The opinion of Derek W. Black, Millicent Brown and Jon Hale, individuals with sufficient and pertinent credentials, it appears, in the March 5, 2019, issue of The State (“South Carolina has an opportunity to get public education reform right”) looks the problem in the face. That is to say, identify and find a way to fund all the real costs of educating our children, especially leaving unfunded mandates to history.
I share this opinion. For 40 years, our legislature has kicked the can down the road (maybe changing the size or brand of can), keeping South Carolina a state of low taxes and even lower educational outcomes for students easily identified but ignored. Can our state not bite the education and taxation bullet? Enough of “our students are our future” plus unrealistic and, yes, shameful funding.
House education budget a cynical sham
Given the rhetoric coming out of Columbia about increased state support for public schools, the proposed education budget from the House Ways and Means Committee is underwhelming.
While the budget includes a 4-percent salary increase for teachers, it funds this increase by cutting other instructional budget areas, a “rob Peter to pay Paul” approach that will actually mean less overall funding for districts. Further, this budget provides no money for increases for personnel like bus drivers, assistants, maintenance staff and other such critical positions. Raises for these essential employees would need to come from local school boards and governments that the General Assembly has been underfunding for years.
When you layer this budget on an education “reform” bill that does not adequately address our state’s excessive use of bubble tests, offers warmed-over solutions like mandatory retention that have no basis in actual research and adds more bureaucracy with yet another education committee, the result will just be more frustration out in the schools.
I think House leaders figured if they included a teacher raise, no one would notice how bad the rest of the budget actually is. This budget is a cynical sham.
One-payer health care system not something to panic about
Regarding Feb. 18 editorial from Joe White about Medicare for all: First of all, the VA only covers 100 percent cost of those veterans that qualify. They qualify by a means test where the degree of the disability acquired while in the military and financial standing are tested. I used the VA for a while and was able to change doctors.
Second, our current Medicare does not operate like the VA at all, so that is a poor comparison. I am currently on Medicare and find it offers me the same doctors and services I used when I was insured by my private insurance I had when I worked. The wait time to get an appointment is no different either.
I’ve worked on an assignment in Oslo, Norway, for several summers and found the locals had no problem with one-payer system. They paid higher taxes, but had no health care insurance premiums. I’m pretty sure the extra taxes we would have to pay for a one-payer system would be much lower than our current private insurance premiums. I don’t see the medicare for all would deny payment for reasonable procedures. I don’t think they would cover unnecessary plastic surgery and sex change procedures. That doesn’t mean a person couldn’t pay out of their own pocket for those procedures.
The doctors and nurses would still work the same way they do now with Medicare patients, but they would have less admin costs. The government would monitor the health care services just like they do now with Medicare and Medicaid.
I don’t see the panic of going to a one-payer system especially since we already have Medicare and Medicaid. I think people get all worried that we would turn into some stereotyped Socialist country because we have socialized medicine.
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.