Sunday, February 15, 2015

crAZy makes national news ... again

Our beloved state once again is featured in national news in two articles in the NY Times.

Topic #1: Health care for children

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is up for reauthorization in Congress. An op-ed in the NY Times, authored by Hilary Clinton (D) and Bill Frist (R) makes the case.

NO child in America should be denied the chance to see a doctor when he or she needs one — but if Congress doesn’t act soon, that’s exactly what might happen.

We already know what happens when CHIP is no longer an option for families. According to a recent report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, as many as 14,000 children in Arizona lost their health insurance after 2010, when it became the only state to drop CHIP.

We don’t want to see the same thing happen across the country. If CHIP is not reauthorized, more families will be hit with higher costs. As many as two million children could lose coverage altogether. Millions more will have fewer health care benefits and much higher out-of-pocket costs, threatening access to needed health services. And because families without adequate insurance often miss out on preventive care and instead receive more expensive treatment in hospital emergency rooms, all of us will be likely to end up paying part of the bill.

While reauthorization is not due until the end of September, Congress needs to act now. With more than four-fifths of state legislatures adjourning by the end of June, lack of action and clarity from Washington by then will make budgeting and planning virtually impossible.

Or maybe this makes no difference in a state in which health, education, and welfare are dirty words for GOPlin legislators.

h/t Michele Manos

Topic #2: Diane Douglas' fight with Gov. Ducey and the state Board of Education

The Times picked up on the Douglas vs. everyone else battle in this story.

Diane M. Douglas, a Republican, was elected state schools superintendent in Arizona after vowing to repeal the Common Core, a set of reading and math standards intended to guide teachers from kindergarten through high school graduation.

This week, soon after taking office, she fired two civil servants at the state’s Board of Education, saying they were "liberal staff who have publicly stated they will block all efforts to repeal or change Common Core."

But the newly elected Republican governor, Doug Ducey, promptly said that Ms. Douglas did not have the power to fire them — setting off a battle over control of the board and the state’s schools.

At a meeting on Friday, the Board of Education voted to demand that the Department of Education restore the staff members’ access to the facilities they had been escorted from earlier in the week.

In Scriber's view, no matter who wins this battle, AZ schools and AZ children lose. The schools' main advocate committed the political equivalent of Hara kiri. The likely victorious Governor is against fully funding the schools. It's like Joni Ernst, the Iowa pig farmer, came to AZ and performed her surgery on the Superintendent of Public Instruction - on the Supe's demand.

h/t Sherry Moreau

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