School Fix – My thoughts

Governor, tear down these schools

I applaud Mr. Finley’s suggestion (http://www.detnews.com/article/20110116/OPINION03/101160304/1271/OPINION0305) and do not believe it goes far enough.

I bring to this discussion a perspective formed from listening to my wife who is a school teacher over these many years. She taught in Detroit for many years and now in the suburbs. Also, my children have gone to a combination of Public, private and religious schools.

In my opinion, the decision of the State of Michigan to institutionalize education has run its’ course and it is time for a new model to emerge. If I remember my history correctly, the decision was initially taken to deliver on the promise that educating our children was an issue of the public good and since there were not enough private institutions, it was decided the state should step in and build the educational infrastructure. Well today, between private schools, charter schools, religious schools there are plenty of venues for education and many of them far exceed the quality delivered by the public institutions.
In my opinion, the communities should sell off their schools to private non-profit consortium and non-profit charter school corporations, something that would ease their budget problems, and get back to the original intent, the community for the public good ensuring that its young citizens get a good education.

The schools can differentiate themselves based on specialty, eg. music, location, or vocational programs. The community would then only have a variable cost tied to the number of young people it was supporting instead of a fixed cost tied to running a school that maybe over or under utilized.

The job of oversight should go to the state and regional boards that would break down the schools by type and publicize a grade card for each school giving parents the information they need to find the best music program or vocational program tied to rough carpentry etc.

I find this much more efficient in delivering the intent of a public financed education. The concept of if you need a car you fund a factory doesn’t make sense to me, I would rather buy the car I want.

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Healthcare Fix – My thoughts

In my opinion, the major problem with the healthcare system is it is fundamentally backwards.  The concept of employers deciding what, if any, health coverage to provide their employees is just wrong.

I would propose the following 10 point solution (sorry it isn’t 2000+ pages long):

  1. Heathcare insurance is to be purchased by individuals and families.
  2. All health care expenses would be tax-free.
  3. Employers should be incentivized to contribute to their employees health insurance expense.  Employers should receive a generous tax break for doing this, such as a write-off for 2x their contributions
  4. Anyone can purchase any healthcare product, you cannot be turned down for any reason.  There is no concept of a pre-existing condition and you cannot be dropped except for non-payment.
  5. Insurance companies need to define products and price them according to the risk pool associated with that product.  These need to be national products to maximize the size of the risk pools and drive down the costs.  All prices need to be published and transparent…there are no special deals.  Insurance companies will try to draw in young participants to pull down the risk pool by adding features the young will prefer, but they may not stipulate a given policy that can only be purchased by a set group of individuals, a 90 year old grandmother in Iowa will be able to purchase a policy designed for 20 somethings in California.
  6. The concept of an HSA needs to be promoted so the lowest cost option would be a high deductible plan tied to a health savings account.
  7. While insurance companies will try to squeeze the cost curve and steer their patron’s toward the doctors and networks they prefer, all plans need to allow for going to the doctor of your choosing, they may just get reimbursed differently.
  8. All doctors, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies must post their prices online and in print to allow consumers to make educated choices.
  9. Medicare and Medicaid would be eliminated.  Seniors would purchase one of the standard insurance plans and a social security healthcare supplement voucher would be provided to cover the majority of the expense.  For those in need of financial assistance, a means tested voucher system, like food stamps would be provided to enable everyone to purchase health insurance.   The savings from the elimination of these programs would fund the vouchers for seniors and the needy.
  10. Malpractice as it exists today would be eliminated except for the most egregious of cases and be replaced by a doctor, hospital and clinic funded compensatory pool.  doctors would be required to sit on a state run panel for 30 day terms drawn by lottery and would hear cases of malpractice and pay compensation from the pool.  They would also have the responsibility of censuring, fining or removing the offending doctor.

My 2 cents!

Shamrock3

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