"Puerto Rico lo hace mejor," ("Puerto Rico does it better") said Gov. Fortuño in closing his recent press conference announcing the extension of Impulso a la Vivienda, a housing incentive program which the government hopes will lead to the monthly selling of at least 500 new homes. It is a phrase that has become increasingly vacuous. The slogan was initially used by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company to promote the island as a vacation destination, but many boricuas often use it as a tongue-in-cheek response to the government's countless shortcomings. Moreover, it also reflects Puerto Rico's general malaise. The latest scandal includes the island's disastrous Medicaid program, Mi Salud, which threatens to leave thousands of people without medical coverage. Many physicians claim they have not been paid for their services, and some have already refused to treat Mi Salud patients. The current system, as it stands, is plagued with inefficiencies and lack of coordination. Ideas on how to improve Mi Salud have already been circulating, some suggest the government adopt the Medicare model in emiting payments to medical insurance companies.
The impending collapse of Mi Salud (in its current form) came as no surprise to many in the health care industry, as was the forced resignation of the Police Superintendent José Figueroa Sancha. His departure is largely due to the steady increase in crime. The murder rate this year is expected to be much worse than the year before. Meanwhile, the Governor has appointed Emilio Díaz Colón, a former commander of the Puerto Rican National Guard, to lead the U.S' second largest police force (the NYPD is the nation's biggest). Many have already written the Major General off, saying he will not be effective in lowering the island's notorious crime rate. So long as the island's judicial system remains weak and feeble, only 7.5% of the island's murders result in a conviction, crime will remain pervasive. To be sure, much work lies ahead in order to put some substance behind the phrase "Puerto Rico lo hace mejor."