What if we had comprehensive education reform?

It's very difficult these days for healthcare providers to avoid the belief that Obama and the Democrats have them in the crosshairs.  Listening to Nancy Pelosi excoriate  insurance companies as villains and Barack Obama tell us that doctors perform unnecessary surgery only reinforces this sense of persecution.

Over the years the left wing has engaged in such outrageous demagoguery concerning the American healthcare system that hearing health insurance executives and doctors described as evil and greedy doesn't even rate a shrug from the public. There may be problems with the financing of healthcare. But the thousand page monstrosity known as "Comprehensive Health Care Reform" is not the solution


In order to make my point, I propose an illustration. What if it weren't health care that President Obama wanted to reform? What if he had decided it was the American education system that needed overhauling? What would this legislation do?

It's a fascinating exercise to go through the list of highlights in the House bill provided by
Family Security Matters and substitute "education" for "health care." 

Start with page 16, the famous "Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage."  Instead of (health insurance) "coverage," imagine the section is titled "Protecting the Choice to Send Your Child to a Private School." Of course your children can attend a private school. As long as a couple of teeny requirements are met:

a.You must already have a child enrolled in the school before the date this law takes effect.

b. The school cannot raise its tuition or change its curriculum.

c. After 5 years, the school's curriculum must meet all the requirements of the Education Benefits Advisory Committee (see page 30, explained next). All three of these requirements are waived for the children of the Executive and Legislative branch and for Sidwell Friends School.


Next, go to page 30, which details the establishment of a Health Benefits Advisory Committee.  In comprehensive education reform, this section would establish an Education Benefits Advisory Committee, which will be chaired by the Secretary of Education and will consist of, at the most, 26 members. (It's reassuring to know that among the 26 will be one practicing teacher or other education professional.) The Committee shall recommend education standards, taking in to account innovation in education and consider how such standards could reduce education disparities. Therefore, there will no longer be a need for an entity formerly known as the Local School Board. The Committee, working out of Washington DC, will set the standards for school curriculum, textbooks, teaching methods, etc. nationwide. If you like your local school's curriculum, you can keep it -- for a year. That's when the initial federal education standards are to be submitted to the Secretary.

Turn to
page 167. This section institutes a "tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage." Substituting education and parents for health and individuals produces a "tax on parents without acceptable education coverage": "In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent."  Get ready to pay dearly, homeschoolers! Luckily, this surtax won't be permanent. In a year, when the new federal education standards are adopted, (see page 30) you will no longer be allowed to teach your own kids at home.

Here's some bad news on the compensation front. On
page 253 in the healthcare bill, we discover that "IN GENERAL.-The Secretary shall establish a process to validate relative value units under the fee schedule under subsection (b)". So physician pay rates shall be determined in Washington, DC by the Secretary of HHS.  In education reform, teacher's salaries shall be set by the Secretary of Education. Cost of living higher in New York City than in Des Moines? Remember, this is Nationalized Education. Regional thinking is so 18th century. If we trust Washington to set CEO pay, then we can certainly trust them to set teachers' pay.

It is also time to establish outcomes-based education compensation. We find this gem on
page 335 of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.  In comprehensive education legislation, America's Affordable Education Choices Act of 2009, outcomes-based compensation would be applied to teachers. Let me offer the following scenario as an illustration. If a teacher has 20 students, and 18 pass the Education Benefits Advisory Committee's standardized test, the teacher shall not be compensated for those 2 failing students; in other words, the teacher will receive a 10% pay cut.  The teacher might reasonably counter that those two students did not study for the test.  That's unfortunate, but test results don't lie.

Compare this example to Obama's plan to withhold payment from a physician when his patient's diabetes is not effectively controlled.  Let's hypothesize that the physician spent thirty minutes teaching the patient about diet, exercise and his disease process, and that his office nurse sent the patient home with written instructions, samples of his oral hypoglycemic medication, a free glucose monitor and a month's worth of test strips, a schedule of classes with a diabetic educator and a follow-up appointment. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows it's not then the physician's fault if that diabetic's blood sugar in uncontrolled because he cannot walk past Dunkin Donuts.  It's also not the teacher's fault if a student makes bad choices. Then there is the patient or student who follows the teacher's or physician's instructions scrupulously, yet due to a learning disability or the severity of the disease, still has a bad outcome. It's why medicine is referred to as an art. Patients and students are not machines. To compensate a teacher or physician strictly "by the numbers" shows a stunning disconnect with how the world works.

Finally, on
page 425, we find the requirement for "Advance Care Planning Consultations." In education reform legislation, every five years there will be mandated an education planning consultation between the parent(s) and a government-approved educator. This consultation shall include "key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to." The government wants parents to be aware of which education options are most appropriate and cost-effective for the child and the community as a whole. Look, parents, it's just a little discussion. After all, we know that if the federal government didn't require it, none of you would bother to think about your child's education.

Only a few examples, but they illustrate the absurdity of this bill. Comprehensive education reform is unnecessary, unwanted, and frankly, just stupid. So is comprehensive health care reform.

I have substituted "education" for "health care" in this article. I would suggest our representatives try substituting other crucial functions like "buying groceries" or "travel" for "health care" when they read and study the health care legislation ... if they read and study the legislation.

Carol Peracchio is a registered nurse.
It's very difficult these days for healthcare providers to avoid the belief that Obama and the Democrats have them in the crosshairs.  Listening to Nancy Pelosi excoriate  insurance companies as villains and Barack Obama tell us that doctors perform unnecessary surgery only reinforces this sense of persecution.

Over the years the left wing has engaged in such outrageous demagoguery concerning the American healthcare system that hearing health insurance executives and doctors described as evil and greedy doesn't even rate a shrug from the public. There may be problems with the financing of healthcare. But the thousand page monstrosity known as "Comprehensive Health Care Reform" is not the solution


In order to make my point, I propose an illustration. What if it weren't health care that President Obama wanted to reform? What if he had decided it was the American education system that needed overhauling? What would this legislation do?

It's a fascinating exercise to go through the list of highlights in the House bill provided by
Family Security Matters and substitute "education" for "health care." 

Start with page 16, the famous "Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage."  Instead of (health insurance) "coverage," imagine the section is titled "Protecting the Choice to Send Your Child to a Private School." Of course your children can attend a private school. As long as a couple of teeny requirements are met:

a.You must already have a child enrolled in the school before the date this law takes effect.

b. The school cannot raise its tuition or change its curriculum.

c. After 5 years, the school's curriculum must meet all the requirements of the Education Benefits Advisory Committee (see page 30, explained next). All three of these requirements are waived for the children of the Executive and Legislative branch and for Sidwell Friends School.


Next, go to page 30, which details the establishment of a Health Benefits Advisory Committee.  In comprehensive education reform, this section would establish an Education Benefits Advisory Committee, which will be chaired by the Secretary of Education and will consist of, at the most, 26 members. (It's reassuring to know that among the 26 will be one practicing teacher or other education professional.) The Committee shall recommend education standards, taking in to account innovation in education and consider how such standards could reduce education disparities. Therefore, there will no longer be a need for an entity formerly known as the Local School Board. The Committee, working out of Washington DC, will set the standards for school curriculum, textbooks, teaching methods, etc. nationwide. If you like your local school's curriculum, you can keep it -- for a year. That's when the initial federal education standards are to be submitted to the Secretary.

Turn to
page 167. This section institutes a "tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage." Substituting education and parents for health and individuals produces a "tax on parents without acceptable education coverage": "In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent."  Get ready to pay dearly, homeschoolers! Luckily, this surtax won't be permanent. In a year, when the new federal education standards are adopted, (see page 30) you will no longer be allowed to teach your own kids at home.

Here's some bad news on the compensation front. On
page 253 in the healthcare bill, we discover that "IN GENERAL.-The Secretary shall establish a process to validate relative value units under the fee schedule under subsection (b)". So physician pay rates shall be determined in Washington, DC by the Secretary of HHS.  In education reform, teacher's salaries shall be set by the Secretary of Education. Cost of living higher in New York City than in Des Moines? Remember, this is Nationalized Education. Regional thinking is so 18th century. If we trust Washington to set CEO pay, then we can certainly trust them to set teachers' pay.

It is also time to establish outcomes-based education compensation. We find this gem on
page 335 of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.  In comprehensive education legislation, America's Affordable Education Choices Act of 2009, outcomes-based compensation would be applied to teachers. Let me offer the following scenario as an illustration. If a teacher has 20 students, and 18 pass the Education Benefits Advisory Committee's standardized test, the teacher shall not be compensated for those 2 failing students; in other words, the teacher will receive a 10% pay cut.  The teacher might reasonably counter that those two students did not study for the test.  That's unfortunate, but test results don't lie.

Compare this example to Obama's plan to withhold payment from a physician when his patient's diabetes is not effectively controlled.  Let's hypothesize that the physician spent thirty minutes teaching the patient about diet, exercise and his disease process, and that his office nurse sent the patient home with written instructions, samples of his oral hypoglycemic medication, a free glucose monitor and a month's worth of test strips, a schedule of classes with a diabetic educator and a follow-up appointment. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows it's not then the physician's fault if that diabetic's blood sugar in uncontrolled because he cannot walk past Dunkin Donuts.  It's also not the teacher's fault if a student makes bad choices. Then there is the patient or student who follows the teacher's or physician's instructions scrupulously, yet due to a learning disability or the severity of the disease, still has a bad outcome. It's why medicine is referred to as an art. Patients and students are not machines. To compensate a teacher or physician strictly "by the numbers" shows a stunning disconnect with how the world works.

Finally, on
page 425, we find the requirement for "Advance Care Planning Consultations." In education reform legislation, every five years there will be mandated an education planning consultation between the parent(s) and a government-approved educator. This consultation shall include "key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to." The government wants parents to be aware of which education options are most appropriate and cost-effective for the child and the community as a whole. Look, parents, it's just a little discussion. After all, we know that if the federal government didn't require it, none of you would bother to think about your child's education.

Only a few examples, but they illustrate the absurdity of this bill. Comprehensive education reform is unnecessary, unwanted, and frankly, just stupid. So is comprehensive health care reform.

I have substituted "education" for "health care" in this article. I would suggest our representatives try substituting other crucial functions like "buying groceries" or "travel" for "health care" when they read and study the health care legislation ... if they read and study the legislation.

Carol Peracchio is a registered nurse.