 percent compared to 43.1 percent.[2] Further, Puerto Rican hurricane survivors believe the island would have been treated differently if it were a state, according to a survey by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.[3] Not only does Puerto Rico deserve to be treated equally with federal aid, it deserves to be treated equally in terms of disaster relief. The time to make Puerto Rico equal is now, and it starts with statehood.

Counter arguments

With Puerto Rico's debt on the rise, contributing more money from the federal government to the island is an expense that Congress does not need to further endure. Puerto Rico gaining all benefits of formal statehood would cost the federal government loads of money, and Congress cannot afford to do that right now. [4]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 18:09 UTC

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