Yesterday we addressed the beginning of this year’s legislative session. You can read more about that by clicking here.
Today we start covering a few of the issues we will be watching and asking our members to become engaged as the session moves along.
Medicaid Expansion (aka Obamacaid)
There is no question that when Missourians are asked, and they have been asked several times through various ballot issues, they have resoundingly rejected Obamacare. However, there continues to be an effort by some to implement Medicaid expansion or as Senator (Dr.) Rob Schaaf has aptly named it – Obamacaid.
Despite the fact Medicaid expansion has been proven to be a failure both for the intended recipients and to the taxpayers picking up the tab there continues. to be a drum beaten to implement here in Missouri. The studies of the program even before it was foisted upon most of America showed that it cost a lot of money — no surprise even though it was supposed to save money — but that it also yielded NO significant health care improvement for those who were given access compared to the control group who were not. Neither the recipients nor the taxpayers receive any value other than “feel good” policy.
So far the legislature has held fast and done the bidding of their constituents in not implementing the failed program. The big government crowd doesn’t give up and they continue to try to chip away at that resolve. The opponents say that Missouri is sending money to other states like California and New York by not expanding Medicaid. That is patently false.
A state’s Medicaid reimbursement, whether it is regular Medicaid or Obamacaid, is based on the number of people using the program in that state. So if Missouri were to implement Obamacaid today California, New York and the other states who are already abusing their taxpayers with the program would receive NO LESS money than they do today. The big government progressives are not restrained by the truth and not afraid to not tell the truth!
We will be vigilant to make sure that the legislature is reminded of the will of the people they represent and not the will of those who seek to use taxpayers as their personal bankers.
Most of what you hear about from the education establishment today is the failure of the state to fully fund the education formula. This is understandable since they won’t discuss the problems with Common Core and money is the focus in education today!
Too many people fall for this as an excuse for the education of our children to not be what it should be. However, the fact is that education spending has increased tremendously in Missouri and across the nation. An equal fact is that educational outcomes have not! Here’s a national chart through 2007 (the trend remains the same) showing that fact.
In fact, when the school districts used taxpayers dollars to sue taxpayers for more of their dollars in 2005, the courts found that Missouri was not only meeting its constitutional requirement but was exceeding what is required of it! A part of the court record are the studies that show a couple of things.
a) funding is not the issue in education today. The US spends more than any other country yet gets lower outcomes.
b) classroom size is not as impactful as it is preached to be and has not affected the aforesaid outcomes positively.
First let’s address some falsehoods about the state’s school funding formula. The current formula does not have a fully funded function. When you hear about the formula not being fully funded it’s a function of some back calculations that are used to purport what a fully funded level actually is. More importantly, few if any school funding formulas are based on what it really takes to provide an “adequate” education. See the next point.
Second, the dirty truth — ALL SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULAS are more political than they are educational outcome based. The current Missouri funding formula was developed using some data on performance but has a number of multipliers and factors that are based more on politics than education outcomes.
There is NO agreement on how many dollars it takes to provide an adequate education because no one really knows. Oh, you’ll hear educrats claim it takes $XX but they what they won’t tell you is that $XX includes much more than classroom learning and despite record spending on education DOES NOT result in any improvement in educational outcomes.
What you usually don’t hear from educrats and their “more money for no better outcome” supporters is that in Missouri there has been more money spent each year on education than the year before but it is never enough for educrats who aren’t spending the taxpayer money well to begin with as the results above show. The late Senator Harold Caskey was quoted as saying “the most dangerous place in the capitol is standing between a superintendent and a dollar!” He was on target then and it still is true today.
The real problems in education is not the lack of money but the way the existing funds are used. Wasteful and useless spending dictated by the federal government and state governments are part of the problem. However, when asked to identify what state regulations should be changed to reduce the burden, schools were unwilling to identify what changes could be made to reduce those burdens. Why? Because they were afraid that a reduction in burden would take away their ability to complain about not having enough funding!
While it is true that federal and state regulations and requirements add costs, what usually goes unnoticed and unreported is the fact that local districts decide how to spend a lot of their money. How they choose to spend it creates their own problems and then they expect the state taxpayers to bail them out of those decisions.
Local taxpayers of school districts need to start paying attention to what is happening in their districts. They need to challenge the status quo and not accept the word of their superintendent and school board. History tells us there is a lot more to it than what people are usually told.
If local taxpayers were paying attention they would know that often times when other taxpayers who have done their homework challenge the board the taxpayer is often ostracized and belittled. I guarantee that there are few school boards and districts in the state that would not have some skeletons uncovered if their taxpayers really got interested in what is going on.
This year we will be supporting a number of school reform issues that will not likely solve the problems over night but will go a long way toward highlighting them and developing solutions to them. It has to start at the local level.
Tomorrow we will finish up the issues discussion with Transportation, Ethics and Employee Choice.