Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Health care problems pile up for Jindal; Poverty is (darn) expensive; Americans divided about government’s role; and Special-ed changes flummox local leaders

Health care problems pile up for Jindal

Last week’s indictment of former Louisiana health secretary Bruce Greenstein is just the latest in a string of problems that are clouding Gov. Bobby Jindal’s reputation as a health-care expert, the AP’s Melinda Deslatte reports. There also are the continued questions surrounding the privatization of the state’s charity hospitals and the uproar over changes to the privatized state employee health plan, which come at a time when the governor is trying to market himself to a broader national audience as he prepares for a likely presidential run.

Not exactly the kind of stories Jindal will want retold in New Hampshire and Iowa and in his political speeches to Washington power-players.

Along similar lines, the Library Chronicles blog takes a helpful look back at the Office of Group Benefits mess, which has been three years in the making.


Poverty is (darn) expensive

Linda Tirado grew up middle class, then fell on hard times, and then wrote about the experience in an essay that has been turned into a book. She was interviewed by, and has some interesting thoughts about U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to consolidate existing anti-poverty programs into federal block grants while requiring recipients to draw up “life plans” for getting back to independence.

I think that Paul Ryan is studying extreme generational poverty, where people might need things like that. And [his ideas] might actually be helpful. I know people that that would be a helpful thing for. Is that the majority of the people that I know that are on assistance? Absolutely not. I mean, most of us have jobs. We already have jobs. The trouble is that the jobs don’t pay enough to pay our bills. That’s why we qualify for food stamps. The majority of people on food stamps work. The majority of people on welfare have jobs, so having us write a life plan about how we’re going to get a job is counterproductive and a waste of my time.


Americans divided about government’s role

Ever wonder why our politics seem so utterly divided these days? Maybe it’s because Americans themselves are evenly split on the proper role of government, according to a new Gallup survey. Roughly one-third of Americans believe government should take a more active role in improving people’s lives, while an equal number think government should stick to the absolute bare necessities and another one-third fall somewhere in the middle. The numbers are mostly unchanged since Gallup began asking the question in 2010.

This division is especially noteworthy because the government’s role in solving the nation’s problems has been arguably more salient in recent years during the housing crisis, financial crisis, economic recession, and passage of the Affordable Care Act.


Special-ed changes flummox local leaders

The state Department of Education is launching a series of webinars designed to educate local officials about changes to Louisiana’s special education system, which is designed to give special-ed students alternative paths to graduation. Will Sentell reports that many local officials have complained that there hasn’t been enough guidance from the state about the new law, which requires school districts to draw up individual plans for each special education student.

Critics contend that, under the previous rules,many special education students found it almost impossible to meet promotion and graduation requirements because they had to pass the same standardized tests as their peers. Under the new law, a special education student’s advisory team will have the authority to craft an alternate path to graduation, including new goals, an intensive instructional program and a course of study that prepares them for college, more training or a job.


Number of the Day

40 – Percentage of wealth held by the richest 10 percent of Americans – up from 25 percent in 1973 (Source: New York Times)