2017 Politics open thread, January 15-21

This week Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.  Any thoughts?

 

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486 thoughts on “2017 Politics open thread, January 15-21

  1. So this week the real deal begins. My thoughts have crystallized over the past couple of months to:
    – i fear jeff sessions as a.g.
    – i am hopeful enough sane(r) heads prevail in the senate re healthcare legislation. Can’t just repeal and create a vacuum. There must be coincident replacement to avoid complete chaos.
    Related, i am hopeful what trump has said re keeping the preexisting condition and till 26 parts if ACA come true.
    – i hope whatever tax reform is enacted is effective 1/1/18 to allow time for personal planning.
    – all the rest, I’m waiting and seeing.

  2. The problem is that Ryan is pushing high risk pools as the replacement for the ban on pre existing condition exclusion, and he is selling that as equivalent. Most people are very uneducated about healthcare plans and may well buy it. Then we will be back to the terrible situation of the early 00’s, High risk pools were a disaster then – they were so expensive that no state could really afford to run effective plans, so the high risk pool plans typically had waiting periods of 6 months or a year before you could get coverage for your pre existing condition. The policies were also very limited with high deductibles and very high premiums. They were unaffordable for many people who needed them. And some states had to resort to capping the number of people enrolled, so that there were long waitlists. I really fear we will go back to that, and people won’t realize until too late.

  3. It is also important to keep the ban on lifetime caps. We saw several families blow through their lifetime caps when their kid was in treatment. It can easily happen.

    One other thing you guys should realize – with ACA repeal, we also lose protections on employer based insurance. Employer based insurance will no longer be required to allow us to keep our older kids on the plan, and the pre-existing condition coverage will go back to the old method which was that you couldn’t have a gap in your insurance, and plans could impose waiting periods of 6 months before covering you for your condition. Think of how bad that could be for someone who is diabetic or on expensive maintenance treatment

  4. The good thing is that if they repeal the ACA without a replacement or use use high risk pools, people will be affected almost immediately. So, no more misunderstanding how the ACA has benefitted a whole bunch of people. The Medicaid expansion, kids up to age 26, pre-existing conditions, the exchanges, lifetime caps. All gone as soon as they make the repeal effective. Politically, it is really hard to take things away from people. I think the backlash will be Yuge.

    Did everyone see Jeff Jeans at the Paul Ryan town hall? JJ was great. I wanted to smack PR. He is either really dumb or a total liar if he is honestly suggesting that high risk pools will be an adequate replacement.

  5. The problem is that high risk pools tend to sink from their own weight over a period of time, so people won’t see how bad it is for a couple of years. And the effects on employer based plans may also play out over time – if the requirements to keep young adults on parents plans is removed, many employer based Cadillac plans may keep the coverage for a time, but they will have the right to cancel that coverage whenever they decide to.

  6. The Medicaid expansion will be tough on a lot of people. Either the states will need to pick it up and pay for it or all of those people will lose coverage right away. I am not really sure what to say about this. People have spoken and don’t want the federal govt involved in their health ins. We can leave it up for the states or individuals to solve. I think it is shameful but my team lost.

  7. Kentucky is going to be a disaster. It is a very poor state. A lot of people gained insurance through the Medicaid expansion without realizing that was Obamacare, so they didn’t understand they could lose it. The state does not have the resources to fund the expansion themselves. Even if it is blockgranted, it will be difficult for Kentucky to do unless the block grant is as generous as the original.

  8. People have spoken and don’t want the federal govt involved in their health ins

    That’s not what they said. Trump said that everyone needs to be covered and the government needs to pay. Polls show people agree with that.

    The public has little tolerance for Ryan’s complex system of refundable tax credits and high deductible insurance plans*. His ideas meld well with his Randian principles but there is precious little voter buy-in.

    * Trump seems far more aware of how ridiculous it sounds to Joanne the diner waitress and Mike the roofer that the solution to their health insurance woes is to put their health insurance money in the stock market, than Ryan and his rigidly ideological compatriots.

  9. Rhett, I don’t think you appreciate how much anger at those “less deserving” factored into this, though. Joanne and Mike may be OK with a complex high deductible plan if poor people are getting even less. I think one of the genuine sources of anger was due to the fact that people who were on the Medicaid expansion got better insurance than the people on the exchange plans. Yes, of course, the answer would be Medicaid for everyone, but that does not fit the world view of Mike and Joanne.

  10. I hope there is repeal with no replace. That’s what the voters wanted and that’s what they should get. I personally think it is disgraceful as a country that we have people who need to have bake sales and gofundme to pay for medial bills. But that is what the American people wanted, so fine. I no longer feel the need to donate to the bake sales.

    I hope Trump delivers on everything he said he would because I feel his philosophy and the Republican philosophy is very much and FU to people who are suffering. And those people voted for him so fine.

  11. Trump campaigned on repealing Obamacare and had no plan for what he would use as a replacement. The Republican Party, and particularly Ryan, has been very clear what they wanted to do with Obamacare. The voters should get what they asked for when they voted for Trump and the rest of the party.

    I think that a lot of people feel like 12:41 anon. It is hard not to do so. It is a shame that those who voted for HRC and benefit from Obamacare will lose their coverage/benefits, but that’s just how it works. My family benefitted from Obamacare as it relates to the pre-existing conditions and life time cap. I am not pleased that we could lose those protections.

  12. Anon, and Kate, the only problem is that I have a child who will definitely suffer from this. He did not vote for Trump and neither did I. I can keep him covered for a few more years, but then what?

  13. MM – me, too. My oldest is not insurable on the private market and was close to hitting $1m in claims just from his almost 3 month hospital stay starting at birth. I was very relieved when Obamacare passed. But apparently a lot of people don’t think he should be afforded guaranteed coverage because he had the audacity to be born a trimester early and have lots of medical problems relating to that (most of which have resolved, but that doesn’t matter for most insurers). And I am not insurable on the private market either because I had a preterm birth and insurers are worried that I could have another one. I think many people believe that we should just deal with these things on an individual basis.

  14. MM – it doesn’t matter what I think. It’s people like Milo and Scarlett that think FU to your suffering and it isn’t their problem. Republicans worry that you’ll get some benefit or something you don’t deserve.

    I’ve given up. If this is what people want, then I hope the voters get everything they voted for.

  15. How old is your oldest? Just curious. Mine is old enough, at almost 15, that we have to think about how he will take care of his future medical needs. We went to a workshop for survivors last summer, and met a bunch – many have complex ongoing medical needs from treatment that thankfully mine does not. But he has to have coverage because he is high risk for future cancers, and for lovely things like early cardiac failure. I am really worried.

  16. MM – a lot younger. I totally understand your concern. We have a lot more runway to get things fixed before my child would be off of our policy (assuming we can always maintain an employer-based policy). If things look like there won’t be guaranteed coverage for him, I think we would likely shift around how we intend to leave our money and just assume much of it needs to be earmarked for him/insurance. And I would probably go back to work to make sure that can happen/we have enough for him. But I am in a pretty fortunate position and don’t have any solutions for a lot of people. It sucks and really makes me dislike a whole lot of people.

  17. Joanne and Mike may be OK with a complex high deductible plan if poor people are getting even less.

    From a marketing perspective, would it help
    to expose Joanne and Mike to those making many multiples of their income who resent that how much Mike and Joanne are getting – no federal tax due, FICA refunded via the EITC?

  18. No, it wouldn’t. This has been much studied – people tend to assume they are far more likely to end up as the people making many multiples of their income than they are to become the poor people getting even less.

  19. I have never quite understood resenting people who are at a lower economic standing from you. You can make it happen if you think that life is so great.

  20. Another impact that they don’t care about:
    Healthcare workers see the positive impact of the Affordable Care Act every day. Our patients are able to access preventative care instead of coming to emergency rooms in states of advanced illness. Our employers have reduced losses from uncompensated care. Our friends and relatives are relieved of the fear that getting sick equals financial ruin. Repealing the Affordable Care Act without an adequate replacement would have immediate and devastating consequences for millions of our fellow Americans and for state and local budgets.

  21. This WSJ piece was a good summary, IMO, of the difficulties associated with repeal and replace. (Of course, there are also significant problems with the ACA itself.)

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/health-cares-bipartisan-problem-the-sick-are-expensive-and-someone-has-to-pay-1484234963

    “There’s no easy answer to any of this,” says Scott E. Harrington, a health-care-management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who has been critical of aspects of the ACA. “People want low premiums, they want guaranteed access to insurance at rates that don’t reflect their health status…when you try to figure out how to make it work, people don’t like the solutions.”

    But this seems like a reasonable option:

    “One alternative is a “continuous coverage” rule. A proposal included in the House Republicans’ 2016 health-overhaul blueprint suggests insurers can’t charge a person more for a health condition—but only if that person has maintained coverage over time. For those who go without insurance and then decide to buy a plan, insurers could charge more based on health status.

    The goal of a continuous-coverage standard would be the same as the ACA’s insurance mandate, to push healthy people to buy and keep plans. “It does benefit the individual consumer, because it helps keep premiums low,” says Steve Parente, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has advised Republicans. But, he notes, “the consequences could be much higher than what the individual mandate would be” for people with health risks who try to get plans after dropping out.”

    Is it?

  22. Republicans worry that you’ll get some benefit or something you don’t deserve.

    This is a fundamental difference between the two sides. Democrats would rather some “undeserving” people get benefits to ensure that every truly needy person gets what they need, while Republicans would rather some “deserving” people not get benefits to ensures that no undeserving person gets benefits.

  23. On immigration, Republican Rep Mike Coffman has a nice piece in the Denver Post today. I think it’s a very well-reasoned plan, and of course it would have zero chance with the extreme right of the Republican party.

  24. The term “slacker mandate” is used by some critics of the Obamacare requirement regarding 26 year-old “children” staying on their parents’ plan. It is certainly a popular provision, but the costs appear to be borne by workers without children.

    http://healthblog.ncpa.org/guess-who-pays-the-slacker-mandate-workers-with-no-kids/#sthash.m7gDJxL1.OoWHQ6NU.dpbs

    Some young people have dropped out of the workforce because they can rely on the slacker mandate, and they are making good use of their increased free time:

    “If, as suggested by prior work, the provision reduced the amount of time young adults work, the question arises, what have these adults done with the extra time? The extra time has gone into socializing, and to a lesser extent, into education and job search. Availability of insurance and change in work time appear to have increased young adults’ subjective well-being, enabling them to spend time on activities they view as more meaningful than those they did before insurance became available.” http://www.nber.org/papers/w21725.pdf

  25. “continuous coverage” is just another term for “pre-existing conditions.”

    How so? Doesn’t CC prevent people from gaming the system and waiting until they are sick to purchase insurance?

  26. Continuous coverage was what we had pre-ACA in employer-based insurance. It didn’t work very well, as we all know. The problem is, people who lose jobs often cannot afford insurance, leading to unavoidable gaps.The Republicans seem to be just recycling health insurance as it was in 2000, and pretending this is new.

  27. “Democrats would rather some “undeserving” people get benefits to ensure that every truly needy person gets what they need, while Republicans would rather some “deserving” people not get benefits to ensures that no undeserving person gets benefits.”

    This is another example of the reason that Trump won. Actually, there have been several examples of those tired stereotypes in the comments today. Democrats = generous and altruistic; Republicans = mean and stingy. Democrats care about the poor sick people in Kentucky, Republicans are willing to let them die in the streets. Democrats care about people with serious chronic health conditions, Republicans think they are responsible for their own illnesses. Rinse and repeat.

  28. Scarlett,

    The problem (or benefit depending on your ideology) of CC is that it presumes that Joe and Jane six pack will increase their emergency fund by $12k to pay for cobra until they find a new job. To the degree that they take that gamble and lose, they will be unable to afford insurance until they become eligible for Medicare or so destitute they qualify for Medicaid.

  29. Isn’t it possible that CC would be a better incentive than the existing individual mandate in getting healthy people to purchase insurance?

  30. Scarlett,

    Trump won because folks like Ted Cruze said we should just let them die in the street and Republican primary voters decided they were tired of that rigidly ideological nonsense and voted for Trump.

  31. So what happens when someone does not have CC? Just let them die in the street? Because unless you are rich, it is hard to imagine that you will always be able to guarantee coverage.

  32. Isn’t it possible that CC would be a better incentive than the existing individual mandate in getting healthy people to purchase insurance?

    CC is flawed in that it presumes the existence of a previously untapped font of cognitive ability and executive function. At least the mandate impacts people’s tax refunds so the penalty is more immediate.

  33. Rhett,

    Not sure why COBRA is relevant. If Joe loses his job with employer-provided coverage, wouldn’t he be theoretically eligible to buy insurance on the exchanges, with subsidies? And if he kept that policy until he got a job with coverage, he would be protected by his CC from being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition?

    My point is that the system won’t work, and is in fact not working, without sufficient healthy people to pay for the sick ones. The penalty attached to the mandate wasn’t high enough to act as an incentive; a CC provision might be better. There are certainly difficulties associated with CC, one of which is that people may drop coverage not because they are deliberately taking a risk, but because of circumstances beyond their control.

  34. What was typically happening pre ACA is that people couldn’t afford COBRA coverage when they lost a job so they lost their continuous coverage. Remember that lots of people live month to month and don’t have tons of savings to pay for COBRA coverage.

  35. It also assumes that people have the money to maintain CC when they may not (either as a result of their own fault or not). It isn’t based in reality.

  36. “So what happens when someone does not have CC? Just let them die in the street?”

    Were people dying in the street before Obamacare?

    If you don’t find a way to force healthy people into the market, it will collapse. That should have been obvious when the ACA was enacted, but then they had to pass it to learn what was in it.

  37. wouldn’t he be theoretically eligible to buy insurance on the exchanges, with subsidies?

    That’s the ACA that’s getting repealed. It remains to be seen what if any subsidies or exchanges are included in any replacement.

  38. Yes. JJ says that he would have died without Obamacare. There are probably more like him out there. In order to start treatment, he needed to produce $1m or an ins card. He had neither until he was able to purchase an Obamacare policy.

    It is pretty easy to force more people on to the exchanges by increasing the penalty. But that isn’t going to pass muster with our lovely court, particularly with Trump picking Scalia’s replacement.

  39. There is another subtle but potentially explosive problem with the continuous coverage idea. In the Republican plans, the idea is to loosen regulations so that there will be lots of barebones plans that cover very little. Fine. People would hopefully go into those with eyes wide open. BUT the big problem is that young healthy people are likely to sign up for the cheapest most barebones plans possible just to maintain CC. Now, let say that 25 year old Mike is in a motorcycle accident and needs extensive rehab. What is to stop him, on the next insurance cycle, from going out and chooding a Cadillac plan? Even if it is more expensive, it will be worth it to him. Same thing for Joe who is now 55 and learns he has heart disease. And Sarah who has developed diabetes. Over time, the plans that have adequate coverage will become more and more and more loaded with people who need medical care and will have to significantly raise prices. What then? Mike can’t go back to his old barebones policy because he still has a lot of ongoing health problems from that accident. Sam, who learned he has leukemia, won’t even be able to hope to afford a plan that offers enough coverage, and so must go with a plan that bankrupts him.

    This is something that no one is yet thinking about very hard, and which could be the death spiral for the Republican plans.

  40. MM – that one big criticism of more competition/no state lines that I have read. People who are healthy today will flock to the cheap plans that don’t cover much.

  41. “This is something that no one is yet thinking about very hard, and which could be the death spiral for the Republican plans.”

    If you are thinking about it, why do you assume that no one else is doing so? You make good arguments, but in 15 minutes of surfing around I have seen a number of articles on these very issues.

    Rhett, I will readily admit that I don’t have an answer to the question of how best to structure the health insurance market. But it seems pretty clear that toothless mandates combined with micro-managed plan requirements (such as “free” birth control) and limitations on the ability of insurers to price their products according to risk is a disaster.

    One thing I would do is to sever health insurance from employment by eliminating the favorable tax treatment for employer-provided insurance plans. Even though my family benefits very much from the current arrangements, they don’t make sense and they are grossly unfair to the growing numbers of workers at small firms.

  42. And understand, I saw some of this firsthand because my kid was in treatment pre-ACA. I saw a couple of families who exceeded their caps, and I also saw many families running fundraisers to cover costs. When you have a kid with cancer, who requires 24/7 care, trying to run massive fundraisers or beg and plead with charity organizations is pretty difficult.

  43. “but in 15 minutes of surfing around I have seen a number of articles on these very issues.”
    So what do these articles recommend?

  44. Things like “free” birth control are not where the costs are in healthcare, and I am sure you know that yourself. Virtually all the costs are on the catastrophic side. You can throw in things like vaccine coverage, well child visits, and the ilk because these freebies don’t really raise the cost of insurance. And if you price according to risk, you are basically saying that people of modest income who are not healthy are not going to be able to get insurance.

    There are ways around that, such as subsidizing people who can’t afford the high risk insurance. But no state, pre-ACA, was ever able to do that because of the costs and the politics – you get right back to taxpayers not wanting to pay for those less deserving.

  45. Rhett, I will readily admit that I don’t have an answer to the question of how best to structure the health insurance market.

    Then why are you so eager to attack the ACA? I know birth control bothers you but what other objections do you have?

    One thing I would do is to sever health insurance from employment

    Politically impossible.

    All your objections seem to come down to the same reason the Republicans can’t agree on a replacement – the ACA is really the only way it can work in a politically viable manner.

  46. limitations on the ability of insurers to price their products according to risk is a disaster.

    So MM’s son should forever be required to pay thousands a month for health insurance because he had the nerve to get cancer as a child? Is that really how you want the system to work?

  47. Democrats = generous and altruistic; Republicans = mean and stingy. Democrats care about the poor sick people in Kentucky, Republicans are willing to let them die in the streets. Democrats care about people with serious chronic health conditions, Republicans think they are responsible for their own illnesses. Rinse and repeat.

    Right. What’s your point?

  48. And for heaven’s sake, stop sulking about it. You won! You should be doing the happy dance.

  49. Rhett – I think that is how some people do want the system to work. People don’t want risk sharing. They want everyone to pay for their own stuff, except if it is for themselves or their own families and then they want someone else to pay for it.

  50. RMS – Amen. For being on the cusp of America being Great Again, Trump voters sure aren’t in good moods.

  51. “But no state, pre-ACA, was ever able to do that because of the costs and the politics – you get right back to taxpayers not wanting to pay for those less deserving.”

    First, why do you focus on this “less deserving” mantra. Isn’t it possible that people just don’t want to pay higher taxes, period?

    Second, if states could not afford to provide care for high-cost patients, where is the federal government supposed to get the money to pay for them?

  52. “All your objections seem to come down to the same reason the Republicans can’t agree on a replacement – the ACA is really the only way it can work in a politically viable manner.”

    Except that the ACA doesn’t work. How many insurers have dropped out of the exchanges? How many healthy young people are ignoring the mandate? How many patients are finding that they can keep neither their plan nor their doctor? How many families are facing “sky-high” premium increases?

  53. Well, they could start by cutting the military budget, and accompany that by refraining from starting idiotic, doomed, insanely expensive wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.

  54. Of course people don’t want to pay higher taxes. My answer to that is too bad. This is allegedly a civilized society. Health care should not be a luxury.

  55. One of the many things I actively dislike about Obama is that he didn’t even try for Medicare for All. His negotiating strategy was “give the other side everything they want”. Swell. Dipshit. That’s why the ACA doesn’t work.

  56. HE DIDN’T EVEN TRY. You don’t start negotiating by giving everything away.

  57. I actually quite like Obamacare. I think the penalties need to be higher and the subsidies bigger, but many people (including a lot of Democrats) don’t want Medicare.

  58. Except that the ACA doesn’t work.

    You and your boy don’t even have a plan. But, I’m sure whatever you dream up will the flawless.

  59. “That’s why the ACA doesn’t work.”

    Then why is everyone so upset about repealing and replacing?

    We can set minimum standards to avoid the death spiral MM predicted.

    I’m guessing that the reason they have to repeal first is because the moderates are more likely to get bipartisan support if the alternative is zero. At that point, they’ll have political cover because they won’t be voting against Obamacare.

    Have some faith, everyone.

  60. We can set minimum standards to avoid the death spiral MM predicted

    Scarlett considers that government micromanagement.

  61. “We can set minimum standards to avoid the death spiral MM predicted.”

    But that is one of the things the Republicans don’t like about the ACA!!!

    In order to miitgate the death spiral (and I say mitigate because it is a problem for any market based plan), you have to set the minimum standards high enough so that every plan will adequately cover the expensive things. So you can’t have plans that cap at 500,00 dollars, or that require you to pay 40% of every bill (which some barebones plans were doing back in the pre-ACA days), because when MIke has his motorcycle accident, either you have to let him go bankrupt in which case the hospital gets stuck with the bill, or you have to let him switch to a better plan. But the problem is, plans that adequately cover the big expenses are expensive because THAT IS WHERE THE COSTS ARE! The ACA plans are too expensive for some because they adequately cover Mike’s costs when he wipes out on the Harley and has a brain injury.

  62. “How many patients are finding that they can keep neither their plan nor their doctor? How many families are facing “sky-high” premium increases?”

    These were big problems before the ACA, which I am sure you will remember if you try hard enough. And lots of people weren’t even insured. That is why there had been a growing clamor for healthcare reform starting in the 90’s. People really felt that something needed to be done.

  63. Healthcare is expensive. People need to accept this. There is no magic bullet that Congress will dream up that is going to change this.

  64. Back to the death spiral… The way the ACA mitigates the effects is by making sure all plans cover for the catastrophic stuff, so people aren’t going bankrupt even when insured, and then limiting the plan change time to once a year. In European market based systems, they usually regulate the plans even more to avoid this problem. The problems is, if you allow really cheap plans without good coverage, you have to let people quickly switch or else they are stuck paying all the costs. And you can’t say that people will just be smart and responsible and pick good insurance – if that were true, people wouldn’t be ignoring the mandate now!

  65. That is why there had been a growing clamor for healthcare reform starting in the 90’s.

    More like 70s. In one of my NP classes, we watched a video from 60 minutes or 20/20 or one of those shows from 1980 that was about the health insurance crisis. They talked about all the same issues we’re still battling today.

  66. The other thing – if individual people can’t afford healtchare costs, and the states can’t afford them, and the federal government can’t afford them, then we have a bigger problem – that means that as a country we are not wealthy enough to afford adequate medical coverage. How did we get there? That suggests we need to do something drastic to limit costs, and indeed, if we look to Europe, there is a model there. Costs are much lower in Europe. Oh, I forgot, we aren’t allowed to look at healthcare systems that WORK because we are Americans and exceptional.

  67. Things like “free” birth control are not where the costs are in healthcare, and I am sure you know that yourself.

    I never understood why the insurers weren’t falling all over themselves to cover birth control. It costs a hell of a lot less than a vaginal delivery with no complications, let alone an emergency c-section followed by three months in the NICU.

  68. I think Medicare for all could be an alternative. Ot is this a form of single payer ? Anyway, once people at taxed right through their paycheck and medical care is available for all, there is no signing up for anything, having to choose plans, dealing with rate hikes etc.
    Everyone who works contributes to health care costs. We can do away with employer sponsored healthcare.

  69. Scarlett – you aren’t doing much in your arguments to convince me that Republicans aren’t mean and stingy.

  70. You’re absolutely right. Health care is expensive.

    If there were an easy answer to the question how to provide affordable health care to everyone, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    But it isn’t helpful, either on this board or in public policy generally, to assume that those who dislike the ACA are motivated by greed and selfishness or simply don’t understand how the health care system works and need to let the grownups figure it all out for them. That is how we ended up with the ACA in the first place, as “experts” like Jonathan Gruber who pushed it through made clear afterward:

    “You can’t do it political, you just literally cannot do it. Transparent financing and also transparent spending. I mean, this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes the bill dies. Okay? So it’s written to do that,” Gruber said. “In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in, you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical to get for the thing to pass. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/11/10/obamacare-architect-yeah-we-lied-to-the-stupid-american-people-n1916605

  71. “I never understood why the insurers weren’t falling all over themselves to cover birth control.”

    You can be sure that insurers would have covered contraception at no cost if it truly saved them money.
    But it doesn’t. Women who were sufficiently motivated to use prescription-based birth control were already paying for it themselves. It was nothing more than a political bone thrown Obama threw to his liberal female base.

  72. It was nothing more than a political bone thrown Obama threw to his liberal female base.

    Or you could look at it as providing equal coverage for both genders.

  73. “I think he is spot on.”

    Right. But that’s why you lost. That’s how Democrats feel about everything. Between their own moral preening and their absolute disgust for anyone who disagrees.

    We have to find something that has bipartisan support from the moderates in the center. Even if it’s very similar to ACA. Perhaps with the exception of selling across state lines.

  74. I am a moderate. I voted for Bush once upon a time! The Republicans have just become a very nasty group.

  75. Between their own moral preening and their absolute disgust for anyone who disagrees

    OUR moral preening? We’re not the ones who spend time on this blog primly remarking that if all those low-income girls would just keep their legs crossed there wouldn’t be any social problems anymore.

  76. Scarlett,

    call it the stupidity of the American voter

    Is that the tone that you and Milo object to? Not the policy itself but that it wasn’t couched in the right terminology?

    You know in your heart that a sizeable percentage of the population doesn’t have the cognitive ability and executive function to deal
    with the free market naked in tooth and claw. But, you hate when that truth is it’s acknowledged so bluntly or even embraced.

  77. Between their own moral preening and their absolute disgust for anyone who disagrees.

    You don’t think both sides are equally guilty?

  78. Milo – have you watched the last 8 years and the Republicans total refusal to work with Obama at all. Starting with the creation of the Tea Party. Boehner and his frustration with his own party. The birther movement. How McConnell has acted. There is just so much. Wonder what that was all about.

  79. Kate,

    Obama set the tone with his smug “Elections have consequences — I won” at the beginning and his “I have a phone and a pen” at the end. He and the Democrats have only themselves to blame. For better or for worse, we live in a democracy and the voters, even the stupid ones, need to be persuaded rather than lectured to. Obama has never figured that out.

  80. We have to find something that has bipartisan support from the moderates in the center.

    Neither party cares about the moderates anymore, that’s the problem.

  81. Well, now the Republicans are fully in control. I am sure whatever they come up with will be great.

  82. Kate, it’ll be YUGE. The fact that Scarlett is uninsurable is irrelevant to her because her husband has tenure. Hey hey, ho ho, tenure system’s got to go.

  83. Rhett,
    No, it’s the content too. Obama vilifies everyone who has the temerity to disagree with his wisdom.

  84. RMS,
    Maybe it’s time for me to take a break from this thread. The personal potshots are uncalled for.

  85. Right, because if your theories and primness apply to YOU, then that’s “out of line”.

  86. So, let’s say I concede that Obama is smug. Does that really excuse the other party from working with him for 8 years? Really? Don’t they have an obligation to keep the government functional? It is total insanity that because you don’t like how someone says something that it is acceptable to refuse to do your job. Particularly when your job is legislating for the most powerful country in the world. I don’t see how any rational person condones that sort of behavior.

  87. Obama vilifies everyone who has the temerity to disagree with his wisdom.

    You don’t say he’s wrong you just object to his hectoring tone. I don’t think we disagree here.

    I’m just delighted by the refreshing change your boy brings as he has never and would neve vilify those who disagree with him.

  88. I’m just delighted by the refreshing change your boy brings as he has never and would neve vilify those who disagree with him.

    And he’d certainly never take any vindictive action against them.

    Again, you who voted for Trump, you can shut the fuck up, because YOU WON. YOU WON. YOU WON. Isn’t that GREAT??

    If we pathetic losers complain, well, you can just treat us with the love and compassion that we were supposed to extend to your poor pathetic overlooked rural voters.

  89. My insurance plans always covered birth control, even when I was on Kaiser for a year. It was always a common feature because it is cheap and saves money.

  90. I just came back in and started trying to reason again, but saw that people are getting mad.

  91. Whoever asked about Medicare for all, yes, that is totally single payer. There are two single payer models, the NHS model where all doctors work for the government, and the Canadian model, which is actually a provincial model, in which the government acts as the insurer but the providers are private

  92. “You don’t say he’s wrong you just object to his hectoring tone. I don’t think we disagree here.”

    No, he is wrong. About Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, the relative dangers of climate change and Islamic jihad, and health care reform, among other issues. But the hectoring tone certainly doesn’t help his causes.

  93. . But the hectoring tone certainly doesn’t help his causes.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on the policies you disagree with rather than focus on the tone? As far as heathcare – if you want to end the ban on considering pre-existing conditions, kids can’t stay on their parents plan past 18, no or vast reduced mandatory coverage, that’s fine. Just say so. I don’t think Trump has any interest in going in that direction but there we are.

  94. Obama vilifies everyone who has the temerity to disagree with his wisdom.

    Meanwhile Trump is so kind and understanding towards the people who disagree with him.

    I understand the political reasons why you voted for Trump and dislike Obama. But you kill any chance at rational discourse by spending so much time harping on Obama’s attitude.

  95. Likewise, it is easy to see why people don’t like Trump and therefore voted for their own seriously flawed candidate. But hard to understand the portrait of Obama as an innocent victim of nasty and partisan Republican hacks who put their own hateful uncaring agenda before the good of the country. Nor the gloom and doom that we will be soon be stepping over sick people in the streets because a seriously flawed health care program that has been in effect for just a few years may be repealed and replaced by another program that isn’t perfect either.

  96. “I understand the political reasons why you voted for Trump and dislike Obama”

    Then we shouldn’t be hearing these same old myths about how Republicans only hate poor people.

  97. “same old myths about how Republicans only hate poor people” Yeah, I notice that.

  98. One of my favorite bloggers (who voted for Obama) wrote this, although I can’t say I necessarily agree.

    “I’ve never seen anything like this kind of hostility and opposition thrown in front of a new President.”

    I think the writer was mainly referring to the media, in which case I might agree, But I continue to see weird comments from otherwise normal people on my FB feed, like this one about Kellyanne Conway.

    “I just want to put a bag over her ugly head and drop her off a pier.”

    So much anger.

  99. And I think we face the distinct possibility that we’ll end up with another heavily flawed healthcare plan, this time from the Republicans. But maybe it’ll be marginally better than Obamacare.

  100. “I’ve never seen anything like this kind of hostility and opposition thrown in front of a new President.”

    And they call Trump’s supporters the Deplorables?

    “We call on all people of good conscience to join in disrupting the ceremonies. If Trump is to be inaugurated at all, let it happen behind closed doors, showing the true face of the security state Trump will preside over. It must be made clear to the whole world that the vast majority of people in the United States do not support his presidency or consent to his rule. Trump stands for tyranny, greed, and misogyny. He is the champion of neo-nazis and white Nationalists, of the police who kill the Black, Brown and poor on a daily basis, of racist border agents and sadistic prison guards, of the FBI and NSA who tap your phone and read your email.

    He is the harbinger of even more climate catastrophe, deportation, discrimination, and endless war. He continues to deny the existence of climate change, in spite of all the evidence, putting the future of the whole human race at stake.The KKK, Vladimir Putin, Golden Dawn, and the Islamic State all cheered his victory. If we let his inauguration go unchallenged, we are opening the door to the future they envision.

    Trump’s success confirms the bankruptcy of representative democracy. Rather than using the democratic process as an alibi for inaction, we must show that no election could legitimize his agenda. Neither the Democrats nor any other political party or politician will save us—they just offer a weaker version of the same thing. If there is going to be a positive change in this society, we have to make it ourselves, together, through direct action.”

    http://www.disruptj20.org/get-organized/call-to-action/

  101. I venture over to redstate.com every so often because it is interesting to read. Man, it is filled with the same kind of rhetoric about liberals that you guys are objecting to. But I also don’t see a lotta love for Trump on that site either.

  102. Trump claims he wants to cover everyone one. Redstate.com is shocked and horrified
    “It has long been an argument on the right, to include among those who now comprise the Trump-right, that Obama and the Democrats hoped and planned for the public option to eventually become single-payer. What Trump has advocated for years is exactly the same. It really seems his beef with Obamcare is that it isn’t set up the way he thinks it ought to be, rather than the very core political and practical premise of it.

    The President-elect claims to have a master plan. A magic plan, that will cover everyone in the country, reduce premiums, reduce government expense, use government money to pay for the health coverage of those who cannot pay, will not be Obamacare, won’t devolve into single-payer, will force drug manufacturers to give awesome prices to Medicare and Medicaid, will improve the standard of care across the board, is already ready to go already, and will be implemented as a replacement tout de suite, without anyone currently covered under Obamacare losing their coverage or experiencing a gap.”

    http://www.redstate.com/absentee/2017/01/16/health-insurance-everybody-government-will-pay-says-republican-president-elect-donald-trump-again/

    Maybe Rhett is right – he just wants to steal Obamacare and call it Trumpcare. Which after all would be as Trumpian as it gets

  103. Rebranding. You’re right. Tell you what, if he accomplishes that, I’ll vote for him in four years.

  104. I did not read that as Redstate being shocked bur rather that we should NOT be shocked based on what we know of Trump.

    Yeah, the discussion at our house has been that it’s not unlikely Trump will only tweak Obamacare but end up with something that closely resembles Obamare, which could very well put us on the path to universal single-payer.

  105. Of course there is hostility. Did everyone expect a kumbaya moment? We aren’t coming together nor would I ever want to come together over someone like him. He lacks a basic decency that we should require in all of our leaders. This isn’t an opposition to someone like Pence based on policy. This is opposition to a man who isn’t fit to lead. His winning is an embarrassment to the US. I would feel this way even if his policies lined up with mine in every way (and I suspect that he is a pretty moderate political person when you get down to it).

  106. another heavily flawed healthcare plan

    If you have a flawless plan I’m sure we’d all like to hear it.

  107. As one of the few who read on this blog who is self-employed, I thought that I would add my perspective on how my family has been affected by the ACA. Last year was the first year that we were enrolled in the ACA. Before ACA, I was paying $962 a month in premiums for our family of three. That was with a $5,000 deductible per person. Last year my month premiums dropped to $459 with a $2,000 deductible per person. We had Anthem before the ACA and continue to have Anthem, so we are able to continue to see the same doctors as before. Obviously, I love the ACA. Premiums before the ACA were increasing on average 9% per year. It was getting close to the point were health care coverage was becoming too unaffordable for us.
    I talk to a lot of people who are self employed. In my area, these people have almost all benefited from lower premiums and deductibles with the ACA. I have also talked to many other people who would love to start their own businesses but don’t because they can’t afford to give up the health care that they get through their employers
    A few years ago DD got very sick at the end of the year. Besides worrying about her, I also had to be concerned about paying the $5,000 deductible for that year and worried that I would have to pay $5,000 in the new year. Luckily, DD only had a few bills in the new year before she recovered. No one should have to worry about paying that much money for medical services while at the same time worrying about the health of a family member. .

  108. Other than dead on arrival, why are people avoiding the idea of HEALTH SERVICES for all* vs health insurance. Understand paid for by taxes that I’m willing to bear.

    * eligible people. Another political football. Who’s an eligible person? Natural born citizen? + naturalized citizens? + legal permanent residents? + legal (in-force visa-carrying) non-permanent residents? + undocumented?

  109. Scarlett –

    You said you are feeling personally attacked by today’s thread. I ask you to please read the following. My good manners have finally succumbed to my hurt and outrage.

    I stopped contributing to this part of the Totebag because you, the individual, treated me and my opinions about issues close to my life experience with contempt. I would give you a thoughtful explanation with examples of my concerns, you would say, I have an open mind but you haven’t convinced me that those examples mean what you say or that your concerns have any validity. Then you would have the temerity to post occasionally to tell the Jews how we (as if we are some monolithic Zionism right or wrong bloc ) should react and to complain that we have refused to engage you in rational discussion of our post election fears because after we do attempt to explain and you dismiss our explanations we say politely, well if you don’t understand I can’t explain it, when we are thinking something a lot less printable.

  110. Rhett – not sure of the exact model. I’m sure there are elements of NHS that are great, some of the Canadian model that are great, some of the French/German/other countries’ models that are great. Let’s figure out those and build our model to be great.

    In one conversation I had with a friend, a health insurance exec who was C-level at our local BC/BS and then President of one in the Midwest, his point was the system will work for everyone as long as truly everyone has to be in it. Can’t have the healthy 20s/30s single/no kids people able to opt out. The penalty for doing so has to be = to the cost of insurance for their to be no real advantage in skipping out.

    Also, one of the things that (some/many) people dislike about the policies currently sold thru the exchanges is that the policies are high-deductible vs e.g. $20 per visit. By design, btw, because high-deductible plans have lower premiums. But most everyday “normal” people really don’t understand that and how those plans work. They get the idea of a relatively low co-pay per visit but not the e.g. $3000-$10000 annual deductible that has to be satisfied before the insurance lowers their out of pocket. (They forget or are unaware of the fact that by just having insurance they get the negotiated rate from their providers; they just see that before the deductible is satisfied it costs $83 to see the pediatrician vs the $150 is would have been without insurance. That $67 benefit is invisible because they wouldn’t have paid $150…they just go to the emergency room and become charity care)

  111. If you pay attention, you may notice that the big complaint about the ACA policies is high premiums/high deductibles. Anyone who is complaining about high deductibles is someone who is trying to access health services for one reason or another, meaning that these people are not the inivincible 25 year olds who never go to the doctor. So when they say “cheaper”, they mean lower premiums and lower deductibles. I don’t see how that happens. Republicans talk a lot about HSAs, but in effect those are very high deductible policies. I only see 3 paths to low premium/low deductible plans: the government negotiates with the providers and pharmaceutical companies to make prices go down, the government puts in massive subsidies, or entire categories of care are not covered (and these have to be high cost services to really get premiums down). The first two are anathema to Republicans, and the third is really a draconian form of “high deductible” which means that some people will get no coverage for a service they really need.

    So how does Trump get to insurance for all, cheaper and better?

  112. So how does Trump get to insurance for all, cheaper and better?

    Drug stocks tanked after President-elect Donald Trump, in his first press conference since the election, complained about big price increases and put the industry on notice.
    Trump said that many companies were “getting away with murder” and that there would be more competitive bidding practices for federal contracts in his administration.

    Scarlett will of course note that his plan is tantamount to communism.

  113. Rhett – I expect that Trump’s negotiating with providers will = trashing them on Twitter and having their stock prices drop until they capitulate.

  114. Rhett – I expect that Trump’s negotiating with providers will = trashing them on Twitter and having their stock prices drop until they capitulate.

    If it works, great.

  115. All the brouhaha surrounding the epipen and, to a lesser extent, insulin prices, have caused DH’s insulin copay to drop from about $400 to $10. If public shaming works, great.

  116. The problem with public shaming is that it tends to be a one shot deal. The price of epipens may go down, but the increases will get shifted elsewhere. To really get the costs down, the negotiating has to be across the board

  117. ” This isn’t an opposition to someone like Pence based on policy. This is opposition to a man who isn’t fit to lead. His winning is an embarrassment to the US. I would feel this way even if his policies lined up with mine in every way (and I suspect that he is a pretty moderate political person when you get down to it).”

    I agree with Kate on this

  118. But the only healthcare expert he has on his team is Tom Price, who I cannot imagine accepting across the board cost cutting by providers. Price is a tea partier, who has his own plan, one that features pretty much the standard Republican ideas: HSAs, tort reform, continuous coverage required to get out of pre-existing condition exclusions, and selling across state lines,. The unique feature is age adjusted tax credits, which isn’t a bad idea – you get more as you get older – except that the amounts are so paltry as to be laughable. You get a credit of $1200 if you are between 18 and 35, rising to $3000 if you are over 50. I doubt $3000 would make a dent for older people, especially because another part of his plan is very meager barebones policies for young people. That of course would drive up prices for the better plans that those 50 year olds would want.

    I do not see government negotiations with providers anywhere in his plan. And since Price is an ex-surgeon, I doubt he would ever support that.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/11/with-health-secretary-position-trump-selects-obamacare-executioner/

  119. . You get a credit of $1200 if you are between 18 and 35

    The average price of a bronze plan is $203. Presumably, with a lot less coverage that would be even lower, maybe $150. The chief complaint wasn’t so much the $203 (with subsidies) premium, it was the $5613 average deducible.

  120. So how will Price’s plan help with the deductible?

    It won’t. In theory, someone could put that $50 a month away in an HSA to pay for services no longer covered by the ACA and for their future deducible. We all know how unlikely that is for someone for whom $50 is a material monthly expense.

  121. For the seniors in our household who are immigrants (don’t get Medicare because they haven’t contributed to it) we go through ACA.
    It has been great to be able to get coverage but this year there is only one insurer in our state and to keep the same plan they had last year the cost doubled. They do get a rebate through their taxes (if I am putting it correctly).
    Since our seniors don’t want any money to leave their bank account – we have had to go to the Rhett strategy of increasing our income.
    In our case we are covering family who haven’t paid into the system. In the future of immigration the cost of healthcare is one big issue that will have to be tackled for immigrants who are not getting employer funded healthcare.

  122. “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

    His latest statement. To the degree he’s going to break the back of “I’ve got mine” conservatism I say, “God’s speed, Donald Trump.”

  123. When did Trump say that?? It sounds more like Hillary Clinton than Paul Ryan. Maybe the Democrats should do a deal with him.

  124. I would love to see a showdown of Trump v the rest of the Republicans as Trump fights to rebrand Obamacare and the rest fight to repeal it. Our country truly has gone mad.

  125. In the discussion, can you clearly identify when you support a “single payer option” (everyone has the choice of a government provided option; government structures the market as in France/Germany/Japan) vs. “single payer” (illegal to obtain care outside the government provided system; Canadians who want care that isn’t provided need to travel to a country where their recommended-but-unfunded follow-up cancer scans are legal)

    I see a big difference between these two choices.

  126. I don’t think Germany does it that way. They use nonprofit-but-private payers for insurance, at least that is my understanding

  127. France has the government payer for basic coverage but most French have private insurance too. I believe Canada also allows private insurance

  128. Actually, you can;t really say “Canada” because the plans are all run by and set up by the provinces. I know there is a brouhaha in BC right now because of a particular fee they impose – an old friend of mine lives there and I have heard him complain

  129. I would love to see a showdown of Trump v the rest of the Republicans as Trump fights to rebrand Obamacare and the rest fight to repeal it.

    I agree. I worry that some people are so reflexively anti-Trump they will oppose a deal that offers them almost everything they want. To the degree Democrats can work with Trump to cleave the “I’ve got mine” wing of the Republican party off into irrelevance – we should be all in on that.

  130. I worry that some people are so reflexively anti-Trump they will oppose a deal that offers them almost everything they want.

    Or they are in the pockets of Big Pharma:

    http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/pharma-booker-canada

    “Progressives in the Democratic Party are outraged after 13 Democrats voted against an amendment that would have allowed Americans to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, saying it’s a sign that Big Pharma has too much power in the party.”

    They had the Republican votes to pass it, but the Dems who received big donations for the pharmaceuticals voted it down. Among those was Colorado’s Michael Bennett, who, according to the Denver Post this morning, has received over $300K in donations from Big Pharma. He claimed that his vote was that we can’t ensure the safety of drugs from Canada. Even though most of the drugs are manufactured in the U.S.

  131. Yes, but what if his plan is simply to introduce Price’s plan as the “beautiful coverage”, hoping people wouldn’t notice? Price;s plan says that people can get insurance even with pre-existing conditions as long as they keep continuous coverage (which is already a deeply flawed idea) but says nothing about how much insurers can charge those people – and if insurers can charge a lot, the tax credits won’t go very far. He also wants to resurrect high risk pools. That is little different from what Ryan wants to do.

  132. I was kind of shocked at Cory Booker, but he does represent a state in which pharmaceutical companies are a major employer. And he has always been rather middle of the road

  133. but says nothing about how much insurers can charge those people

    I believe their plan is that if you maintain coverage you have to be charged the standard rate. They can’t charge you more due to your health status. Scarlett of course views that as an abomination, “limitations on the ability of insurers to price their products according to risk is a disaster.”

  134. It needs to be pooled risk. Across a million people some, hopefully very few, will have extremely high medical costs. Any many will have little to none. So if on average the insurance company has to pay out $930/person/year let them collect $1000/person. The 7% is for their overhead (the level of our local BC/BS). If that $1000 premium needs to be (partially/fully) subsidized for some with limited income, maybe make it $1200 who make above the line.

  135. MM,

    From Vox’s analysis of Ryan’s plan:

    For example: If a cancer patient goes straight from insurance at work to her own policy, her insurer has to charge her a standard rate — it can’t take the cost of her condition into account.

    But if she had a lapse in coverage and went to the individual market under Better Way, insurers would still have to offer her a plan — but it wouldn’t have to be affordable.

  136. I won’t cut off my nose to spite my face. If Trumpcare is an improved Obamacare, I will fully support it.

  137. But continuous coverage requirements are not an improvement. It didn’t work well pre-ACA in the employer market, and I can’t see how it will work well this time around. Price proposes to use high risk pools, another failed pre-ACA method, to catch the people who would inevitably fall out of continuous coverage. But the amount he budgets to fund the pools is way too little. That was the undoing of high risk pools the first time around – states found them to be unaffordable

  138. I can’t see how it will work well this time around.

    I agree. For it to work it requires people to become far more totebaggy than they have proven themselves capable of being. In other words, it’s too wonky.

    The conservative American Enterprise Institute has an interesting plan that would have the refundable tax credits equal the cost of a bronze plan and if you didn’t sign up the government would sign you up and deposit your tax credit with the firm they chose for you.

    States could also boost insurance enrollment by
    assigning persons who are eligible for the tax credits
    but have failed to pick an insurance policy to a default
    insurance plan. The upfront deductibles for these
    insurance plans would be set as necessary to ensure the
    premiums for enrollment would be equal to the federal
    tax credit, thus ensuring no additional premium would
    be required from a person assigned to a default plan.

    https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Improving-Health-and-Health-Care-online.pdf

  139. Actuarially, I am in favor of federal high risk pools paid for (100% subsidized) by higher federal INCOME TAXES, because I think that is the most economically sound way to pay for healthcare- to have healthy, high income people pay more (but not for their medical insurance) in order to subsidize people with high medical needs. I don’t think state high risk pools can work, partly because of wide variation in average income by state and willingness of specialists to live in some states/rural areas, any more than I think that you could impose Germany’s or France’s system of medical insurance on Macedonia or Romania.

    The statistics from the article someone linked to, combined with statistics I’ve read before, say that 1% of the population accounts for 1/3 of medical costs and 10% of the population accounts for 2/3 of medical costs. This is the part of the pareto that needs to be considered, and the Republicans seem to be focused on the 90% of the population that accounts for 1/3 of medical costs.

    The fact that high risk pools were poorly implemented before does not mean it is impossible to implement them well.

    I like Fred’s idea about heavily regulated government medical insurance as an alternative to [my definition of] single payer. Heavy government regulation works well for utilities; it might work for medical insurance. In many areas, choices are getting progressively worse under ACA because, as predicted, only the sickest people buy insurance.

  140. The best solution I’ve heard (at a high level, obviously the devil is in the details) is health insurance cooperatives. They would function the same as private sinsurers, except they would be owned by the members. The members would ultimately control what plans are offered by electing the board that runs it, and any profits would be paid back to the members.

  141. WCE,

    That 1% isn’t the same group every year. You have no claims for a few years then you have a premie and you’re in the 1% and then the kid pulls through and you’re back in the 90% for a few years. Then you get cancer or have a heart attack and you’re back in the 1% for a year or two.

    Your plan would seem to involve government re-insurance. You either have an HSA for the first $20k or you have private insurance that covers the first $20k and the government is on the hook for anything above that.

  142. People need to think about what the Supreme Court will accept in terms of forcing people to purchase health insurance. For better or worse, the Supreme Court has allowed Obamacare to survive because they characterized it as a tax and not a mandate. Because it is a tax, there are limits on what the fed govt can do. Supreme Ct nominations matter and Trump was pretty clear about the list of individuals he was consdering to take Scalia’s seat.

  143. Kate,

    I haven’t read through the details of the AEI’s plan but I assume it gets the mandate the same way the feds were able to mandate speed limits and currently mandate at 21yo driking age. The state either passes a mandate at the state level or the feds don’t give the state any Medicare or Medicaid money.

    Alternatively, if the government is passing a refundable tax credit and giving it to a private company on your behalf, is that unconstitutional? They aren’t making you do anything or pay anything so how would you have standing to sue?

  144. Rhett, government re-insurance is exactly what I’m thinking. I think the number would be higher than $20k- the tough discussion would be how much we want to raise taxes in order to subsidize insurance- but the idea that our current medical system is affordable to the working class is outdated.

    The NHS in the U.K. imports a lot of doctors and nurses from India, I think, and wages for doctors and nurses are much higher in the U.S. than in other countries, including functional systems like France, Germany and Israel. Do you have any information on how much people (doctors, nurses, therapists) compares to capital (pharmaceuticals, MRI machines, etc.) in term of U.S. medical costs?

  145. Also, the health insurance companies were categorizing people far more people as high risk than your high cost 1%. They were denying people who were AT RISK of going into that 1% which is a much bigger group than the people who actually cost a lot.

  146. For example, my son is not particularly high cost – he needs a little more screening than most kids, but nothing that costs very much. But because he is at risk of developing secondary cancers or other late effects, he is uninsurable, at least pre-ACA on the open market.

  147. The problem with your plan, WCE, is the same problem that Medicaid has always had. Once you segregate this group off, it becomes too tempting to cut funding. That is the reason everyone thinks SS and Medicare need to remain broad based. And this group will be very expensive. You know the Republicans will constantly want to block grant it and hand it back to the states.

  148. I think the number would be higher than $20k

    You’re right. We spend 3.2 trillion a year on healthcare so if 1/3 of that is on 1% (~3 million people) that’s an average of $333,000/person. I assume the cutoff is probably $100k. If the government was on the hook for anything over $100k then presumably premiums would be much lower (taxes of course higher to compensate).

  149. Mooshi, I think my plan would clarify the funding level and force choices about how much we’re willing to spend on healthcare. (Should pancreatic cancer patients like my mom get hundreds of thousands of dollars in care to, statistically, live a few more months?) As it is, ACA subsidies are far higher than CBO estimates and continuing to get worse. “Temporary” government reinsurance estimates were so insufficient that private insurers have pulled out of many markets. If we don’t reform ACA to be actuarially sound, what happens?

    Maybe, as some provinces in Canada do, we will choose not to fund follow-up care for cancer survivors and expect people to travel elsewhere if they want recommended follow-up care. ACA as currently implemented looks like a death spiral to me.

  150. Rhett – you don’t think it will be like the Medicaid expansion where some states just said nope? We don’t want the money? I need to think about tying it to previously appropriated money. My instinct is that you can’t do that. Not an appropriate use of Commerce Clause (which is how a national speed limit works).

    I am not insurable because of a preterm birth. I am not having any more kids, so in reality, I shouldn’t be any more risky than someone who hasn’t had a preterm birth. But insurance companies don’t care. If given the choice, they aren’t going to take that risk.

  151. Once you segregate this group off

    You wouldn’t have to. The reinsurance* would be between the private insurance industry and the government. They pay 0-100k and the government pays +100k.

    * Just like Swiss Re or Munich Re sell policies to Farmers or Aetna to cover them if claims exceed certain preset limits.

  152. Rhett – you don’t think it will be like the Medicaid expansion where some states just said nope? We don’t want the money?

    That’s where the Great Orange Hope comes in. Some would certainly say no if it was offered by Obama or Hillary but if Trump offers it they will gobble it up.

  153. Rhett – isn’t your reinsurance plan going to be economically impossible? I think we are just stuck with wanting health care for everyone without paying for it. I continue to think that the issue is some people think that everyone is entitled to an even distribution of health care and others feel like only certain people are (whether that be those who have $, those who haven’t been bad actors, etc). I am in the first group and think we need to ration for everyone. Death panels are not a bad thing.

  154. “Maybe, as some provinces in Canada do, we will choose not to fund follow-up care for cancer survivors and expect people to travel elsewhere if they want recommended follow-up care.”

    Wait, this confuses me. Not sure what you mean by follow up care. Most follow up care for survivors is pretty low cost – screenings and the like. Are you sure it isn’t funded in some provinces, or is it just like here – some areas are too sparsely populated to support a cancer followup clinic. That is a big problem here in the US

  155. “I think my plan would clarify the funding level and force choices about how much we’re willing to spend on healthcare. (Should pancreatic cancer patients like my mom get hundreds of thousands of dollars in care to, statistically, live a few more months?) ”

    Ack!! Death panels!!! I don’t think this is going to fly.

  156. OK, this article on late effects programs for pediatric survivors in Canada complains about pretty much the same problems we have here – not enough programs. This sentence made me chuckle
    “Despite the availability of universal health care and the concentration of all paediatric cancer treatment in 17 dedicated centres, Canada does not appear to offer access to survivor care that is superior to that of the United States.”
    In other words, they are complaining that they are only as good as the US.

    I think the problem of cancer followup care in both countries is simply that of geography.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2735378/

  157. Rhett – isn’t your reinsurance plan going to be economically impossible?

    It might be politically impossible but it’s certainly economically possible. It’s just moving the money on your pay-stub out of insurance and into federal income tax withheld.

    It would of course hinge on how much it would reduce the $208/month $5600 deducible cost of a bronze plan.

  158. Death panels!!! I don’t think this is going to fly.

    You don’t call them death panels. You call them Trump’s Super Awesome Totally Amazing Healthcare Improvement Winners Circle.

  159. Mooshi, I don’t have a good understanding of Canada’s follow-up care system. My impression was informed by observing a bunch of Totebaggy Canadians traveling to the U.S. for scans because they couldn’t get timely scans wherever they were from because of the queues. They were only mildly cynical and sarcastic about how this affected their survival prospects, much like Minnesotans.

  160. Followup scans are always an issue. For pediatric survivors, you have to follow the scan schedule of your oncologist, and many, especially at non specialized regional hospitals, stop scans after the first year. That is a big problem with NB because the risk of relapse is high through the first 5 years. People on my list complain about this a lot. Also, if you are out in the middle of the country, you will likely have to wait for scans and travel a good bit. Even my kid’s hospital stopped scans after 3 years.

  161. “His latest statement. To the degree he’s going to break the back of “I’ve got mine” conservatism I say, “God’s speed, Donald Trump.””

    This is what I am hoping for. Might as well be optimistic. As much as Milo loves the big FU he’s given to liberal “elites”, I love the big FU he gave the Koch Brothers and all their buddies. I believe Trump is way more moderate than them – his true beliefs might be left of HRC for all we know. Yeah, his cabinet has some crazies (like DeVos), but I still think he’s more likely to enact policies I like than Paul Ryan or – God forbid, Mike Pence.

  162. I just had to post a rant about Social Security, which was mentioned upthread.

    I can’t get what I want online because there’s a specific reason, plus it turns out that you need a state id to get a replacement card BUT you need a SS card to get a state id, if you want to do this online. What if you have neither? You have to go in person.
    I want to find out if I can schedule an appointment at our local office, but the only phone number given is the national number, which has a 35 minute wait. And no, you cannot schedule online.
    Before I get to wait 35 minutes, I have to give them a SS#.
    Anyway …

    … rant over.

  163. Uh, with regard to the Social Security card post that was just here and then vanished: Yeah, I gave up and just sat for two hours at the stupid SS office to get a replacement card. Getting it online was a non-starter. So annoying. I just took my Kindle and settled into my hard plastic chair for the duration.

  164. Sorry, I was trying to move the comment to the right thread.

    RMS — I sent them an email asking about an appointment, so we’ll see how long that takes. But I’ll probably do just as you did and go in and be prepared for a wait. Google has busy times on its search results, so maybe I’ll try for what looks like a less busy time.

  165. CoC, when I had to get a card for DD, I just went to the office. They were actually nice and efficient. Sometimes it is just better to do things in person

  166. “can you clearly identify when you support a “single payer option” (everyone has the choice of a government provided option; government structures the market as in France/Germany/Japan) vs. “single payer” (illegal to obtain care outside the government provided system”

    Would such a “single payer” system be legal? And in the “single payer option,” is a privately provided option illegal?

    I think it would be very difficult to pass a system without private options. The very wealthy, and those who think they will become very wealthy, are going to want the freedom to spend as much of their resources as they want on their health and that of their loved ones, and the very wealthy have resources to fight it.

    I also think everyone benefits from some of the spending by the very wealthy, as it can lead to advances from which everyone can benefit.

  167. Who watched the DeVos hearing? She is a moron. OMG. She doesn’t know anything about education. It was appalling.

  168. She didn’t know the difference between proficiency and growth when talking about measuring a student’s performance. This is really appalling.

  169. Bears! BEARS! I’m dying.

    I don’t believe more guns in schools are the answer, but I would have some respect for her if she just said “yes, we may need more guns in schools to protect kids from mass shooters.” Instead she said we may need guns to protect kids from bears.

    I’m laughing now thanks to all the twitter memes. Laughter dulls the pain.

  170. Corporal Klinger was ahead of his time. He should have betrayed military secrets first, then pled guilty, and only then put on a dress and played the crazy card. Not only would he have gotten out of the military, but he would have become a transgender celebrity worthy of a Presidential commutation, along with unrepentant FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera. Caught twice trying to escape, once as part of a plan that included killing guards (and that added 15 years to his lengthy sentence) he turned down Clinton’s pardon offer because he didn’t like the terms, and was turned down for parole in 2011 because of his lack of remorse. But Manuel Lin Miranda is a fan, so never mind about the victims of FALN’s bombs. Rivera, like Manning, is a politically correct hero.

  171. DeVos’ testimony was disappointing in some ways, but her performance was consistent with the common “just Google it” attitude among educators. ;)

  172. She seemed unprepared for questioning, but then again, she’s got the votes, so why waste the prep time?
    I loved her response to Sanders about free college.

  173. Scarlett – the fact that she wasn’t prepared to answer basic questions on education doesn’t mean not enough time prepping, it means she doesn’t have basic understanding of the issues. She should understand the difference between growth and proficiency.

    CoC – I hope you are joking about Google and educators. I don’t understand why people feel it is okay to have people with no experience in these positions. Is it really elitist of me to expect that the heads of government have some subject matter expertise?

  174. This wasn’t not preparing. This was not understanding basic educational issues that a student teacher would be able to explain. Appalling.

  175. Well, she’s not going to be a teacher, or a principal, or a school board member. Someone on her staff can clue her in on the growth vs. proficiency thing, which I agree she should have been able to figure out. And the bear thing was silly, but then so was the question.

    And although she has never been a teacher, she does have decades of experience in education policy, which is what the Department of Education is all about. Her work on behalf of school choice for poor kids should be supported by those who advocate for poor kids.

  176. There are two reasons why DeVos was appointed: she has given a lot of money to Republicans, and she has poured money into school privatization. She is a radical on that front -we are not talking charters or magnets here. No, she wants vouchers for religious schools, to advance God’s Kingdom as she said in 2001.

    She had a large hand in the Michigan charter plan, and even people who like charter schools think that this was a flawed implementation due to its lack of oversight. Surely they could have picked someone who had worked on charter plans in states with more effective systems? But I don;t think the idea is to promote charter schools. They want to fund religious schools with vouchers. Of course, that means money can flow to madrassas too,

  177. She does not have experience in education policy. She has piles of money and a willingness to use it to promote vouchers for religious schools.

  178. “Based on the findings presented here, the typical student in Michigan charter schools gains more learning in a year than his TPS counterparts, amounting to about two months of additional gains in reading and math. These positive patterns are even more pronounced in Detroit, where historically student academic performance has been poor. These outcomes are consistent with the result that charter schools have significantly better results than TPS for minority students who are in poverty.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/442522/devos-and-detroits-charter-schools

    If that’s terrible, bring it on.

  179. “She does not have experience in education policy. She has piles of money and a willingness to use it to promote vouchers for religious schools.”

    Yes. I think she is potentially the worst of the Cabinet picks, and that is saying a lot.

    The bear thing was silly, but it just goes to show how dedicated she is to promoting far right ideas. I found her lack of care toward Federal protections for children with disabilities to be much more alarming.

  180. It’s much easier to have those kind of results when you can cherry pick the best students and leave the rest behind in the schools that you are being compared to.

  181. And the people at the Detroit News support DeVos.

    “Alas, school choice is scary stuff, especially for those entrenched in the current system. In this realm, DeVos’s Christianity isn’t the only tool used to whip up alarm. “The best argument against Betsy DeVos can be made with a single word,” Newsweek opined. “Detroit.” The Motor City, as the narrative goes, is plagued with failing schools, and school choice has simply made them worse. That’s certainly news to many in Detroit. “DeVos is a sound choice, and would strive to improve education for all kids,” the Detroit News editorial board wrote on January 12, cautioning against “the hysteria surrounding the West Michigan native, fanned by teachers unions.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443939/betsy-devos-christianity-school-choice-opponents-phony-panic

  182. If those schools are forced to accept everyone and had equivalent student bodies, then we could compare the results to public schools. But you know the populations aren’t the same. Or you are being obtuse. Or you have an inability to admit that your guy has made some bad picks and will fight to the death for them.

  183. On the cherry-picking point:

    “The UFT [union] and its backers have kept up a steady drumbeat of false claims against charter schools in New York City: Charters cherry-pick their students, push out those who need extra support, and generally falsify their impressive results. Well, a recent report from New York City’s Independent Budget Office, a publicly funded, nonpartisan agency, proves that these accusations are false. Unfortunately, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña is among those city officials who believe the big lie.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/eva-s-moskowitz-the-myth-of-charter-school-cherry-picking-1423438046

  184. Certainly, the students at charter schools are not randomly selected. At least one adult in their lives has decided that the traditional public school to which they are assigned is not working, and has made the sometimes heroic effort to enroll them in a charter school. So there is that.

  185. “I found her lack of care toward Federal protections for children with disabilities to be much more alarming.”

    Her answers to Kaine’s questions were pretty vague, agreed.

    Charter schools are required to comply with the same federal laws that apply to traditional public schools, aren’t they? What was the purpose of that line of questioning?

  186. “Charter schools are required to comply with the same federal laws that apply to traditional public schools, aren’t they? What was the purpose of that line of questioning?”

    Private schools are not if they are not Federally funded.

  187. I did not get the feeling that Anons was S&M. But I do get the feeling that the Anon thinking the other anon is S&M is Scarlett. Funny.

    I am not surprised the Scarlett will support Devos.

  188. That IBO report is entirely about attrition. It has nothing to do with who starts out there. To summarize, starting in in kindergarten only 1 percent of students in charter schools were classified as requiring special education, compared with 7 percent of students in neighboring traditional public schools.

  189. You guys are all arguing about charter schools, but what DeVos really wants is vouchers for religious schools. She has always been open about that. Charter schools, to her, are just a first step.

    And the Michigan implementation of charter school is very problematic because of lack of oversight and because for-profit schools dominate.

    There are actually states and cities that have done a better job with their charter schools.

  190. “Charter schools are required to comply with the same federal laws that apply to traditional public schools, aren’t they? What was the purpose of that line of questioning?

    Schools loosely interpret the word “comply”. If a parent thinks the school is not complying, the options are to be a giant pain in the ass, or to see you. Neither are good options. Is my experience that when called out on failing to comply, teachers can be extremely punitive to a child for their parents’ outspokenness. Obviously, a lawsuit is not a particularky timely solution to a problem. It is my experience that many school administrators hope to just wear parents down until they go away. Ironically, the charter school my son attends has been fantastic wow the top performing neighborhood public schools were terrible about providing support to kids who need it, with zero enforcement on teachers coming from administration. I’ve been invited to join a lawsuit several times, but chose just to move on to a different school. They particular charter I am familiar with is a nonprofit, if that makes any difference. It was awesome my experience at the Catholic school was very willing to help in anyway they could.

    Children with learning disabilities make up between 10 and 20% of students, but adults with learning disabilities comprise well over half of inmates in a prison setting. The cost of failing to help these children in the early years is borne for a lifetime in order to save a few bucks during the K through 12 years. It’s idiotic.

  191. It is possible that parents of special needs students are satisfied with the support provided at the traditional public school, and don’t seek out a charter option. A student struggling with poor impulse control or with dyslexia might not be well served by a back to basics charter that emphasizes desk work.
    And if Christian groups are willing to create and operate schools that will accept voucher students, isn’t that all part of the diversity we are supposed to embrace? No one will be forced to send their children to such a school. Inner city Catholic schools have a great track record with low income minority kids, most of whom aren’t Catholic and don’t seem to convert.

  192. “See you = sue.”

    When I first read that, I thought you meant one option was See you later, as in leave for another school. Isn’t that a commonly exercised option?

    A mom I used to work with had her firstborn attend the most selective local private, and was very happy with that. But her second had a learning disability, and she found that the public schools were much better able to provide for his needs.

  193. Due to extreme budget cutting, our public district is only offering services to kids with learning disabilities who are failing. If you are a really bright kid getting D’s and barely holding it together, they will treat the struggle/frustration as a discipline issue, but offer no accommodations. And I am talking about minimal, extremely low-cost accommodations here. They just don’t want to open the door. If the tone at the very top of the Department of Ed is that it’s not really a priority, it will create so much more work for parents in schools like my kids went to.

    My issue with vouchers is that they are sold as a way to help low income families, but the reality as they were implemented in Indiana is that more than half the vouchers went to families who were already sending their kids to private school. Very few were used by low income families, presumably due to difficulties with transportation and after school care. I don’t see any reason for public schools to give up funds to private schools for families that can afford to send their kids without the voucher, and I say this as someone who attended private school and sent one of my kids to one. We all benefit from strong public schools.

  194. The issues I have with vouchers are:

    (1) they don’t generally help low income students. They siphon money away from the public schools where these low income students stay and the kids with more money and involved parents who need some $ to send their kids to a private school leave. It creates a pretty big vacuum for the kids left behind

    2. I don’t think an appropriate use of federal funds is funding religious schools

    3. The oversight of these schools isn’t standardized or adequate in certain places.

    4. Rural kids are harmed more by this than urban kids because there just aren’t many school choices in rural areas.

    But my big objection isn’t any of the above. Those are just policy differences. The big issue is that this woman is only in this position because she comes from an obscenely rich family who gives a lot of money to political candidates. She is not on any way qualified for the job. She isn’t up to the job because she doesn’t understand it. Her answer to how IDEA should apply is to leave it up to the states. What? That doesn’t make sense. She didn’t know the difference between growth and proficiency. She is a light weight.

  195. Kate – I totally agree with you.

    I do find it interesting that Price is diverging so much from what Trump has said publicly. Is it because Trumps viewpoints are actually different from the Republican Congressional leadership and he will force Congress to fulfill his promises, or is it because he says a lot of things that he doesn’t really mean? I guess we will find out.

    Also interesting from the Post article is that the Republican head of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee said the law shouldn’t be appealed withing a concrete, practical alternative:

    Both the committee’s chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and top Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), made it clear they were searching for more specific details on the president-elect’s plans to replace the ACA.

    Alexander began the hearing by reading conflicting comments by Trump, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about how they planned to replace the existing law “simultaneously,” “concurrently” and “in manageable pieces.”

    The law should only be repealed, the chairman argued, “when there are concrete practical reforms in place that give Americans affordable access to health care. It’s not about developing a quick fix.”

  196. Why should only high income families have access to private schools? Why should middle income families be forced into public schools, when some of them could afford private schools with the same level of financial support that government is already providing to private schools?

    I don’t agree that middle income people are morally obliged to put their children into mediocre public schools but the same moral obligation doesn’t exist for high income people. If it’s a moral obligation, it shouldn’t depend on income level.

    I think this debate on the size and characteristics of the pool of people receiving government funded education ties into other situations (government funded disability leave, government funded healthcare) where middle class people lose freedom to opt out of a government-funded benefit when they would have had more freedom if the government-funded benefit didn’t exist, and require the tax dollars of middle class families to continue existing.

  197. Whoops, that government is already providing to PUBLIC schools. I wish there were an edit function.

  198. “My issue with vouchers”

    One issue I see, at least locally, is that the more desirable private schools are already hard to get into.

    “more than half the vouchers went to families who were already sending their kids to private school.”

    My really big issue with vouchers is that if they’re ever implemented locally, it will be too late to offset DS’ tuition, and probably too late to offset DD’s.

  199. Unless the govt can afford to allow everyone to go to whichever school a parent chooses,it is pretty crappy to fund middle class people and leave the poor ones behind. The role of the government should be to offer educational opportunities to everyone, not just those who can afford it. If someone can pay out of pocket on their own, fine to make other choices. But the govt shouldn’t get to choose to advantage some over others when it has a disparate impact on poor people and particularly when there is a pretty big entanglement with religion. But as I said above, that isn’t why I think DeVos is a bad pick. She just doesn’t know wtf she is doing.

  200. Voucher amounts will be so much less than tuition at the really good private schools that it will be a moot point for those schools. Vouchers will, in reality, serve to prop up the struggling Catholic school sector, as well as fundamentalist Christian academies. The uber Orthodox Jews living in East Ramapo will benefit too. But just remember, if vouchers can go to Catholic schools, Hasidic yehivas, and fundamentalist Christia academies, then they can go to fundamentalist Muslim schools too.

  201. “Why should only high income families have access to private schools?”

    Because it’s expensive?

  202. Evidently DeVos did not know that IDEA is a federal law. And her response to Senator Hassan’s questioning was just sad. Senator Hassan has a kid with cerebral palsy so she knows a thing or two about educating kids with disabilities. Here is a bit of the exchange

    “Hassan urged DeVos, a billionaire Republican fundraiser and education lobbyist, to familiarize herself with the need for such protections for students with disabilities.

    “Senator, I assure you that if confirmed, I will be very sensitive to the needs to special needs students and the policies surrounding that,” DeVos said.

    “With all due respect, it’s not about sensitivity, although that helps; it’s about being willing to enforce the law to make sure that my child and every child has the same access to public education,” Hassan said. “And the reality is the way the voucher systems that you have supported don’t always come out that way.””

    I love Hassan’s quote. Right on!

  203. “Certainly, the students at charter schools are not randomly selected. At least one adult in their lives has decided that the traditional public school to which they are assigned is not working, and has made the sometimes heroic effort to enroll them in a charter school. So there is that.”

    And that is yuge.

  204. Finn, regarding ““Why should only high income families have access to private schools?”
    Because it’s expensive?

    I’m talking about $6000/year toward the local private school vs. $6000/student in funding (exclude building funds, etc.) for the local public school.

    I think the government should be more neutral in terms of whether a school is public or private, especially when it’s not religious. (As a side note, I have no problem with madrasas.) Why not let kids attend Montessori or Waldorf schools if it suits them? I especially believe this because many families who can afford private school without vouchers (specialist physicians, attorneys specializing in legal issues that don’t exist in other countries, finance regulators) can make that choice because of policy choices our government makes in terms of our legal/regulatory system and medical licensing system, not because of the intrinsic global worth of those occupations. Part of the reason specialist physicians want to practice in the U.S. is because they are paid so much better than in countries with other healthcare financing approaches.

    In terms of IDEA requirements in the United States, we spend 20-25% of education dollars on special educational needs. No other country comes close, from my limited previous research, and this egalitarian approach may or may not have long-term consequences for global competitiveness. Like healthcare, how much spending on special educational needs is “enough”? When children with learning disabilities enter the workforce, how well does previous special education spending predict employment outcomes? I understand why “independent living” classes for disabled kids are important, but for my dyslexic brother, “Don’t go into a liberal arts field with lots of reading” was adequate advice.

    I believe that half the people in prison have a diagnosed learning disability, but the extent to which their learning disability (vs. other factors, such as father involvement, average income where they grew up, age of their mother at birth, or marital status of the parents at birth) is a factor in their imprisonment is unclear.

  205. I just read that average private HS tuition here in Westchester is 22K, and I would bet that if you excluded Catholic schools (which get subsidized by the Church) it would be much higher. I don’t htink a $6000 voucher is going to go far for most middle class families.

  206. I don’t htink a $6000 voucher is going to go far for most middle class families.

    Well, they should have thought of that before they chose to be poor, shouldn’t they? And if they can’t afford private school for those kids, then those girls should keep their legs crossed.

  207. “Well, they should have thought of that before they chose to be poor, shouldn’t they? ”

    That’s definitely something to consider if deciding whether to have a SAHP.

    I’ve heard many anecdotes of parents taking on extra hours, second/third jobs, staying in jobs they don’t like, and generally making a lot of sacrifices, to send their kids to private school.

  208. I picked $6000 because the tuitions for most local private schools are in the $6000-$10,000 range. The Waldorf school, for example, is housed in what used to be a public school building but because it’s private, it doesn’t have to comply with public school seismic school standards, etc.

    I think a $6000 voucher (per child, same as the per-student allotment for public school) would help many middle class families (median family income in the U. S. is $56,516) afford private school if they choose it.

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/13/news/economy/median-income-census/

  209. So if your private schools run $6000 to $10000, does that mean that poor kids only get the choice of the bottom schools that cost $6000, while the rich kids can choose any of them? Something does not seem fair there. The whole premise of public funding of schools, whether public, charter or voucher, is that all kids get the same opportunity.
    What if the only $6000 school is a fundamentalist Christian school? Does that mean that poor Jewish kids don’t really get a choice?

  210. One other thing to keep in mind: we already have a voucher system in place for higher education: Pell Grants. I think many conservatives have complained about that system, saying it leads to higher tuition. So why do they want to do what are essentially Pell Grants in K12 education?

  211. I think lack of concern for the private religious school opportunities of Jewish kids in rural areas is why The Great Orange Hope won the election.

    More seriously, conservative middle class people are frustrated that elites can buy their way out of suboptimal government systems (education, healthcare) but they are philosophically opposed to giving that choice to the middle class, even on a cost-neutral basis. Consider how many Washington politicians send their children to private schools.

  212. No, I am just concerned that when it comes to public funding of K12 schooling, that poor kids have the same opportunities as middle class kids. After all, isn’t your argument the same – that middle class kids should have the same opportunites as elite kids? Well, then, so should poor kids.

  213. More seriously, conservative middle class people are frustrated that elites can buy their way out of suboptimal government systems (education, healthcare) but they are philosophically opposed to giving that choice to the middle class, even on a cost-neutral basis. Consider how many Washington politicians send their children to private schools.

    I seriously don’t understand this. Isn’t the conservative dream that everyone gets what they deserve? So if you’re rich, you deserve better schools and health care than the middle class. It’s a way of motivating people to become millionaires.

  214. Mooshi,

    Is your argument that unless parents have the resources to fund private school then middle class or poor kids (who are not their parents) should not have access to a decent education?

    I am in favor of public payment for educating kids. I’m not sure why the process has to always mean public schools.

    I too, am ok with the madrasas if that means that middle/lower middle class kids can have a choice of schools.

  215. I seriously don’t understand this. Isn’t the conservative dream that everyone gets what they deserve? So if you’re rich, you deserve better schools and health care than the middle class. It’s a way of motivating people to become millionaires.
    \
    I’m not sure how you can argue that six year olds in a lousy classroom are getting what they deserve.

  216. Rocky – you’re attacking a policy position using a straw man argument that you would normally oppose, anyway.

  217. My point is that if you design a voucher system such that the poor kids get stuck with the one, possibly lousy or perhaps just ill-fitting, choice while the middle class and rich kids get lots of choices because they can afford the difference between the $6000 voucher and the prices charged by the better schools, then you haven’t really accomplished the goal of better for everyone.

    Unless you somehow have the idea that just because it is private, it is always going to magicially be wonderful. Which, as we can see from Michigan which is awash with failed charter schools, is not going to be the case. Some of those schools are going to be cruddy, or just bad fits (Muslim extremist school as the only choice for poor Catholic kids, as a silly but possble example), and given the way most things on this earth go, it is more likely that the cruddy choices will be the cheap ones that a $6000 voucher can buy.

    So my fundamental question is, if you are designing a voucher system, why would you ever design it so that the poor kids get less choice than the middle class kids and the elite kids, especially if your main justification is that middle class kids should have the SAME choices as elite kids?

  218. And I guess the other part of this that I do not understand is why conservatives, who hate the way higher education is funded, want to turn around and fund K12 the exact same way. It baffles me.

  219. I don’t think it is realistic to even try to design a system that gives all kids of all economic means the same education options. Rich kids (or perhaps more accurately, rich parents) will always have options that poorer kids (or parents) don’t have, e.g., private tutor, boarding school.

  220. I’m kind of neutral on vouchers. When I first heard that Trump’s pick was a big voucher proponent, I wasn’t thrilled.

    I think Mooshi has some compelling criticisms. I was usually under the impression that any voucher was to cover the full cost of tuition, not to be a coupon for the down payment. If it were the former, that neutralizes a lot of the criticism. Although based on what I’ve heard from some of you over the years, that would still leave open the door for “Sure, the voucher covers tuition, but we like to see our families express their commitment to education through $10k annual PTA donations to cover the ‘extras’!”

  221. Maybe the question is whether public goods- healthcare, childcare and education, for example- are intended for everyone to use (as in many European social democracies) or whether they are intended as a minimal social safety net. I think only a few rich conservatives think everyone’s primary goal ought to be wealth. I think of conservative philosophy as minimal government and the principal of subsidiarity, where organizations other than government can and ought to serve many social functions, and that such organizations may or may not be religious.

    My goal is not to equalize choices between poor, middle class and elite kids. My goal is to allow everyone to benefit from a publicly funded good (as Cordelia noted, public funding does not have to mean public school) and to allow people to supplement as desired. Analogously, almost everyone receives Medicare, but you can buy (or not buy) supplementary policies and those can include (or not include) dental and vision care. Dental and vision are outside the scope of the “public good”, as designed.

    I think both Germany and Canada allow public funding to religious schools, and I’m not aware of any major problems associated with that.

  222. The rich will always be able to buy their way into a better system. I don’t think it’s anyone’s goal to change that. i support there being choice among public schools, but I don’t think education tax dollars should go to for-profit or religious schools. Public schools are central to community stability, and failing schools absolutely need to be addressed. For many, it may require drastic measures. But pulling dollars and motivated students out won’t fix them. And I know I’m a hypocrite because if my kid were in a failing or dangerous school I would pull them out and home school if I had to. I just feel like voucher programs are going to be the last nail in the coffin for some schools.

    Out of curiosity, if you enroll your kid in a private school, and then little Johnny gets expelled, what happens? Currently, a parent would not get a refund, but under a voucher system it would seem like they would have to so Johnny can try again somewhere else. I’m sure private schools would retain the right to expel students that public schools today must continue to educate.

  223. If we were to design a fair voucher system, the way it should work is that the schools could not balance bill – in other words, in taking the voucher, they agree to educate for that price. People who wanted a high priced school could, just like today, pay the full cost. This scheme might even have a chance at driving costs down a bit, and since the schools would have to compete on quality and attractiveness to parents, there would be some impetus to innovate.

    Of course this would never fly politically since the people who really want vouchers the most are those who already have their kids in private schools (and the experience in a number of states that have tried vouchers have found that the vouchers mainly get used by those families).

  224. Yes, Canada does allow funds to go to religious schools because Canada very much does not have separatation of church and state. I believe the Church of England was at one time the official church, although no longer. In public school in Germany, at least in my day, they actually TAUGHT religion and we had to go to chapel once a week. We were divided into Catholic and Protestant and herded off to our respective churches. But that has never been the American way.
    France by contrast is so totally secular that you can barely even mention religion in school. That is why they ban religious jewelry and have tried to ban headscarves

  225. WCE said “My goal is not to equalize choices between poor, middle class and elite kids. My goal is to allow everyone to benefit from a publicly funded good (as Cordelia noted, public funding does not have to mean public school) and to allow people to supplement as desired. ”
    and how is that different from today’s system? Everyone can benefit from the publically funded school systems and supplement as desired right now.

  226. Mooshi, eligible children can’t get $xxxx (the marginal student cost) out of the education system for their accredited school of choice, public or private. Under the current system, lots of families homeschool or attend private school and don’t receive anything from the public education system.

    Homeschooling is common in my area. The most popular reason right now is the inflexibility of the common core curriculum. (Almost all the private schools here also use common core.)

  227. So what you seem to be most interested in is a subsidy for the middle class. You don’t seem to be as concerned about the poor kids

  228. Yes, where “middle class” is true middle class, not Totebag middle class.

    As far as I can tell, poor kids have entirely different needs. We have programs to provide them with breakfast, lunch, dinner, after school care, dental care, social workers and clothing in the public schools. At the private schools, none of those programs exist, so poor children don’t do as well there.

  229. Mooshi, eligible children can’t get $xxxx (the marginal student cost) out of the education system for their accredited school of choice, public or private.

    Public schools have to meet a lot more standards than just accreditation — for instance, all that annual standardized testing with results published by school, IDEA, FERPA. Do you propose allowing vouchers only for those private schools willing to follow those standards?

  230. WCE, are you saying your kids’ school has programs for free dinner, dental care, social workers, clothing, for kids below a certain income level? I’ve never seen that here. Is it just an Oregon thing?

  231. HM, off the cuff, I think private schools should be treated like charter schools. In larger cities, charters would provide educational options (Waldorf, Montessori, foreign language) that only private schools provide here.

    The Chapter 1 schools in my district provide breakfast to all students, work with the Boys and Girls Club to provide dinner (some dinners are provided at the Boys and Girls Club and some at the schools, I think, not sure about that, schools work the the Boys and Girls Club clinic to provide free dental care (not sure what care is provided where- obviously a dental chair is needed for some stuff and schools don’t have that but the Boys and Girls Club has a dental chair, I think, and my dentist retired and volunteers there), there are backpacks that go home with snacks for the weekend when school lunches aren’t offered, there are free lunches during the summer at public locations (pool, library, park attached to elementary school) and Walmart stocks the “needs” closet at school with socks and underwear, to be distributed by social workers.

    It’s not a perfect system, but in my socioeconomically diverse community, the system evolves to meet specific needs. My acquaintance who was the director at the local, $5000/year private Christian school sent her kids to public school and is upfront that public schools have more resources to meet the needs of truly needy kids.

  232. “Do you propose allowing vouchers only for those private schools willing to follow those standards?”

    I’ve wondered how many private schools would choose to accept vouchers. The top privates here don’t seem to have problems getting enough students, and accepting vouchers would likely be accompanied by mandates and restrictions that some schools might not find acceptable, or worth the cost.

  233. Under the current system, lots of families homeschool or attend private school and don’t receive anything from the public education system.

    And lots of people don’t have kids and don’t receive anything from the public education system.

  234. Our sons’ independent Christian school started accepting vouchers a few years ago. The tiny school has an inflexible, classics-based curriculum and single-sex classes, so the appeal is narrow, but vouchers did draw in some lower-income kids who had previously attended public school. Mostly, the vouchers seem to have made the school less of a financial burden to students who were already enrolled.
    I had mixed feelings about the voucher decision, because it required the school to begin giving standardized tests for the first time, but not for the upper grades so it didn’t really affect us. Two of our local public school systems are lousy, and few parents with resources will send their kids there unless they have serious disabilities or the parents are adamantly opposed to religious schools.

    Most of us on this board are able to exercise school choice, as are most high-level government officials, including the President.

  235. “Unless you somehow have the idea that just because it is private, it is always going to magicially be wonderful. Which, as we can see from Michigan which is awash with failed charter schools, is not going to be the case.”

    But charter schools are not private schools. They are public schools.

    Michigan is indeed awash with failed traditional public schools, especially in Detroit, but they are rarely closed. This Stanford study contradicts your assertion that Michigan is awash with failed charter schools. It concluded that “charter schools have significantly better results than TPS for minority students who are in poverty.”

    https://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/MI_report_2012_FINAL_1_11_2013_no_watermark.pdf

  236. I suppose a primary reason I support vouchers is that I think people who view secularism as a religion and refuse to send their children to public [secular] schools should not be obliged to homeschool them. Some of my low income Christian friends, and I think one of the local imams, all homeschool. I don’t share their views on the importance of being taught by people who share one’s religious views, but I’m not going to change their minds.

  237. HM, off the cuff, I think private schools should be treated like charter schools. In larger cities, charters would provide educational options (Waldorf, Montessori, foreign language) that only private schools provide here.

    Charter schools are held to the same requirements as the “regular” public schools, at least in Colorado. They have to do all the standardized testing and such. If private schools accept public money, they should be held to the same standards.

    The arguments I always hear from the public school critics and voucher proponents are: 1. The public schools need to be accountable. 2. Parents should be able to pick the best school that meets the needs of their children in a free market. These are fair points.

    So to follow through on these points, 1. if private schools accept vouchers, they need to be accountable as well. Require them to take every student just like the public schools have to. If their test scores aren’t good enough, then penalize them just like public schools with bad test scores. Or 2. go to a completely free market and get rid of all testing and such, and let the public schools compete on an even playing field with private schools. Let public schools pick and choose who they admit. Etc.

    You can’t have a free market while having different sets of rules.

  238. Scarlett, charter schools are chartered as public schools but are typically run by private companies. A good example are all the KIPP schools. In Michigan, most of the private companies are for-profit. So charters are really a quasi-private system in most places

  239. “if private schools accept vouchers, they need to be accountable as well. Require them to take every student just like the public schools have to. If their test scores aren’t good enough, then penalize them just like public schools with bad test scores.”

    It appears that states have different approaches on the accountability issue.

    http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/accountability-in-private-school-choice-programs.aspx

    Public schools do indeed have to accept all children, but even though charter or private voucher schools can theoretically be required to do so, as a practical matter not every family will choose to forsake their traditional public school, so there will be a certain amount of self-selection involved. That self-selection seems to lie at the core of some objections to school choice.

  240. The self selection isn’t the issue. It is that we are favoring middle class students over poor ones.

  241. Middle class (and wealthy) students are already favored in traditional public schools. I see that charters offer some poor families a better chance to mitigate that favoritism. In any case, I don’t see how they exacerbate the problem. Our existing system is doing a lousy job for poor students.

  242. I think what was being discussed, at least what I was discussing, was WCE’s proposal for vouchers, which she favors because it would help the middle class.

  243. It is pretty clear that DeVos really wants vouchers for religious schools, and that she sees charters as simply a stepping stone.

  244. With the Perry and DeVos incompetence being even worse than originally expected, I am getting really concerned about our upcoming government. Let’s talk about the things that Trump might be doing ok! I think Mattis is a good pick. Elaine Chao, too. Any other silver linings?

  245. The Supreme Court has blessed programs that provide vouchers for private religious schools. So what’s the problem? In our increasingly diverse society, there is room for all kinds of schools, as Totebag families are well aware. How many people on this board have

    purchased a home because of the public school district?
    moved their children from one school to another for reasons other than having relocated?

    We take these choices for granted. Why shouldn’t low-income kids get the same opportunities? No, charters aren’t perfect, and some of them should be and are closed for poor performance. But charter schools and private school voucher programs are helping at least some kids escape lousy public schools, and for that we should be grateful.

  246. “How is hip hop not American? It is just as American as country music.”

    Not in terms of album sales. And if the argument is “traditional American,” country is much older.

  247. “And if the argument is “traditional American,” country is much older.”

    If we are going down the road of what is “traditional American” music, I say jazz is a good place to start.

  248. I’m not saying it’s un-American, but I disagree with the idea that it’s *as* “traditionally American” as country. I’ve given you two metrics why it’s not. You said “It’s from NY!”

    Personally, if I were on Trump’s team, I’d say “sure, invite him to play.” But I’d be more likely to have advised Rubio’s campaign, and we saw how successful that was.

  249. “This isn’t a degree thing. American or no? Yes it is. ”

    Well, that’s different then.

  250. I’d argue that Hip Hop, Jazz, Bluegrass, and Country are THE traditional “American” music forms, frankly.

    Since when is NYC not part of “traditional America”?

  251. “Since when is NYC not part of “traditional America”?”
    Nobody said that.

    “I am glad Kanye isn’t playing.”
    Same here. I think his music sucks.

  252. On the positives, I actually think all the discussion of the ACA, what pieces to keep, what pieces to repeal, is a good conversation to have. On balance, I support the ACA. But it was incredibly significant legislation, and I think revisiting it and assessing it 6 years in is a good thing – something that wouldn’t have happened under HRC. I think there is a *chance* elements could be strengthened, because I don’t think the Republicans will be able to simply repeal it. Too much political pushback already.

    I could be wrong – they might repeal it altogether with nothing to replace it. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. But there’s a chance this could be a positive outcome.

  253. Hiphop has its roots in older black American music just as current country (which is really lite pop these days) has its roots in older white American music. Except, it is more muddled than that, because older white American music was profoundly impacted by black traditional music, and vice versa. The banjo was based on African instruments. The driving rhythms of Appalachian oldtime came from black dance music. Traditional American music was always about the collision of black and Celtic music forms.

    (just for the record, I play Appalachian fiddle, and have followed a lot of the history of the old string bands and the tunes themselves)

  254. Since when is Riverdance “traditionally” American?

    “Among the latest bookings for the “traditionally American event” is Irish river-dancer Michael Flatley, who will reportedly hoof it at Friday night’s Liberty Ball.”

  255. I should make a distinction between the “socially poor” and the “economically poor”. The “economically poor” families I am friends with (family income < $10,000 per person) disproportionately homeschool because they don't want their children attending the public schools for which they are zoned, and there is quite a bit of selection bias in the people I know, so I agree with Mooshi that these people may be a minority of poor families. These are the people who would benefit from ~$6000 vouchers. These families are like mine but with less money, for example, the large family of Mennonite heritage and the Costco custodian's family. Some of their kids have already grown up to get middle class jobs, with or without college.

    "Socially poor" families are the ones that Mooshi seems to be discussing, and the families who are in need of the meal services, etc. that I described above. Even if their incomes are the same as the "economically poor" families, one and usually both parents are unwilling or unable to provide a healthy, consistent routine of feeding their children, getting them to school and navigating charitable systems effectively. Addiction is sometimes a factor.

    I think using income as the sole or primary criteria to identify families in need of assistance is very limiting. My "economically poor" families might move into the middle class without the obligation to homeschool. The "socially poor" families have issues that vouchers won't solve, and they probably wouldn't take vouchers if they were offered, because the public schools have better systems for them.

  256. Public schools do indeed have to accept all children, but even though charter or private voucher schools can theoretically be required to do so, as a practical matter not every family will choose to forsake their traditional public school, so there will be a certain amount of self-selection involved. That self-selection seems to lie at the core of some objections to school choice.

    Right, What I’m saying is that public schools are required to accept all students who enroll, they cannot pick and choose students like private schools can. So they have to deal with the “trouble” students, for lack of a better term. Private schools can expel those students.

    My point is if private schools are going to receive public funding via vouchers, then they should be required to accept these students (if they choose to enroll) and not be able to expel them if they become too much trouble to deal with, just like public schools have to do.

    I have no problem with self-selection. The hard part is ensuring that it is truly self-selection by the parents and students and not by the schools. Do you really think that the “elite” private schools won’t try to discourage the riff-raff from applying?

  257. President-elect Trump has paid his $25M settlement for the fraudulent Trump University. If he had run earlier, perhaps the workers that he stiffed would have been able to get paid as well.

  258. Denver Dad, our public schools effectively expel students by making them attend alternative school for repeated misbehavior/truancy. I think charter schools should have that same option. I know someone who works at the alternative school, and most of the kids there have significant family dysfunction. The smaller environment with more adult support/interaction helps some of them graduate from high school.

  259. ‘I should make a distinction between the “socially poor” and the “economically poor”….. The “socially poor” families have issues that vouchers won’t solve’

    Why shouldn’t we help the economically poor with vouchers and charter options? They are the low hanging fruit in any efforts to improve outcomes, social and economic. Improving outcomes for the socially poor is a much more difficult problem, one for which neither party has found good solutions.

  260. I have no problem with self-selection. The hard part is ensuring that it is truly self-selection by the parents and students and not by the schools. Do you really think that the “elite” private schools won’t try to discourage the riff-raff from applying?

    What if the parents and students self select a school where there are few troubled students? Part of the attraction of private schools is that little kids don’t have to deal with violent behavior on a daily basis.

    When my daughter was in third grade, a classmate regularly threw chairs and desk, threatened to set the school on fire and was incredibly destructive. If we could have afforded a private school where that sort of behavior (regardless of the cause, clearly she had some mental health/family dysfunction/whatever issues) was not allowed we would have. A voucher would have been a godsend.

  261. On Kanye… DH and I watched the Sandy relief concert from MSG. You could have heard a pin drop when he walked on the stage… I have never heard MSG so quiet…

    I’m glad he’s not performing, but I disagree if the reason is because hip hop is not “American”. If that’s the line-up Trump is actually going for (rather than music he likes), then a hip hop artist should represent.

    DD – “Do you really think that the “elite” private schools won’t try to discourage the riff-raff from applying?”

    They already do. Not just cost alone, but if a child at an elite school shows any signs of needing special help, they are discouraged from attending. Finn mentioned this above, and a friend of mine teaches at a school that routinely does this.

    Vouchers wouldn’t solve that, unless requirements were the same across the board. But then services would have to be the same across the board.

  262. I think one of the problems with the fine distinction WCE is trying to draw is that it boils down, yet again, to the worthy poor and the unworthy poor (speaking of the parents). The personal choices and outside circumstances that make the large Christian two parent family poor or the striving custodian poor do not make their children a bad bet for tuition support to get the away from unwanted schools. The children of parents who are unsuitable and are harmful to their children need more services that for better or worse we try to provide at taxpayer expense through the public school system. There are also lots of hardworking parents, mostly single but some married, who simply cannot homeschool or provide transportation or have unstable working schedules or who rely on family for childcare in a fashion that means their child cannot reliably attend anything but a public school nearby or with transportation provided. Where do those parents fall on the worthy/unworthy continuum and do we relegate their children, along with the children of addicts, to non charter public schools which other than in wealthy areas will be a dumping ground for the unfortunate.

    My issue with vouchers provided to students whose parental objection to public education is primarily religious is that there is already a huge taxpayer subsidy to organized religion via property and sales tax exemption, exemption from certain wage guidelines and payroll taxes, and the charitable deduction (which does not benefit lower or traditional middle class families who either do not pay income taxes or who don’t itemize, but which does benefit the religious billionaires in all faiths who could fund a network of religious schools). It is the responsibility of the tax favored denominations or of organized religious welfare organizations to provide religious educational opportunity to the faithful. I would support a modified voucher system for residents of sparsely populated areas – small cooperative elementary schools that can meet a low bar of educator qualification (similar to the homeschooling groups that arise when some of the parents have formal teaching experience) – and online course funding for 7th grade and above as a supplement to or alternative to the local schools that may be a great distance away or cannot provide a full range of courses. (Charter schools don’t work without a minimum population density.) But no support for religious instruction at public expense.

  263. Elite private schools don’t need to accept vouchers, so their admissions policies are not really relevant.

  264. I agree with Mémé that public support for religious schools is a different question than public support for private schools in general. The profit vs. non-profit question is also worth considering. I’m not a fan of Waldorf, but I know good people who are. I wouldn’t object to a charter policy that excluded religious schools, for the reasons she identifies, but I would recognize that I was accepting the trade-off that the education received by the children of the most religiously conservative might not offer the rigor that I prefer.

    I’m sufficiently libertarian that I don’t really care if the children of the “mid-level” poor still wind up attending their local public schools. As I was reading through the comments, my dominant thought is, “We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

  265. Elite private schools don’t need to accept vouchers, so their admissions policies are not really relevant.

    Right, but at whatever level of privates that accept vouchers, should they be required to have the same admissions policy as public schools (accept all comers or if space doesn’t allow, all students have an equal chance in a lottery of some sort)? Or should they be able to pick and choose who they admit and kick out difficult students?

  266. “Or should they be able to pick and choose who they admit and kick out difficult students?”

    Isn’t that what the NYC charters have been doing for decades?

  267. I am highly opposed to vouchers being paid directly to the parents who choose to homeschool, especially if standards are not going to be raised AND monitored. And the monitoring will cost significant $$. Maybe that should come out of the voucher & be paid for by the homeschooling parents.

  268. Isn’t that what the NYC charters have been doing for decades?

    I have no idea how the charters work in NYC. I know that the charters here are mostly by lottery. I know Dever School of the Arts requires auditions. I don’t know how transparent their judging/selection criteria is.

  269. This school voucher conversation highlights exactly why the working middle class, not Totebaggers, is so angry and was willing to vote in Trump*. Basically everyone here agrees that the “wealthy” are exempt from these choices and that includes most people on this blog but what you’re willing to do is hobble the working middle class so they can’t do better then the poor whether they are worthy or unworthy. And this is why they are so tired and angry with the “ruling” elite in this country. They are basically told that they can’t make a choice for their child because someone with more choices wants to “feel” like they’re helping out the poor but you’ll notice that “elite” isn’t leaving their kid in the public neighborhood school or enrolling their kid into a downtrodden school so they contribute to that community. Hell no, their kids are nice and coddled while they remove the choices available for others and doing this while calling the working class bigots, racists, homophobes – pick your insult. But let’s stop pretending that we on this blog are going to be hugely impacted by any upcoming policy changes as we have the resources to overcome most of them.

    I don’t care if a voucher is used at a religious school or not. Just as I don’t care if you want to use your kids voucher to pick an Arts or Stem or whatever school. Same thing goes for homeschooling. Everyone I know that is homeschooling is invested in their child/ren’s education and they do it for a variety of reasons not just religious ones. Unless you think a parent is going to take the money and lock their kids in a closet, what is the purpose monitoring them other than to discriminate against them?

    *Now will Trump make any changes that will truly help the working class but he was smart enough to a least tap into why they are angry.

  270. that “elite” isn’t leaving their kid in the public neighborhood school

    Speak for yourself. Mine have been public all the way, assigned neighborhood schools. And in Hawaii that’s a statewide district so it’s not like these are higher-funded schools than others in the state, and I’m right in the city so once we hit middle and high school the student body was very socioeconomically mixed.

    And if my kids’ schools have to comply with extensive requirements and spend copious time and resources on standardized testing all of which is published in aggregated form as a condition of spending public education dollars, why shouldn’t those same conditions apply to anyone else claiming a share of that same money?

  271. NYC liberal “elite” here. My kids attend their neighborhood public school in a racially and economically mixed outer borough neighborhood. Let’s not assume that all of us opt out of local public schools, while forcing the less fortunate to attend them. Our school is not perfect, but we are generally happy with it and the kids are doing well. The goal should be to offer good public schools to every child, and that goal would be frustrated if all of the “best” students are siphoned off into private schools while leaving the rest of the kids behind. FWIW, we did look into some of the private schools nearby (mostly Catholic schools) and found them to suffer from many of the same flaws as our public school. Perhaps the elite private schools with the $50,000 annual price tags are free of those issues, but truly middle class kids are not going to those schools, voucher program or no voucher program.

  272. “The goal should be to offer good public schools to every child, and that goal would be frustrated if all of the “best” students are siphoned off into private schools while leaving the rest of the kids behind. ”

    These “best” students are not your property or anyone else’s. They should have a chance to go to a decent school, not be held back because it is for the benefit of the other kids.

  273. Our school is not perfect, but we are generally happy with it and the kids are doing well.

    But what about the people who aren’t generally happy with their kids school? Since you are ok with yours, they should suck up the problems in their school, unless they are wealthy?

  274. Then we should adequately find public schools. It is shameful that we are ok leaving the most vulnerable behind.

  275. “This isn’t a degree thing. American or no? Yes it is.”

    Wasn’t the question “Traditionally American” or not? Tradition indicates it’s been around for a while, and hip-hop hasn’t been around as long as, say, jazz or country.

    OTOH, the point about the Riverdance guy strongly suggests it was just an excuse. I’d have rather he, or his camp, had just said something like they like his music very much.

  276. I concur with what Cordelia observed about one child with violent tendencies wreaking havoc. Until we’re willing to remove violent children from the classrooms, we’re keeping other kids from learning.

    The situation got worse under Obama because of the focus on the race of the violent children. That’s not a problem locally- our violent children, like our nonviolent children, are mostly white- but we are still subject to the federal regulations supporting violent children at the cost of nonviolent children.

  277. “that “elite” isn’t leaving their kid in the public neighborhood school
    Speak for yourself. Mine have been public all the way, assigned neighborhood schools.”

    Logically, this suggests that UL is saying that you aren’t “elite.” I.e., if you’re not elite, you haven’t disproved the statement.

    It points out the fallacious nature of blanket statements, which are easy to disprove. All it takes is a single counterexample, e.g., HM.

  278. “These “best” students are not your property or anyone else’s. They should have a chance to go to a decent school, not be held back because it is for the benefit of the other kids.”

    And perhaps not be stuck in heterogeneously grouped classes?

  279. “These “best” students are not your property or anyone else’s. They should have a chance to go to a decent school, not be held back because it is for the benefit of the other kids.”

    And perhaps not be stuck in heterogeneously grouped classes?

    That too.

  280. These “best” students are not your property or anyone else’s. They should have a chance to go to a decent school, not be held back because it is for the benefit of the other kids.

    I don’t disagree with this when applied to older (i.e. high school age) kids who have a track record. But how do you identify the “best” kindergartners? Living in NYC, I have seen parents (usually upper class, but in some cases downright rich parents) jump through all sorts of crazy hoops to get their kids into elite private or selective public elementary schools. This sometimes takes the form of lengthy questionnaires, interviews, and observed play dates for three-year-olds to get into the “right” private preschool. Other times, it involves months or even years of expensive tutoring to prepare four-year-olds for gifted and talented exams, so that they can attend what are effectively segregated schools. In my view, these antics do a disservice to all students, and would only be exacerbated in a voucher system.

  281. “if private schools accept vouchers, they need to be accountable as well. Require them to take every student just like the public schools have to. If their test scores aren’t good enough, then penalize them just like public schools with bad test scores.”
    “Do you really think that the “elite” private schools won’t try to discourage the riff-raff from applying?”

    As I mentioned before, I have doubts as to whether many of the privates would take vouchers, especially if they came with strings attached, and even more so if those strings were inconsistent with the schools’ missions and goals.

    Lack of acceptance of vouchers by the privates who are able to fill their schools without them would undercut the value of those vouchers to those unable to afford private school without them.

  282. Usually Lurks, are you the same person as usuallylurks?

    usuallylurks, I like your 1:34 post. A bit hyperbolic perhaps (and thus HM’s response), but thought provoking, at least for me.

    I hope you continue to contribute such thoughts that add to the discussion.

  283. Takeaway from this voucher conversation. Religious institutes need to be treated a regular corporations. Imagine all the extra money coming in that will go to schools making them schools everyone wants to send their kids to.

  284. “Middle class (and wealthy) students are already favored in traditional public schools.”

    How so?

  285. I don’t care if a voucher is used at a religious school or not. Just as I don’t care if you want to use your kids voucher to pick an Arts or Stem or whatever school. Same thing goes for homeschooling. Everyone I know that is homeschooling is invested in their child/ren’s education and they do it for a variety of reasons not just religious ones. Unless you think a parent is going to take the money and lock their kids in a closet, what is the purpose monitoring them other than to discriminate against them.

    You really don’t think there won’t be poor families (especially with 4 or 5 kids) who jump at the chance to get $10,000 a year per child to pull them out of school and “homeschool” them? A family making $30,000 a year with four kids can more than double their income by homeschooling. Or a single parent could quit her job and make more money homeschooling than by working and sending her kids to school. Who wouldn’t take advantage of that? If we’re going to pay parents to educate their kids – which is exactly what giving voucher money to homeschooling parents would be – then absolutely we need to make sure these kids are getting a decent education.

    And if my kids’ schools have to comply with extensive requirements and spend copious time and resources on standardized testing all of which is published in aggregated form as a condition of spending public education dollars, why shouldn’t those same conditions apply to anyone else claiming a share of that same money?

    Exactly my point. If public schools have to be accountable to all that BS, then every other school (or homeschooling parent) that receives public money should be held to the exact same standards.

  286. I think some voucher supporters would be open to a reduction/elimination in testing requirements for public schools. At least some of them are supportive of more local control.

  287. What is the point of monitoring people who homeschool? Many are not equipped to do the job.

  288. I am in favor of the testing requirements. In my experience, teachers have learned that giving high grades regardless of the students performance shields them from unhappy parents and hides evidence that they are not covering the material they should. In my kids’ high school, there is one fairly egregious example of a teacher giving out extra points in exchange for lunch from the students. At another school, the teacher added enough extra points to exams so that almost every student got at least a B.

    Taking a standardized test gives an indication of where and how far behind kids are.

  289. Usually Lurks @ 1:57

    We are in the exact same boat. I don’t consider myself an elite, but perhaps by the standards of this board I am. I have been very open about our difficulties with our neighborhood school and the illusion of school options available to us – public and private – in NYC in previous postings.

    My kids have attended a racially and socio-economically diverse public school since Kindergarten. The middle school attached to the elementary school is being shut down, despite being the third best in the district (although that is not saying much). We are contemplating every option for middle school – public, private, charter, moving – none are good.

    Charter schools are lottery only and with my son’s IEP we have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting him in. (I have heard countless stories of kids getting kicked out of charters for not fitting their mold. I see these kids attend my kids school mid-year, right before testing, coincidentally /s/ because the principal feels obligated to help (bless him).)

    Private schools, including religious ones, are very expensive. Higher costs ones are not affordable. $40-60k per kid. (I laugh at your $6000 voucher for places like NYC.) Lower cost ones, we run the same risks as for charters – it’s a lottery – meaning my kids may not get accepted – and they might not be a good fit. It is not just you picking the school; the school is picking tour kid.

    Public schools – well, we can try for Citywide schools – lottery. The “good” public schools in our district give preference to those kids who attend their elementary schools so spaces are limited – so lottery. Test scores for public middle schools in our district are near NYC average (so not great) or below (most of them). So moving.

    So my choices are – we win a lottery, we pay a lot or we move. Any rational parent (of any income level or race) would not think these are good choices. I would prefer to keep my kids in public school but I honestly don’t know where they will end up. (And please don’t think for one second I don’t appreciate how lucky I am that I at least have these choices.)

    Instead of draining funds away from public schools with vouchers and charters (which have a very mixed record, especially if you have a snowflake), why are we not fixing them?

    With the very generous tax emptions religious entities enjoy, why are their schools not better?

    As for tax dollar to fund religious schools, hell no!

  290. We know a few families who’ve had kids in a local charter that essentially facilitates homeschooling. The charter provides the kids with laptops, a curriculum, and teaching materials, and pretty much leaves it up to the families to put those to use.

    The families we know were pretty happy with that arrangement, since they’d planned to homeschool anyway, and being in the charter saved them some money.

    I believe the kids had to take tests at least annually to show they were making progress and performing at some level. I don’t know the details, but I recall thinking that by tracking individual progress, this testing regimen was better than the NCLB testing to which the non-charter public school kids were subjected.

    The costs to the charter were pretty low, which may have been largely why this charter ran into trouble, hiring family members for jobs that seemed mainly to be conduits for siphoning money.

  291. Our local Christian school doesn’t have a church affiliation or receive church funding/support-it’s independent. It is housed in buildings from a WW II infantry camp. Other than the religious component to education (which I’ve agreed is a separate debate from charters for private school in general), the educational offerings are like those of any other smallish school, public or private.

    I think Catholic schools often receive church support from the diocese, but independent Christian schools that cater to Protestants are often unaffiliated with a particular church.

  292. BTW at your kids’ school’s graduation last spring I was talking to a lady there with her son who apparently had friends in the ceremony. Her son was at MBTA (same age as my oldest, they recognized each other from elementary) and after asking where my son was at school and hearing [regular public high school], her immediate response was, “Have you considered MBTA?” Not, “Does he like it,” or “are there many kids from [elementary] there,” but “Have you considered [online-only schooling.]”

    I gather her son had a socially difficult 6th grade year, but sheesh. Does she imagine kids are being beaten in the bathrooms at the regular public schools? I will never know, because the conversation did not flourish after that.

  293. “FWIW, we did look into some of the private schools nearby (mostly Catholic schools) and found them to suffer from many of the same flaws as our public school. ”
    My university draws almost half its students from those very same Catholic schools, and trust me, they are not doing any better than the public schools. My Catholic school grads are just as stupendously unprepared as their public school counterparts.

    This is a big reason why I am not huge on privatizing education. My biggest objection is that in order to voucherize our schools, we will have to go through a huge disruption, with a lot of anger and angst, in order to achieve exactly nothing. Our kids will still be unprepared for college or trade programs. And there are unintended consequences, the biggest one being that this will further splinter us into tribal groups as people retreat to the schools that affirm their particular political and religious outlook. I am not sure the United States can take any more splintering. I am already concerned as to whether we can hold together in the next couple of decades.

  294. “And if my kids’ schools have to comply with extensive requirements and spend copious time and resources on standardized testing all of which is published in aggregated form as a condition of spending public education dollars, why shouldn’t those same conditions apply to anyone else claiming a share of that same money?”

    This is my point. It was already stated that private and charter schools should be required to meet the same educational standards as public schools, then so should homeschools. Regardless of whether or not any of us have experience with “good” ones or “bad” ones on an individual basis. There is a lot of grey area between an excellent set up and chaining a kid up in the closet and pocketing the money – and it’s not all good. The homeschooling standards in my state happen to be non-existent, which is part of the reason that I look at the whole enterprise unfavorably & do not want to siphon money from public schools to pay parents to homeschool without more oversight.

  295. “As for tax dollar to fund religious schools, hell no!”

    The Supreme Court has ruled that school voucher programs that allow parents to choose religious schools are constitutional.

  296. “You really don’t think there won’t be poor families (especially with 4 or 5 kids) who jump at the chance to get $10,000 a year per child to pull them out of school and “homeschool” them?”

    There might be a few, but not that many. Homeschooling is hard work.

  297. “And there are unintended consequences, the biggest one being that this will further splinter us into tribal groups as people retreat to the schools that affirm their particular political and religious outlook.”

    That ship has sailed. Many Totebaggy neighborhoods, at least in major metro areas with a mix of school options, are already splintered. The kids in our neighborhood in northern Virginia were at the local public school, the IB public school, the various GT schools, the public French immersion program, Catholic schools down the street and across the river, and secular private schools. Also, the British, French, German, Japanese schools, plus the Islamic Saudi Academy. We have fewer choices here, but in just our subdivision alone the kids are at two different public systems (the better neighboring district offers free cross-border enrollment), and Catholic, Christian, and secular private schools. Plus a boarding school 45 minutes away. And the homeschoolers.

    If UMC families are free to splinter, why should lower-income families be forced to send their kids to schools that don’t fit their values or learning styles?

  298. The point of the quotes around “homeschool” was that many lessons will consist of “You kids be quiet, Mommy’s watching her stories”.

  299. You might be amused to know that my Mom has been watching pre-Inauguration news all day, and texted me with updates about when Trump landed at Andrew’s. She’s teaching tonight, but will be “glued to the TV” afterwards, and all day tomorrow.

    I took tomorrow off to relax and enjoy the show from home.

  300. I am watching as I prepare dinner Quite a show at the Lincoln Memorial. What a country.

  301. The Supreme Court has also ruled that abortion is permitted but that doesn’t stop a bunch of people from saying how horrible it is and working to get rights associated with it scaled back.

  302. Hold the phone. The same people who are always arguing that people respond to incentives don’t think that giving people $10k per kid to homeschool will cause people to “homeschool” when it will increase the amount of money that they have by a lot?

  303. Mom can’t watch her stories, or sleep, or work, or post on the Totebag, if the kids are underfoot all day pretending to be doing schoolwork. I don’t honestly think that low-income parents are going to respond to that particular incentive in the way you envision, especially if there are even minimal safeguards in place, such as requiring lesson plans or other hoop-jumping exercises.

    If anything, the Supreme Court, especially after Trump’s Scalia replacement, is likely to strike down the Blaine Amendments prohibiting state aid to religious schools, which will further insulate school voucher programs from successful legal attacks.

  304. I don’t honestly think that low-income parents are going to respond to that particular incentive in the way you envision, especially if there are even minimal safeguards in place, such as requiring lesson plans or other hoop-jumping exercises.

    That’s the point – there need to be safeguards in place. Without them, do you really think someone making $13 an hour isn’t going to jump at the chance to get $30k tax free for not sending their kids to school?

  305. If anything, the Supreme Court, especially after Trump’s Scalia replacement, is likely to strike down the Blaine Amendments prohibiting state aid to religious schools, which will further insulate school voucher programs from successful legal attacks.

    Fortunately the Colorado constitution prohibits state funding for religious schools, and it was upheld by the state supreme court a few years ago.

  306. I wouldn’t support vouchers paid directly to homeschooling parents. Our state offers an on-line option used by some homeschooling parents where a teacher reviews a student’s work periodically and up to $800 in supplies annually can be reimbursed with receipts. I think that’s reasonable.

  307. Rocky — My husband and son are going to the rally in Boston. (DD and I are staying home because her best friend is having a birthday party that day.) DH and DS going to carpool with DS’ best friend and his father. I’m heartened that the menfolk are getting involved in this.

    As someone who has been lewdly groped on two occasions in public places by men I didn’t know (once when I was getting off a train, and once when I was simply walking down the street), I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to get past Trump’s “grab them by the p***y” remark.

  308. Do you really think that new court will reverse Locke v Davey, which is a states rights case, to invalidate state blaine amendments to facilitate a federal mandate that parents be allowed to use voucher money for religious schools? I thought that the conservative position was that such decisions are best made at the lowest level of government, and that federal mandates should be scaled back, not expanded.

  309. The application of the Blaine Amendment to school choice programs is an open question.

    “While Blaine Amendments may seem benign on their face, they are marred by controversy. It is widely acknowledged among scholars and even Supreme Court justices that they were largely enacted to discriminate against the wave of Catholic immigrants that came to this country in the nineteenth century. These immigrants were frustrated with the generic Protestantism that was taught in the public schools at the time and fought for public funding for Catholic schools. Protestant lawmakers responded by passing Blaine Amendments to protect their monopoly on public funding for schools. Although the public schools are now secular, these Amendments continue to be used to discriminate against Catholic schools and religious schools of all denominations, as well as the families who wish to send their children to them.

    Supreme Court precedent strongly suggests that the use of Blaine Amendments to exclude religious options in school choice programs violates the neutrality principle of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. Blaine Amendments have both the purpose and the effect of discriminating against religion, and this discrimination cannot be justified by a compelling government rationale. The Supreme Court has never squarely addressed this issue, however, and the lower courts are currently split.”

    http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/detail/blaine-amendments-and-the-unconstitutionality-of-excluding-religious-options-from-school-choice-programs

  310. Changed from usuallylurks per RMS’s request.

    Finn, yes it was most assuredly hyperbolic*. And I knew as soon as I posted there would be push back. I too send my kids to public school but I’m not going to pretend that I’m limited to the same choices as the working middle class. I bought the best house I could in the best school district. My kids attended an after school tutoring program today because I have the resources for them to do so.I was responding to what I felt was the tone, which to me seemed a bit disingenuous because I think that most people on this board, including myself, can make changes to their children’s education paths if we don’t like the policy changes coming.

    DD, RMS Ivy- if a set of parents really wanted to pull their kids out of school to gain that money so they can sit on the couch and watch their stories, I would argue those kids are probably screwed regardless. In fact, the teacher might be happy not to deal with said children and the parents of the other 29 kids in the class might be happier that teacher no longer has to focus on kids who have low/no parental involvement and can spend his/her time teaching their own special snowflakes.

    Kate- we should be funding education to its fullest but I think we also have to decide what the objective of public education is. What is the standard we want to achieve and realistically can each child achieve that standard? Maybe a family that owns a thriving business can teach their kids said business and “homeschooling” their children and collecting those monies is a better option. Do their kids need to stay in school to learn calculus to run that business? This group values education but a certain type of education. However, that does not make what we value the best choice for everyone.

    *The tone here and in other places was giving me the same feeling I used to get when Al Gore would give speeches that my family of four in a 1600 sq ft house somehow had a bigger carbon footprint then him and Tipper in their 14,000 sq ft home. He was also lamenting that he missed Air Force 2 and being privately flown around but yet global warming was being caused by our choice to use plastic bags.

  311. marching in NYC on Saturday with my daughter and some friends I think most of the moms I know in town are going – well, except for the ones heading to Washington instead

  312. several of my DD’s orphanage “sisters” are going – Washington and some regional ones – and they have all agreed to exchange selfies

  313. *The tone here and in other places was giving me the same feeling I used to get when Al Gore would give speeches that my family of four in a 1600 sq ft house somehow had a bigger carbon footprint then him and Tipper in their 14,000 sq ft home.

    It’s true because he paid for carbon offsets so his house was carbon neutral. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

    Kate- we should be funding education to its fullest but I think we also have to decide what the objective of public education is. What is the standard we want to achieve and realistically can each child achieve that standard?

    I think we all agree that everyone should learn basic literacy, and I think we also agree that aside from special needs kids, they can all realistically achieve that standard.

    if a set of parents really wanted to pull their kids out of school to gain that money so they can sit on the couch and watch their stories, I would argue those kids are probably screwed regardless. In fact, the teacher might be happy not to deal with said children and the parents of the other 29 kids in the class might be happier that teacher no longer has to focus on kids who have low/no parental involvement and can spend his/her time teaching their own special snowflakes.

    I agree. Public schools are required to teach these kids (which I agree with), so if private schools receive public money, shouldn’t they be required to teach these kids as well?

    I think that most people on this board, including myself, can make changes to their children’s education paths if we don’t like the policy changes coming.

    Again, I agree. Yet I have trouble seeing how any alternative funding or voucher system will provide equal opportunities for poor families as for UMC and UC families. With every voucher proposal I’ve seen, the primary beneficiaries would be the families who can already afford to send their kids to private schools. And there is never going to be any meaningful school choice in rural areas because of the low population density.

  314. “And I knew as soon as I posted there would be push back.”

    It was the best comment of the 373 on this thread!

  315. “Yet I have trouble seeing how any alternative funding or voucher system will provide equal opportunities for poor families as for UMC and UC families. With every voucher proposal I’ve seen, the primary beneficiaries would be the families who can already afford to send their kids to private schools.”

    Look at the DC program that Obama tried (but failed) to kill. DC spends a whopping $29,000 per student in traditional public schools with abysmal results. Charter schools get half that funding level, and thousands of kids are on waiting lists to enroll. The voucher program serves fewer than 1500 low-income students, which in DC means black and Hispanic, and because there were more applicants than available scholarships, participants were selected by lottery. If these low-income families were already able to pay the $8000-12,000 tuition fees covered by the vouchers, they were doing some serious frugal living.

    “The Institute of Educational Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education produced four random assignment studies of the Opportunity Scholarship Program. These studies included a variety of random assignment evaluations. Random assignment studies represent the “gold standard” of empirical research and employ the same methods used to evaluate the effectiveness of medicine.

    In these random assignment studies, graduation rate differences shine decisively in favor of scholarship students. Students who used their vouchers had graduation rates that were 21 percentage points higher than control-group students. Even better, students having previously attended low-performing public schools who were offered a scholarship demonstrated graduation rates 13 percentage points higher than the control group. Students from low-performing public schools who received and used scholarships graduated at a rate 20 percent higher than the control group.”
    \http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2016/02/power-to-the-people-putting-dc-parents-in-charge-of-k12-education

  316. *The tone here and in other places was giving me the same feeling I used to get when Al Gore would give speeches that my family of four in a 1600 sq ft house somehow had a bigger carbon footprint then him and Tipper in their 14,000 sq ft home.

    Amen to that. As one of the few people here who actually has to purchase health insurance on the open market, I always feel this way during healthcare discussions. The one time I ventured to suggest that my family of 4 guys and one 50-something woman (who have had our premiums double, our deductible quadruple, and our choices of carrier reduced to exactly one since the ACA went into effect) would like to be able to purchase a policy that didn’t cover pregnancy, I was vilified for wanting to deny prenatal care and birth control to young women.

  317. But HfN, do you really think it would be better without the ACA? People seem to think that premiums wouldn’t have gone up without the ACA, but they were going up massively every year before it took effect.

  318. “we should be funding education to its fullest”

    But it’s frustrating when billions of taxpayer dollars spent by education bureaucrats make no difference in student achievement for lowest-performing students.

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 injected $3 billion into the federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, which awarded grants to states that agreed to implement one of four school intervention models in their lowest-performing schools. Each of the models prescribed specific practices designed to improve student outcomes. … There was also no evidence that SIG had significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.

    More:

    Federal School Improvement Grant Program Had No Significant Impact on Student Achievement

    “There are several possible reasons for why the SIG program had no impact on student achievement,” said Lisa Dragoset, a senior researcher at Mathematica and director of the evaluation. “One possible reason is that the program did not lead to a large increase in the number of SIG-promoted practices that schools used. It is also possible that the practices were ineffective or not well-implemented.

    Ya think?

  319. Is it on already? It’s still dark in Denver, I always forget the East Coast is so far ahead.

  320. RMS, I have never been for repealing the ACA. I just think there should be room for discussion about some of its drawbacks and unintended consequences, and I don’t see that here. I’ve actually become much more sympathetic toward a one size fits all universal government program, which I never would have supported when we had employer provided healthcare. I’m unhappy with the two tiered system, where people with employer provided insurance make decisions that limit the options of those without it. For instance, there is not a policy that I can buy at any price in my state that would cover any portion of my family seeking treatment at MD Anderson or Mayo Clinic, yet people in my town who have employer provided policies routinely get care at such places. I’m on my phone at work,so sorry for the typos.

  321. Rocky – he just went to church. When dw gets back from preschool drop off, she’s going to make me run with her, so I’ll have to leave the TV for a little while.

  322. My husband is a teacher in a low income public school. He says that for a portion of his students the only thing that keeps them in school and off the streets is the free lunch and a place to be where they have peace and quiet away from home.
    If their parents or guardians got vouchers for homeschooling them – those kids would be pulled out of school and roaming the streets promptly. The safeguards have to be significant to prevent people from creatively going around them.
    This is a lot of money to pass up, more than they have ever dreamed of getting. There are already students who have their second baby their senior year – how is the promise of 6k/year once the child turns 5 going to affect that tendency?

  323. Anonymous – that will be a feature, not a bug. It will get all of those undeserving irredeemable kids away from the kids who truly deserve the tax payer dollars. And for only $6k a year! Too bad for them that they didn’t pick better genetic material.

  324. If vouchers can go to private schools that are not held accountable, we will get more of this

    Graduates of ultra orthodox yehivas who cannot function in the economy have become a real problem in Israel and a growing problem in NY. The use of welfare and other public services in ultra orthodox communities in NY is very high. There is now a lawsuit againt the state of NY brought by some yehiva grads, for damages because the state did not oversee the yeshivas properly. In NY, the lack of oversight is due to politics, but if vouchers can go to schools that do not have to adhere to standards, we will see a lot more of this.

  325. Nobody’s handing out voucher cash for homeschooling. At most, it would be credits for curricula and materials.

    Kate – tell us again why you’re choosing private school?

    Back to the Inauguration…the Beast (presidential limo) is looking kind of dated. They unveiled that 16 years ago for W., and I think it’s the same model. Yes, it’s an armored GM truck designed to look like a Cadillac sedan, but it’s a 2001 Cadillac. It’s like the car MMM and I would be driving.

  326. This morning I received an email from Kohl’s with this subject line:

    HUGE day. Even huger savings.

    I predict a boycott.

  327. HFN said “For instance, there is not a policy that I can buy at any price in my state that would cover any portion of my family seeking treatment at MD Anderson or Mayo Clinic, yet people in my town who have employer provided policies routinely get care at such places.”

    Only if your employer chooses a plan that covers those places. When my kid was sick, we had to out of network for MSKCC because our employer-based insurance did not cover them. The hospital they covered only treated 1 to 2 cases of cancer like my sons a year, and clearly had no idea what to do with his already complex case. We nearly lost our house due to out of network charges. So you should realize, employer based insurance isn’t necessarily that awsome either, and you don’t get any choice.

    BTW, we looked into trying to buy a private plan. At the time, NY was a guaranteed-issue, community rating system. In non-insurancespeak, that meant that insurers could not exclude for pre-existing conditions, and everyone paid the same (I think there was some adjustment for age). Well, first of all, it turned out we couldn’t buy that insurance – you could only buy it if you could prove you couldn’t get employer-based insurance. And secondly, they quoted us $25,000 a year for the policy if we could have bought it.

  328. Mooshi – Amidst all the noise and back-and-forth, I always appreciate reading your unique perspectives on health coverage.

  329. HFN,
    Agree that discussions regarding ACA issues get derailed by assertions that anyone opposed to ACA doesn’t care about kids who won’t be able to get insurance because of their pre-existing conditions. Obama has been enabling such rhetoric with his own fake news, claiming that 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions would be at risk of coverage denial without the ACA. The facts are a lot less alarming.

    “For starters, half of Americans get their insurance through an employer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Another 34% are on Medicaid or Medicare. For all these people, pre-existing conditions are no barrier to coverage.

    Pre-existing conditions mattered before ObamaCare only in the individual market, but even there few were affected. In 2010 Rep. Henry Waxman, then the Democratic chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a report on the individual market. It stated that the four largest insurers— Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth and WellPoint—declined to issue policies to about 250,000 people a year because of their medical histories. A 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office found a similar number.

    The Waxman memo also explains that insurers also sometimes issued policies with “riders” to exclude certain coverage. The four big insurers refused to pay about 70,000 claims a year because of pre-existing conditions.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-many-obamacare-patients-have-pre-existing-conditions-1484784577

    The writer goes on to explain that about 500,000 — rather than 133 million — people might be affected, and that there are other solutions, such as federally-funded high-risk pools, to provide coverage to them.

    But hey, 133 million just sounds a lot better.

  330. Mooshi, I don’t think you and I really disagree on anything as regards to healthcare. And my current policy costs 22,000 a year, so your 25,000 unacceptably expensive policy quote doesn’t shock me at all. We’re in agreement.

  331. Something about running education for profit (as many charters are circumspectly or not) bothers me. The fact is that we have not been able to adequately measure teacher & student performance with just standardized testing. We should put more effort into determining what a “good” teacher means and then rewarding good teachers rather than disrupting the current system for dubious outcome.
    Regarding the comment earlier about public schools expelling bad students and sending them to alternative school – in order for that to happen, these students have to be borderline criminals in their actions in school. My husband interviewed at an alternative school and the item on his resume that impressed the interviewer was his experience as a bouncer at a club when he was 20. These schools are few and far between and have maybe 10 students per class, so not enough to relief the public schools of the “worst” students’ achievements.
    In his low income school there are children who are able to break away from their current life through sports or the vocational mechanic and cosmetology programs as part of the curriculum, but there are also kids who take AP classes and go on to good colleges.

  332. “The use of welfare and other public services in ultra orthodox communities in NY is very high. There is now a lawsuit againt the state of NY brought by some yehiva grads, for damages because the state did not oversee the yeshivas properly.”

    I’ve read a few interesting books written by those who “escaped” Hasidic communities, and there are some serious issues with the schools many Hasidic children attend, especially the boys, many of whom stop studying secular subjects such as English and math in elementary school. But those schools have been in place for decades. Vouchers didn’t create them, and there are formidable obstacles to legal action within the Hasidic community.

    “A handful of modern Orthodox supporters have agreed to cover the legal fees and, with Mr. Moster, are interviewing lawyers. The plaintiffs in a lawsuit, however, must be either students who are currently enrolled in Hasidic schools or their parents. Mr. Moster said many families in New York’s Hasidic enclaves were sympathetic to his cause. So far, a small number of parents have agreed to take part in a lawsuit if they can remain anonymous. They worry that the yeshivas will expel their children and that the community will ostracize them if their names are revealed.”

    It’s very sad, but it really has very little to do with voucher programs in general.

  333. Milo – one of my kids attends private school. He has some physical issues that the public school couldn’t address. The middle one is going to public school next year. Younger one probably will, too.

  334. I know voucher programs did not create these schools, but if vouchers can go to private schools that have no oversight or accountability, we will see more of this. And the mess in the yeshivas is proof that private schools don’t have to always be better than public schools, and that parents are not always going to choose the best interests of their children.

  335. Or are you talking about preschool? We don’t have public preschool options unless there are special needs.

  336. OK, OK, I have always tried not to criticize First Lady attire, but what the hell are these two First Ladies wearing??? Michelle Obama looks like she is about to retreat to 1955 Alabama, and Melania Trump is wearing some kind of collarpiece that would be appropriate for an alien commander in Star Trek
    http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/01/20/video-trump-inauguration-updates-highlights-fox-news-coverage

    And Melania is smiling! She usually looks so grim.

  337. MM,
    You are absolutely right that even the most generous employer-provided insurance policy will probably fall short for patients with rare forms of cancer, who need to seek out the one or maybe two comprehensive cancer centers in the country that can handle their treatment. The same is true for other rare conditions, such as our friend’s child with a variant of spinal muscular atrophy. They had to go out of network to a children’s hospital a six hour drive away, and were extremely grateful that this hospital wasn’t on the other side of the country, because their child is too fragile to get on an airplane. Our friend with a rare form of gastric cancer sought treatment at no fewer than six centers, three of which were out of network, before finding someone willing to direct his care. Until I read your accounts of your son’s care, and watched my friends here go through similar experiences, I had no clue how difficult it can be for even well-insured professionals to cope with these conditions.

    But I don’t think it’s possible to design a comprehensive health care system that will be able to handle these cases. Something equivalent to a high-risk pool (properly funded and structured) seems to be the only solution.

  338. I think Melania’s outfit is a modern designer’s take on a Jackie Kennedy outfit minus the hat. My guess is Michelle Obama is trying to go understated to not outshine the incoming First Lady. Not sure I’m buying either look but that is what I think they’re trying to do.

  339. “I know voucher programs did not create these schools, but if vouchers can go to private schools that have no oversight or accountability, we will see more of this.”

    Why would voucher schools have no oversight or accountability?
    The yeshiva schools do apparently have accountability, but no one is able to enforce it because of the insular isolated nature of the Hasidic community. In any event, these schools seem to be a unique Hasidic issue, not a general problem elsewhere in the country or among other religious groups.

  340. City Mom — changed from Usually Lurks

    Mooshi, I also find your perspective on health care very informative. Thanks for offering it. I agree that employer-based health plans generally do not offer broad choices. My experience working at a handful of law firms was that choices were limited to a lower-priced HMO and a higher-priced PPO offered by the same insurer. The only time I got to choice among multiple plans offered by different insurers was the year I worked for the federal government — they had many different options to choose from! When I started my own practice a few years pre-ACA, it cost over $20,000 per year to cover my family of four. In fact, the cost of health insurance nearly deterred me from embarking on what has been a pretty successful business.

  341. I’ll admit that I haven’t read much about the voucher program and my memory of it is from when I lived in Michigan and DeVos was making her mark, but I think it is just a band-aid. It won’t fix anything long term. The inner-city socially disadvantaged kids that use a voucher to attend a private school will still come home at the end of the day to an empty house (because their mom is working 3 jobs to provide better for her children) with gangs in the neighborhood. Only self motivation to do homework and study will improve the few.

    On charters – my sample size is small, but I know a few people who have been teachers at a few local charter schools. They taught at them as their first teaching job for very low pay. Eventually they had enough experience to find better paying jobs & benefits in the Public schools. They all complain about the high turnover in admin and teachers, low salaries. My general consensus is that they aren’t life changing, but admit my sample size is small and I haven’t had the need to shop around for schools.

  342. FWIW, I am not sold on vouchers but I am not totally against them either. I think school choice here in the form of charters, magnets, gifted schools, etc has been a net positive although the test scores overall may not bear that out. I really think the devil is in the details, and it will vary quite a bit depending on state and local school funding formulas and the like. BUT, I absolutely think that schools that receive vouchers, including DS’s school, should have a reasonable set of standards to follow. It’s ridiculous to think that vouchers would go to “unschooling” homeschoolers and this yeshiva school. I want to know a lot more about how this would actually work.

  343. I’m parked in front a a TV in the car service waiting room watching the ceremonies. I agree with comments from some pundits that whatever your political leanings the peaceful transition of power is a wonderful part of our democracy.

    I wonder if Kellyanne was trying to send a message of some kind with her weird outfit. Maybe she needs a new stylist.

  344. You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

  345. I like Michelle and Melania’s outfits too except for the gloves. I guess if there is an occasion to wear gloves in 2017 though, it is your husband’s inauguration.

  346. We are a great country. It is only four years. We have survived many things. It will be ok.

  347. Winemama – HAHAHAHAHA! Thank you for the laugh…

    But Cordelia – I thought we weren’t a great country and Trump needs to make us great again… Oh I am so confused! :)

  348. From the NYTimes live blog:

    12:08 PM ET
    Trump: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

    Jon Meacham
    Presidential Historian
    Neither Obama nor Bush look very happy about being told they’ve presided over “carnage” at home.

  349. “We are a great country. It is only four years. We have survived many things. It will be ok.”

    I hope so. That is what I have been telling myself since the shock wore off. Not so much shock that HRC lost or that the Republicans have control of Congress – which didn’t result in the end of the world when W was President – but the shock that an orange reality TV real estate buffoon is actually going to be our President. So the shock has worn off, but the embarrassment hasn’t.

  350. Why would voucher schools have no oversight or accountability?

    If private schools are going to have to follow all the BS that the public schools do, then they will be very unlikely to accept vouchers.

  351. “Neither Obama nor Bush look very happy about being told they’ve presided over “carnage” at home.”

    I had the same thought when the cameras cut to them at that moment.

  352. My pink you-know-what hats arrived!!! A dear friend who lives on the West Coast made them over the weekend for me and DD for the march. This same friend knitted the cutest little veggie hats for my son when he was in treatment and bald years ago

  353. I sure hope someone thought to put a bottle of wine and a bag of chips in that helicopter for Michelle. That looked so painful for her. I’m going to miss her.

    Mooshi can you post a picture of your hat?

  354. HFN – no matter how much time you have to prepare to depart it must be hard to step down and aside especially after eight years.

  355. “Neither Obama nor Bush look very happy about being told they’ve presided over “carnage” at home.”

    Not sure if he was referring to Chicago or to the carnage of lost jobs or something else, but Trump has a huge challenge in trying to end it.

  356. OK, WaPo is going with the carnage as its headline takeaway from the speech

    “Trump is sworn in, vows to end ‘American carnage’”

  357. HFN and Louise – I keep thinking the same thing… their family grew up at the White House. These past 8 years have been formative for all of them. I do believe Michelle when she says she’ll be there for Melania. I truly think the Obamas will extend all courtesies they can wrt to the new First Family.

  358. Reading the history of transitions – Jackie Kennedy stayed on a while longer given the circumstances and Caroline Kennedy continued with her coop White House preschool months after the family had moved out.

  359. NYTimes has gone with the carnage quote too for their main headline

    “TRUMP IS SWORN IN, CAPPING HIS SWIFT ASCENT: ‘THIS AMERICAN CARNAGE STOPS RIGHT HERE’”

  360. My town’s facebook page is exploding because several teenagers refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance this morning. In the predictable back and forth comments a good amount of people are telling each other that if they are unhappy with the first amendment enforcement in the public school, they should send their kids to private.
    Which makes me wonder – if our children can segregate into schools that “fit” us & them better, would we lose the insight that respectful discourse and sharing of opinions can bring?

  361. “would we lose the insight that respectful discourse and sharing of opinions can bring?”

    Most likely. But remember, everyone lives in a confirmation bias bubble – only those who share our views allowed. And all I keep thinking is “That’s not how any of this works!” from the Geico commercial…

    Wine – This has been a topic of my facebook and twitter feeds because I’m friends with a lot of climate change researchers. I’m predicting some scary times for us… if certain acts and regulations are defunded, we will lose our jobs.

    Back to writing about climate change!! :) Seriously… I’m writing a report about climate change today.

  362. “would we lose the insight that respectful discourse and sharing of opinions can bring?”

    We’ve been heading down this road for years. We’re becoming more polarized as both parties have become more extreme. There’s no nuance in discussions and debates any more, it’s all extreme rhetoric.

  363. “We’ve been heading down this road for years. We’re becoming more polarized as both parties have become more extreme. There’s no nuance in discussions and debates any more, it’s all extreme rhetoric.

    That seems to be true in my lifetime. But when I go back to the dawn of the civil rights era, in the 50’s, and read the things white Southerners, including Southern Democrats, were saying, I wonder if that is true. Those people were hateful, and did not speak in a way to be reasoned with.

  364. If anyone is interested, and if I have my history straight, when the “troops” are passing in review before a reviewing party, the purpose of the “eyes right” or “eyes left” command is so that the reviewing official can better assess the health of the soldiers — sharp and focused, or bloodshot and bleary eyed.

    If the leader of the marching group is carrying a sword, he or she salutes with the sword simultaneously while ordering the “eyes right.” Lifting the sword to your face, and then dipping and holding it down by your leg, is the salute.

    E.g., here’s a rehearsal. Fast forward to 1:15.

  365. The You Are Not So Smart Podcast started at three part series last week about the neuroscience of changing your mind. The research they are discussing is showing that people react to with fight or flight when their political beliefs are challenged with evidence that may show they are wrong. I found it to be very enlightening and recommend you listen it. The Huffington Post did a quick article on it too but not as in depth. I’m looking forward to parts 2 and 3.

    From the podcast notes YANSS 093(youarenotsosmart.com)

    “By placing subjects in an MRI machine and then asking them to consider counterarguments to their strongly held political beliefs, Jonas Kaplan’s and Sarah Gimbel’s research, conducted along with neuroscientist Sam Harris, revealed that when people were presented with evidence that alerted them to the possibility that their political beliefs might be incorrect, they reacted with the same brain regions that would come online if they were responding to a physical threat.”

  366. Which makes me wonder – if our children can segregate into schools that “fit” us & them better, would we lose the insight that respectful discourse and sharing of opinions can bring?

    I’m not aware that we have respectful discourse and sharing of opinions. Just earlier this week one of my kids’ teachers told the class she was proud to be a sexist. A few years ago, another teacher told the class that brown haired, browned eyed students wrote better than blue eyed blonds.

  367. “Nobody’s handing out voucher cash for homeschooling. At most, it would be credits for curricula and materials.”

    This would seem to be cost-effective, and it seems to be a testament to the strength of the teachers’ unions that a lot boards aren’t offering, if not pushing, this option to parents considering homeschooling.

  368. “A few years ago, another teacher told the class that brown haired, browned eyed students wrote better than blue eyed blonds”

    Maybe that teacher was running this exercise.

    “A wake up call for all ages, this best-selling program teaches about prejudices using a dramatic framework. It provides an examination of the realities of discrimination as experienced by actual students in the classroom of third grade teacher, Jane Elliott, whose demonstration shows how quickly children can succumb to discriminatory behavior.

    This video chronicles her, now famous, exercise where she divides her class based upon the color of their eyes and bestows upon one group privileges and on the other group impediments. Her work endures to this day and this ABC video, decades later, still has a great deal to teach us.

    English, Spanish and Sensitive Audience Versions included.

    – click here to buy -”
    http://www.janeelliott.com/

    Wondering what the “Sensitive Audience Version” is.

  369. Mennonite schools were created in part because of the Mennonite children’s refusal to say the pledge. There was so much grief and drama about it that they just started their own schools.

  370. This would seem to be cost-effective, and it seems to be a testament to the strength of the teachers’ unions that a lot boards aren’t offering, if not pushing, this option to parents considering homeschooling.

    Why would they? Here schools lose per-pupil finding when kids are homeschooled. Given that most of the schools’ expenses are fixed, they have a fairly significant net loss if kids leave for homeshcooling.

  371. “Why would they?”

    At the BOE level, they’d be looking a lower costs to educate kids this way (providing curriculum, materials, and regular testing) than in normal classroom setting, which would leave more money for other stuff, and they seem to always have some program or other for which they are asking the legislature for money.

  372. Finn, I think you misunderstood my post. In Colorado, state funding for schools is based on enrollment. When kids leave to be homeschooled, the school loses the funding for those kids (around $7k per student). So why would the schools encourage parents to do something that will cost the schools money?

  373. DD, I’m not suggesting the individual schools will encourage homeschooling. I’m thinking that encouragement would be at the highest levels, e.g., the BOE, because that would save money that they could redirect to whatever programs they’re trying to fund.

  374. DD, I’m not suggesting the individual schools will encourage homeschooling. I’m thinking that encouragement would be at the highest levels, e.g., the BOE, because that would save money that they could redirect to whatever programs they’re trying to fund

    Finn, my guess is that the kids who would be homeschooled cost less to educate than the school receives from the state. In which case, the school is losing a source of profit. Around here, it was not uncommon for parents to pull their kids for a school year and homeschool them, mostly because their kids were sitting in the back of the class room being ignored, or being bullied. The school wasn’t expending much resources on them, but was recieving money from the state for their attendance.

  375. I actually came up with a rough idea of how widespread vouchers could be instituted in a school district that is not micro or very rural. I don’t advocate this; it is simply a thought experiment more or less.

    There would be a transition phase, as it will take time for enough independent schools to be established. Funds have to freed up from the existing school expenditures, so the number of vouchers would increase over time.

    Step one would be to plan to close one or more lower elementary schools, by closing the kindergarten in year one and refusing any new admissions to upper grades. In year three or four the remaining grades would be redistributed to other schools. Teacher hiring would likely be frozen. Eventually, the empty school buildings could be rented out or sold.

    Vouchers would be distributed by lottery, with a numerical “place in line” attached. Pres Trump at one point advocated an income tested federally supported voucher grant to states, that might require two separate lotteries if a state chose to accept the funds. In some areas, availability of vouchers without transportation support would be meaningless to a significant fraction of the target population. That could be added in as well as a lottery factor. Siblings, especially twins, could also be taken into account.

    Independent schools would not be required to accept vouchers, but at all but the elite level there would be strong incentive. Any school that accepted vouchers would have a requirement to save x or a percentage-of-desks places per grade for voucher students each year, and to commit to keeping the student for two years absent health and safety concerns at the preteen level, one year at the teen level. Nothing else other than actual instruction (possibly with testing, but not yearly) would be required of the school, and if it were a mandatory vaxx school, or a single sex school, or a school with required religious instruction, or no peanuts school, or if the kid qualifies for taxpayer funded special needs help, the school would be free from obligation to accommodate it on site during the school day. Buyer beware. If the child withdrew voluntarily mid year , the school would keep the voucher money. Otherwise a prorated amount would revert to the state.

    After the lottery, number one and on down would choose from the participating independent schools until their voucher slots were filled. The school would be required to take that kid, no questions asked. After that, a parent could choose a school that no longer had mandatory voucher slots, but the school would not be required to accept the voucher child. However, if it did, it would be subject to the two year/ one year rule above.

  376. It is interesting that the voucher opponents expect that existing public schools will close from the loss of enrolled students if those students are able to afford a different option. If there any thought that the public schools might attempt to improve?

  377. Where the population is growing, vouchers might allow less investment in school construction because private schools wouldn’t be held to the same seismic standards, separate spaces for kids in the behaviorally disordered class, etc. as public schools and could use existing buildings that are considered “no longer serviceable.” Old school buildings are where most private and charter schools currently operate here.

    We have an upcoming school bond and part of the decision is whether to invest in new schools which can be large and “efficient” or whether to keep using the smaller buildings which may only have a half-time principal, higher heating/cooling/septic costs, etc. Since student populations have been dropping for decades in the nearby university town, due to Oregon zoning laws and resulting housing prices, I’m not sure if the investment in new buildings is appropriate in my (less expensive) town.

    My BIL has spent more than half of his career as a pipefitter building new school buildings, I think.

  378. Cordelia, I don’t see the current public schools under a voucher program. I think most parents will still send their kids to their local public schools. Colorado has a very robust school choice system (no vouchers) and the local schools are doing just fine in terms of enrollment.

    Meme, I don’t understand your idea at all. First, I have no idea why you want to close public schools. Second, I don’t see the incentive for the private schools to accept vouchers at all – they are giving up their freedom to select students for no gain to the school. Third, there is a limit on the number of vouchers, and combined with closing public schools, that means the families who don’t get the vouchers would be forced to pay tuition at a private school (and those schools would not be required to accept these students) or have to travel farther to get to the nearest public school.

  379. One of the problems with voucher programs, as opposed to charter schools, is that they largely benefit private schools already in existence, rather than enabling the creation of new schools. As WCE notes, starting a new school is an expensive undertaking. Without the deep pocket of a large religious organization that can subsidize the operation, it’s very difficult to open a new school even if an abandoned school building is available at low cost. We have friends who are dissatisfied with the elementary school options in our community, and who are trying to start a new independent, Christian/Catholic classics-based K-6 school, but the obstacles are formidable. There is only one secular, independent elementary school around here, and the $16,000 tuition means that the students are mostly from UMC families.

    There is only one secular, independent elementary school around here, and the $16,000 tuition means that the students are mostly from UMC families. There were many independent, non-religious schools in the DC area, but the demographics there are very different. Wondering whether other communities have been able to support secular private schools, or are most of the private schools run by religious groups?

  380. Denver Dad – It’s not a proposal. You live in Colorado, I live in Massachusetts, where public education is highly regarded and public charter schools have proven successful. In MA, special needs services and transportation services are provided to students in non public schools, but MA has a narrowly construed constitutional provisions that limits direct payments to private (not just religious) schools. (Payments to private, including one decision on a Christian school, special needs schools were upheld because the public school district did not choose to provide the services that were mandated under law.)

    My post was musing on what I believe might happen in a full voucher system without robust accreditation and monitoring safeguards, which is what serious voucher proponents desire. I am not talking about a voucher pilot program with 500-1000 voucher slots in a school population of 30,000. A full voucher system is one in which each child is allotted x000s from the government, payable to a non public school or retained if they attend public school. The government will still provide public school education to all comers who can’t find a better situation or who place into a exam school or live in an district where they are generally satisfied. Everyone else will choose a school. If any reasonable parent is given a choice between a school that has to take all comers or has a point of view that is anathema to the parent, and one that can teach whatever values it wants, can exclude any student it wants, and has a curriculum that the parent prefers to the standard curriculum, what choice do you think they will make? In Massachusetts, in the heyday of the subsidized Catholic school system and lasting into the 70s there were cities and towns in MA where the Vocational High School was desirable and respected, but the public high school was filled with kids who were kicked out of Voc or Catholic school, whose parents did not expect much from them, or were non Catholic and didn’t have the funds or chops to attend a private school. There were always one or two classrooms worth of college prep kids, but not much going for the rest. Race was not a factor in this social and educational division, although sometimes ethnic origin played into it.

  381. If vouchers provide a better education to kids than the current situation, why should we care if someone else also benefits?

  382. Meme, I’m still not getting your point. You said the first step in a voucher program is to start closing public schools. I don’t see the connection at all.

    Cordelia, my issue with vouchers is that very few families will actually benefit aside from those who can already afford to send their kids to private schools and are already doing so, and this will take money away from the public schools.

  383. DD clearly some families who are already paying for private school will benefit. But also some families who currently can’t afford private school would also benefit. And, one would hope that the realization that a larger subset of profitable students might leaVe might incent the public schools to behave better.

    That might be an overly optimistic hope.

    Still, it seems that question is whether letting some more kids escape poor schools is worth letting some “undeserving” families benefit.

  384. I am not quite sure of the state of vouchers here since there have been challenges and it has been a back and forth.
    Here older charter schools and magnets get a lot of parents who may want an environment beyond their neighborhood school. I agree that it is not easy to get a charter school up and running. Magnets have been more successful, IMO because of their distinctive branding/offerings. We have STEM, IB, World languages, Arts and Technology magnets.
    However, not everyone including middle and UMC people are clamouring to get their kids out. Some don’t like the academic pressure or long days that many charters and magnets have. Some have transportation issues.
    The more academically inclined kids are highly to be in higher level “honors classes” in their neighborhood schools.
    The independent private and established relugious private schools have tuitions that won’t be completely covered by the voucher amounts I see mentioned. What is not well known is that private schools here give scholarships based on income and I know families that have gotten these scholarships.
    Home school especially with online curriculum is an option that is fairly mainstream here especially in lower grades.
    Not sure how it would change with more vouchers.

  385. The Denver march was way bigger than expected. You can go to the Denver Post’s page and look at the crowd. It was entirely peaceful, with good energy. My favorite sign was “Free Melania”.

  386. One advantage I can see to having a school district covering a big geographic area is that the public schools can offer school choice. Magnet schools are placed all over so most people are not very far from one.

  387. How are you going to pay for the vouchers if you are going to offer a meaningful number, not just some pilot program? You have to cut existing school programs from day one. If somehow the state legislature (more likely than an Federal mandate) goes to a system where each child is entitled to use a voucher, you have to stop constructing new schools, stop hiring new teachers, fire all those who haven’t yet achieved tenure and replace with adjuncts. Every eligible private school kid will immediately get his voucher at no reduction in costs to the school system. The religious homeschoolers will set up coop schools or be assisted by a Christian billionaire foundation with lesson plans, legal docs and strategies all drawn up and ready to go, at no reduction in cost to the school system. For profits and other schools (not the sort that Scarlett’s university traditionalist friends envision) will be all ready to step in. I would expect there to be schools coming out of the woodwork within a year or two, if there is lots of taxpayer money to be paid out.

  388. “Free Melania” – why ? She knows what she signed up for when she married him. If she wanted out she would have done it a while back. (I know people who spilt up right after they got their green card/citizenship via their spouses – no prospect of millions in a divorce settlement).
    I admire Eleanor Roosevelt (wanted to name DD after her) but that is a high bar and very few First Ladies have come close.

  389. Back from my local Women’s march. Yuge crowd. Very heartened to see a lot of men with their wives and daughters.
    My favorite sign featured pictures of DeVos and a bear with the caption “One of these is dangerous to schoolchildren. The other is a bear”.

  390. In a good public school system, plenty of families will stay put. Public schools have the physical plants to support extensive sports and arts programs, for one thing, that only the most well-endowed private schools, such as Georgetown Prep, can match.

    Mediocre public schools have more to lose, but, even there, inertia and Rhett’s favorite catchphrase “lack of executive function” will keep many of the public school kids in the traditional system. More than half of the kids in DC (graduation rate 58%) are still in traditional public schools, though it’s unclear how many would flee if the charter school system and voucher programs had infinite capacity. (And interesting to observe the enrollment pattern of the 10% or so of DC students who are white — there are twice as many of them in the traditional schools as in charters, none of which are located in the District’s affluent Ward 3.)

  391. DH and DS have just returned from the Boston march. It’s a good thing they decided to drive — apparently the trains from the North-of-Boston area were packed to the point where the transit system was having trouble getting everyone into the city who wanted to get into the city. My boys report that everything was peaceful, and everyone at the rally was really nice to each other.

  392. Louise — My guess is that if President and Mrs. Trump ever broke up, there would be no negotiation or settlement process regarding their assets; it is highly likely that there is a prenup in place that sets out exactly what Melania would get in the event of a divorce. And if I had to guess, I would guess that what she would get wouldn’t be that much.

    Kerry — Love the “introverts” sign!

  393. I watched the last hour of angry speakers at the DC March, who were black, Asian, Latina, Native American, etc, but the crowd shots appeared to be a sea of happy white women.

  394. I suspect whether the effects Meme is concerned about will occur depend heavily on the worth of the voucher, and that’s why I emphasized the marginal cost per student (~$6000 here) and not the average cost per student ($10,000, estimated, considering existing buildings and upcoming bonds for infrastructure) as the value of the voucher. As long as public schools have to take all comers, meet seismic upgrade requirements, have separate cool-down areas for behaviorally disordered kids, etc., they deserve to have higher funding levels.

    We can look at states with voucher programs (Indiana) and get an idea what the effects would be.

  395. Did anyone see Sean Spicer? Someone is a little mad that more people came out today. What a nut.

  396. just got back from the NYC march. It was an amazing experience. This is the first protest march I ever went to – I am not that kind of person normally. I went with a friend and brought DD. The crowd was filled with families. Lots of kids and babies. It was so jammed it took us 3 hours to walk from 47th and 2nd to 42nd and 5th, which normally might take me 20 minutes. When we left at 4, there were still marchers arriving.

  397. DD clearly some families who are already paying for private school will benefit. But also some families who currently can’t afford private school would also benefit. And, one would hope that the realization that a larger subset of profitable students might leaVe might incent the public schools to behave better.

    Cordelia, IMO, the voucher amounts won’t be enough to allow the poor families to afford private schools. There’s a small group in the middle class where vouchers would make a difference. But again, there’s no guarantee students would be able to get into the private school they want. And it won’t do much for people in rural areas because there isn’t the density to support a lot schools. In your area, how many options do you think you would actually end up with in a completely open market?

  398. I do not think Melania ever chose this route, or bought into it. She has looked grim and unhappy from the getgo. Her total lack of enthusiasm for living in the White House, her refusal to do anything on the campaign trail beyond the bare minimum (and plagiarized too), tells me that this is someone who is direly unhappy. If she wasn’t locked in by an ironclad prenup, I am certain she would be out of there.

  399. I was also heartened to see lots of young black women in the crowd. We need them. One group, who looked about college age, had boxes of granola bars which they were enthusiastically handing out to all the kids

  400. DD in my area there are at several options. Two ok private religious k-12 schools and a private religious k-8. A little further away are many k-8 privates. There are also three prestigious private high schools. At least one of my sons classmates is going to the prestigious, excellent private high school. Two kids from the grade above him are there. That school requires significant family sacrifice, generally the family rents an apartment in the town and one parent and the kid live there during the week. However, since more kids are going, a carpool might not be too onerous.

    To make a short answer longer, if families had access to vouchers, at present there is the carpooling infrastructure in place for the marginal families to be able to use the vouchers. And, based on the conversations I’ve had, there is also the desire.

  401. “private schools wouldn’t be held to the same seismic standards”

    I would be surprised (and appalled) if that were the case here.

  402. WCE makes a good point that vouchers make more sense where there is an increasing student population without the existing physical plant to support it, and I’ll add that it makes even more sense if the increasing student population appears to be a bubble.

    She also makes a good point that it is very difficult to provide any sort of school choice where student population density is low.

    I would suggest that one type of school choice that is relatively easily implemented in areas of all population densities is homeschooling, with the school district providing curriculum, materials, guidance, and regular progress assessments, although that would still be difficult in very low density areas with poor internet access. Perhaps even more choice can be provided in the form of a choice of materials for a given curriculum (e.g., pick one of n math textbooks for algebra I).

    I’ll further suggest that another form of school choice that is relatively easily implemented (DD’s experiences with his DD notwithstanding) is partial homeschooling, with kids attending school for certain subjects (I’m thinking math, especially for older kids, as one of the more popular classes at school for kids in this program) and homeschooling for others (with social studies being among the more popular for homeschooling).

  403. “I don’t see the incentive for the private schools to accept vouchers at all – they are giving up their freedom to select students for no gain to the school.”

    It depends on the details of the voucher program.

    In the program Mémé outlines, I would expect that many privates would choose not to participate, for the reason DD mentioned.

    But if the privates are allowed to maintain their selectivity, I can see some participating because vouchers would enlarge their pool of candidates and allow them to raise their standards, and likely their diversity as well.

  404. “Colorado has a very robust school choice system (no vouchers) and the local schools are doing just fine in terms of enrollment.”

    Yes, vouchers aren’t necessary to create school choice, especially in areas of high student population density.

    Near my office, I can pass 3 elementary schools in about a mile’s drive on one road, with a 4th just over a mile from the 3rd. Near my home, there are two elementary schools that are about a 5 to 10 minute walk from each other.

    Such situations lend themselves to school choice. Imagine if each of the schools offered different teaching approaches, with parents having the freedom to choose the schools for their kids. Resources can also be allocated more efficiently if all those schools don’t have to be all things to all kids. E.g., very bright kids could be channeled to the one school of the three near each other that has the GT program.

    In fairness to the local DOE, I should note that one of the schools near my home has in immersion program, and parents of kids whose default school is the adjacent one can choose to have their kids attend the immersion program. There are other similar examples, e.g., only one of several middle schools near each other has an orchestra program.

  405. Our private schools aren’t selective or racially diverse and probably nothing will make them racially diverse, given the demographics of our population. Vouchers would allow private schools to become socioeconomically diverse and (especially for Waldorf/Montessori/foreign language models) to deviate from grade level common core requirements. I can see a lot of opportunity here for a dual immersion English/Spanish private school that has the flexibility to set reading/vocabulary/writing requirements that deviate from common core.

  406. I looked up the Indiana details online, since that system has been in operation for five years and there is easily accessible data. It is referred to formally as a state scholarship program, not a “voucher” program. The average per pupil expenditure in Indiana is 9000 per year. Almost 50 percent of public school students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

    The choice program is limited to low and middle income students, and the first child in the family to qualify for a voucher has to have attended public school first for at least a year and also be accepted at a school on the list. For a child to be eligible for a half- voucher, approximately 3000, his family of four cannot have income over 65,000. For a full voucher, approx 5500, max 44,000 (It is more complicated than that, and after year one the child can keep getting a half voucher until family of four income exceeds 90,000.) approximately 58% of students qualify. Vouchers are used by a little over 3% of students educated at taxpayer expense. 95+% of the schools that are on the list of eligible choice schools are easily identifiable as religious schools (there was a military academy and a few without an obvious religious designation).

    Homeschoolers (over 50 thousand taxpayers claimed the credit) can get up to a 1800 state tax credit for supplies.

    So I concede the point that it is unlikely that there will be a fire sale at the public schools if a wide spread voucher program is instituted at these price points. However, it doesn’t seem likely that there will be Waldorf or STEM or classical academies signing up.

  407. A key factor in the discussion is whether the family is expected to contribute beyond the value of a voucher/scholarship. Our Waldorf and Montessori schools have tuition of ~$10k so a $6k voucher would be a significant credit. Tuition also might drop because class sizes would presumably be full(er). At my friend’s child’s private school, the class size is ~6, though the average is ~15.

  408. I’m guessing that at least 90% of the private schools in Indiana have a religious connection. Secular groups don’t seem to be sufficiently dissatisfied with public schoools to motivate them to set up their own private school options.

    A vocher worth less than the tuition sticker price will still enable poor student students to attend a lower cost private school with scholarship support, and middle class families will be able more easily to send three kids to Catholic school for what it used to cost them to send one.

  409. So in states with Blaine state constitutional amendments prohibiting direct aid to religious schools (and Scarlett is correct that the those amendments were added by reason of 19th century anti Catholic/immigrant bias), there might not even be a critical mass of demand for a secular voucher program. The Supreme Court has stated that voucher programs are grants to the parents, not direct funding of the schools, so they do not violate the Establishment Clause of the US constitution, but it would be a large additional step for the Court to rule that Blaine amendments are invalid because they violate free exercise of religion. Those cases will be filed, however, if there is a Federal mandate enacted for Indiana style vouchers with a federal funding mechanism and states refuse to participate based on their own state constitution and court rulings. (For legal geeks, the opinions of Justice O’Connor – greatly underrated and sorely missed from SCOTUS when she had to step down to care for her husband – on school funding are excellent.) In MA, the original legislation to prevent government funding of non public schools antedates Irish immigration and the Blaine amendments of the latter part of the 19th century and was tied up in the founding vision of state sponsored mass education for children from all stations in life. However, the origin of a law may not be operative here. And the Supreme Court decision that state refusal of Medicaid expansion under ACA could not be tied to a loss of funds for other Medicaid programs might make it impossible for a federal mandate to be crafted that would require States to institute a voucher program including religious schools or lose other federal school aid.

  410. “And I guess the other part of this that I do not understand is why conservatives, who hate the way higher education is funded, want to turn around and fund K12 the exact same way. It baffles me.”

    +1

    Won’t vouchers simply drive up the cost of elementary schools?

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