Showing posts with label Bobby Jindal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobby Jindal. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE ABOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION

Promoting it as a health care and economic issue, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu pushed Tuesday for Louisiana voters to decide the fate of Medicaid expansion.

“The governor has clearly put his political future ahead of the future of the state of Louisiana,” said Landrieu, D-La. “Let the people decide what is fair, whether they want to expand and use over $16 billion” in federal funds.

“It’s kind of our last hope to let the people make the decision. It’s not too much to ask,” Landrieu said.
Bobby Jindal won't allow Medicaid expansion in the State of Louisiana, despite gaping holes in the state budget for health care, so will the Louisiana Legislature have the courage to let the people decide? The lawmakers who worry about any association with Obamacare can then wash their hands of responsibility and blame the expansion on the people of the state.
Landrieu said the proposition makes good economic sense. “In order to have a strong workforce, you need a healthy workforce,” she said. She said the state is rejecting $16 billion available “to strengthen the workforce.”

The Medicaid expansion also would bring 15,600 new health care-related jobs in 2016 and help sustain financially struggling rural hospitals, Landrieu said.
Governor Jindal chooses to put his personal ambitions for national office ahead of the nearly 250,000 citizens of Louisiana who need health insurance, so it's way past time for the legislators to do the job the people of the state elected them to do, for which they're paid salaries with our tax money, and let the people decide.

Louisiana has far too many laws embedded in the state constitution, but, in this instance, there is no way around Bobby Jindal's refusal to help the citizens of the state other than one more constitutional amendment.

Friday, March 14, 2014

BOBBY JINDAL - STILL NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT

Hours before heading to New Hampshire, Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Thursday that he is launching a federal political action committee.

Jindal’s press office ignored requests to speak to the governor about the creation of Stand Up to Washington. However, in an 18-minute interview with the national website Politico, Jindal said the PAC will focus on helping conservative candidates run for Congress.
The new PAC will only be used to support Republican candidates for governor and Congress and make friends and influence people in the event that Bobby, at sometime in the future, announces that he is running for president, which, despite his denials, he has actually been doing since the day he was elected governor of Louisiana.

Jindal rarely meets with local reporters, because they know too much, which is why Politico has the big "scoop".

One of Louisiana's own, the wise Stephanie Grace, writes about Jindal's non-announcement announcement in The Advocate.
Monday was particularly jam-packed. He started the day by publishing an op-ed in the National Review harshly critiquing Obama’s handling of the Crimea crisis. He ended with a taped interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on energy policy.

In between, he somehow found a few minutes to swing by the State Capitol, open the annual legislative session and outline the least ambitious agenda of his two terms.
....

Jindal may be going big nationally, but his days of grand ambition for Louisiana feel like a distant memory. Almost as distant as his old refrain that he has the job he wants.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

BOBBY JINDAL TWEETS


Only until the weak are born. If parents in Louisiana need help for the child after birth, well good luck with that. Gov. Jindal will not implement Medicaid Expansion, though it would not cost the state one cent for 9 years, and thereafter only 10% of the expenses of the programs.


The group that awarded Louisiana the "prize",  Americans United for Life, apparently does not follow up on the care given to the "weakest and most vulnerable among us" after they're born, or they would remind Gov. Jindal that babies, indeed all vulnerable human beings among us, need care throughout their lives after they're brought into the world.

At least one Louisiana state senator is trying to provide health insurance for low income people in Louisiana. 
State Sen. Ben Nevers said Tuesday that he would propose two constitutional amendments aimed at guaranteeing that low income Louisiana adults get basic health care coverage.

Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said he wants Louisiana voters to either authorize expansion of the state Medicaid program called for in the federal health care revamp or to provide health care coverage for residents whose income falls below the federal poverty level.
....

The Kaiser Commission estimates 242,000 Louisiana residents, who make too much for Medicaid but too little to purchase adequate insurance, would qualify for Medicaid coverage through the expansion. For an individual, 100 percent of the federal poverty level is $11,490. For a family of four, it’s $23,550. At 138 percent for an individual it’s $15,856 and family of four $32,499.

Nevers said people are ending up in hospital emergency rooms with serious illnesses because of lack of health care and that “cost all of us millions.”
There's no such thing as free emergency room care; someone pays.  I hope other legislators take note and support Sen. Nevers in his efforts to provide health insurance for those who cannot afford the premiums, since the governor refuses to address the problem.

And further, if you click the link, you will read about two success stories from people who were able to buy affordable health insurance through - Gasp! - the Affordable Health Care Act, aka Obamacare.
'Tierney Brinkman, a New Orleans server and bartender, said she went without insurance for 10 years. “It’s not that I didn’t want it. I had a pre-existing condition,” said Brinkman, explaining she had lumps in her breast and breast cancer in her family. She said either no company would insure her or the monthly premiums were “well beyond my means.” That 10 years without coverage was “terrifying,” she said.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, Brinkman said she now has a quality plan with a low deductible: $108 a month.
Despite the horror stories, the ACA is working as it should to provide health insurance for those who previously could not obtain coverage or who paid very high premiums because of preexisting conditions.  Insurance, any insurance, is about spreading the risk throughout a large number of people.  For the young and healthy who say they don't need health insurance, I remind them that even among their age group, even if only a small number, some will be diagnosed with a medical condition that requires expensive treatment.  Further, no one is able to predict an accidental injury that would require long-term medical treatment.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

DON'T WANT TO WAIT? PAY EXTRA TO A PRIVATE COMPANY

Heading to a state motor vehicles office to get your driver’s license? A legislative report suggests you might want to bring a book or Kindle device and expect a wait.

Wait times at locations for the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles have shot up to as much as 1½ hours in some places as Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration slashed staffing levels amid continuing state budget cuts, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office.

Here's the money quote.
OMV is rolling out a program that allows a public tag agent — a private business that processes vehicle title registrations — to also renew state driver’s licenses, for up to an extra $18 fee."
Reduce the number of state employees and, if citizens are annoyed by long waiting times, provide more convenient service by hiring a private, profit-making business, and make them pay extra for a service that the state should provide for all citizens in a timely manner. There you have it. Shrinking government and privatization in action. Thank you, Governor Jindal.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

JINDAL ON THE SUSPENSION OF PHIL ROBERTSON FROM "DUCK DYNASTY"

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) rushed to the defense of "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson after he was suspended from the reality show by A&E Wednesday for a series of remarks he made about gays and non-Christians in an interview with GQ Magazine.
....

“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with...."
Here's our governor with more mutterings that seemingly pass out of his lips before filtering through his Rhodes Scholar brain.

Please forgive me for never having heard of "Duck Dynasty" and not knowing who the hell Phil Robertson was before the brouhaha. When I say I seldom watch TV, I speak truth. Plus, few people exist who know less about pop culture and celebs than I do, but anyway here's our guv for ya.


Jindal appears to be reinforcing his anti-gay creds, because he plans to run for president and hopes for Tea Party support.  It seems to me that Jindal will say almost anything if it will gain him political advantage, but he may truly believe the words he spoke in defense of Robertson.  If the governor was smart, he'd know he has no chance of becoming president or vice-president, but he chooses to live in fantasy land.

Monday, December 9, 2013

MY LETTER TO GOV. BOBBY JINDAL ON THE MEDICAID EXPANSION


Dear Gov. Jindal,

Please change your mind and accept the Medicaid expansion that would provide health insurance for hundreds of thousands of citizens of Louisiana and which would also create much-needed jobs in the state. Whatever your ideological objections to the program, Louisiana stands to lose 1.566 billion dollars. That's billions lost to the state budget that is often in arrears and requires last minute cuts in programs and institutions that have already been cut to the bone.

Whatever may happen in nine years when the state has to pay 10% of the costs, you will be long gone from the scene, but citizens in Louisiana need health insurance right now. Without the Medicaid expansion, people in Louisiana will almost certainly die from treatable diseases and conditions because of the lack of health insurance, either because treatment was started too late, or because treatment was inadequate.

Whatever your intentions, on the surface it appears that you refuse the money for the sake of furthering your political ambitions on the national scene. Since you first assumed the office of governor in Louisiana, your extensive travels campaigning around the country for political purposes leave you little time in the state where you were elected. Isn't it time to pay attention to the needs of the people of the state?

You are a Catholic Christian, Gov. Jindal. Have you read the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church or listened to the words of Pope Francis about the poor and downtrodden? I simply cannot comprehend your decision not to accept the funds. A good many Republican governors have laid aside ideology and political ambitions and chosen to accept the Medicaid expansion for the sake of their poor and low income citizens. Why not you?

Sincerely,

June Butler

UPDATE FROM TPM:

Low income people want to obtain health insurance...
But in 25 states, that robust interest has a downside: Navigators are forced to tell more and more people that they probably won't be able to get covered because their states, all of which had a GOP-controlled legislative chamber or governor, have refused to expand Medicaid. Lynne Thorp, who is overseeing the University of South Florida's navigator program in that state, told TPM that about one in four people who contact her team fall into that Medicaid gap.

"Those are hardest phone calls because it doesn't make any sense to them," Thorp said. "We have to explain that they fall into this gap where this program can't assist them."
Shameful.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

LOUISIANA WILL LOSE OVER 1 BILLION BY REFUSING TO IMPLEMENT MEDICAID EXPANSION

States not expanding Medicaid under Obamacare will be collectively lose more than $35 billion in federal funds in 2022 alone, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.
....

The Commonwealth Fund further explained the study's methodology as follows:
Federal funds that pay for state Medicaid programs are raised through federal general revenue collection—taxes paid by residents in all states—whether or not they participate in the program. Therefore, taxpayers in states not participating in the Medicaid expansion will bear a share of the overall cost, without benefitting from the program. Glied and Ma estimated the net loss of federal funds to states that do not expand Medicaid by using projected federal Medicaid spending in each state and calculating the federal Medicaid-related taxes paid by each state.
According to Healthrender, Louisiana stands to lose 1.566 billion dollars.  That's billions lost to the state budget that is often in arrears and requires last minute cuts in programs and institutions that have already been cut to the bone.

Almost certainly people in Louisiana will die from treatable diseases and conditions because of the lack of health insurance, either because treatment was started too late, or because treatment was inadequate.

So far as I can make out, Jindal refuses the money for the sake of furthering his political ambitions on the national scene.  He has campaigned around the country since he first assumed the office of governor in Louisiana.  His extensive travels for political purposes leave him little time in the state which he governs so incompetently.  Even so, Jindal has managed to destroy or maim multiple institutions and programs that took decades to build and will require generations to recover if the people of Louisiana ever have the will to elect governors who will build up rather than destroy.    

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

WILL BOBBY JINDAL IMPLEMENT MEDICAID EXPANSION?

From blogger CenLamar: 
The Dumbest Decision in Contemporary Louisiana History

In less than thirty days, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will make a final decision on whether he wants to accept, according to a report published by his own Department of Health and Hospitals, as much as $25 billion from the federal government in order to guarantee and expand health care coverage for as many as 653,000 poor and working class Louisiana families and individuals.
....

"The fiscally, socially, ethically, and morally responsible thing to do would be to accept the Medicaid expansion dollars to which we are already entitled. The fiscally, socially, ethically, and morally responsible thing to do would be to champion and embrace the promise of lifting hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and fellow citizens out of despair and hopelessness, to provide them with the very basic opportunity to access affordable and quality health care. It is profoundly decent, but even more than that, it is also represents the single most important and transformative investment in Louisiana’s workforce in modern history."
What are the chances that Jindal will do the right thing?  Slim to none I'd say.  The governor wants to remain pure in the eyes of his Tea Party fans, and anything that involves a link with Obamacare would render him impure.  So what if hundreds of thousands of the poor and working class in Louisiana remain without health insurance?  The governor's ideology trumps health care.

A number of Republican governors have set aside ideology and implemented the Medicaid Expansion as a no-brainer because it will not cost the states a dime for nine years and then only 10% of the costs thereafter.   In addition, perhaps the governors may have been ashamed to so blatantly put their political ambitions above the welfare of the poor and low income people of their states.  Such a lack of compassion in a man who claims to be a Catholic Christian but chooses to ignore Roman Catholic social justice teachings about preferential treatment of the poor is puzzling to me.  Has he ever heard or read the words of Pope Francis?

How healthy are the people of Louisiana?  Are the citizens of the state so far above the rest of the country in good health that we do not need the Medicaid expansion?  Indeed not.  There we are in our usual place in the group of least-healthy states, tied for 49th place with three other states.

Click on the chart and map for larger views.

 


Monday, November 18, 2013

EXTREMIST REPUBLICAN LOSES ELECTION IN LOUISIANA

When Republican Rodney Alexander resigned from Congress a few months ago, there wasn’t any real doubt that his Louisiana district would remain in GOP hands. The only question was which Republican would replace him in Louisiana’s ruby-red 5th district.
State Sen. Neil Riser (R) looked like he’d win easily – he received endorsements from Alexander, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the NRA, and nearly all of Louisiana’s Republican congressional delegation. But then the votes were tallied in Saturday’s run-off election, and Vance McAllister (R), a first-time candidate, crushed Riser by nearly 20 points.
Take that Neil Riser, Bobby Jindal, and Eric Cantor!  Follow Gov. Jindal's advice and stop being the stupid party.   Of course, it's quite likely that none of you has any idea how to change direction.

As reported in the Times-Picayune, McAllister favored implementation of the Medicaid expansion section of Obamacare.  The expansion is a no-brainer for Louisiana. The federal program would cover about 400,000 low-income people who have no health insurance, and would not cost the state one cent for 9 years, when the state would assume only 10% of the cost. The good news is the extremist Republican didn't win.  Gov. Bobby Jindal's approval ratings were at 28% in August of this year, and McAllister's election confirms that many citizens in Louisiana do not approve of Jindal's extremist policies.  Keep in mind that the area in which McAllister was elected is conservative, but the extremist candidate was too much for the voters to swallow.
In fairness, it’s worth emphasizing that Rep.-elect McAllister didn’t exactly run as a progressive on health care – the Republican said he’d prefer to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But he nevertheless stuck to a fairly pragmatic line and told the far-right what it didn’t want to hear – repealing the entirety of the law is unrealistic and Medicaid expansion in Louisiana is a sensible move, even if Bobby Jindal pretends otherwise.
In this district, that was a risky move, and it led Riser and his allies to make the race a referendum over health care. And then McAllister won by about 20 points anyway.
National Republicans would be wise to take note. For many in the party, grunting “Obamacare bad!” is a sure-fire recipe for electoral success. Indeed, GOP leaders have started to think it’ll be easy – tie rival candidates to the controversial health care law, watch voters recoil, and wait for the landslide victories to commence.
Republicans may find that they have to dredge up other issues besides Obamacare if they want to win elections. Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!?  Also, Republicans out there who think Bobby Jindal's support is an asset might want to think again.  If Jindal and his friends and advisers still live in the fantasy world that sees him as having a chance of being nominated or elected to a national office, it's time for them to wake up and take their places in the real world.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

EDWIN EDWARDS ON LARRY KING NOW


Crusty old James Gill, whose columns I've read seemingly forever, and whom The Advocate managed to steal away from the New Orleans Times Picayune when Advance Publications decided to reduce the paper edition to only three days a week, writes about Edwin Edwards' appearance on Larry King Now.
Edwards told King that he has finally “found something good to use Republicans for — sleep with them.” He would have expressed that sentiment less politely in the days before a Republican became his third wife and mother of his infant son, Eli.

One Republican got no sympathy whatsoever in Edwards’ interview with King: “I don’t understand the man,” Edwards said of Gov. Bobby Jindal. “He’s sitting on a program which would provide immediate health benefits for 300,000 to 400,000 people in Louisiana, and he refuses to sign onto it. He’s a different sort of person.”
Former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, the crook, is indeed a better man than the fine, upstanding Catholic Christian Bobby Jindal, who denies health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Louisiana citizens to further his own political ambitions.  Edwards would never have refused to implement a program such as Medicaid Expansion which would provide health benefits to many low income people in the state.  With Edwards, I don't understand a man such as Bobby Jindal.

Has Bobby Jindal ever read one word of Roman Catholic social justice teachings?  Does Jindal pay any attention at all to Pope Francis' many statements about preferential treatment for the poor?  How could he and remain so focused on his own selfish political ambitions even as the people of Louisiana go wanting for decent health care?  Shame on you, Bobby Jindal.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

STILL THE STUPID PARTY

A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.
....

Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren't sure who to blame.
Republicans in Louisiana have not heeded Governor Jindal's advice to stop being the stupid party.  The poll results demonstrate a classic example of Louisiana Republicans' disregard for facts. Everything is Obama's fault.  Facts, dates, history, none of that matters. Unfortunately, it's not just Republicans in Louisiana who live in the unreality bubble.

People here and throughout the country cannot accept the fact that Obama is president, because he is black and because he is a Democrat, thus the birthers who blather endlessly about the invalidity of the president's birth certificate. Racism plays a large part in the disdain for Obama, but, if you observe the commentary about Hillary Clinton from certain quarters, you see it's not entirely about racism.

Indeed, Jindal himself has not followed his own good advice advice.  He spent $800,000 of state money trying to pass his program to eliminate state income taxes an impose a sales tax to replace the revenue which was wildly unpopular and went nowhere in the legislature.

The next debacle was the administration's attempt to fund private schools by using public school money, which prompted a lawsuit that cost the state who knows what amount of our tax money to defend the suit.  In the end, the Louisiana Supreme Court decided that the use of public school funds violated the Louisiana constitution, so Jindal had to scramble to find money that was already committed to pay tuition in private schools for low income families and return money to public schools.

And now the latest in the state's privatization of health care.
A private company that took over management of state behavioral health programs last year has not complied with contract terms, a state audit released Monday found.
The $354 million two-year contract with Magellan Health Services allows the state Department of Health and Hospitals to impose sanctions, but none have been, the Louisiana legislative auditor wrote.
The company doesn't pay claims in a timely manner.  A friend who is a psychologist told me that before he read the article, he know the company would be either Magellan or another company known for not paying claims on time.  Kathy Kleibert, head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says:
The program has been successful, she said, by allowing DHH to expand access to care for more people and provide better service. It allowed DHH to increase the number of providers from 800 to 1,700.
All well and good, but if the providers don't get paid, they will not continue to provide services.  Duh. 

I'm sorry for us, the citizens of Louisiana, that Jindal and his cohorts have failed us in so many areas of governance, which leads me to the governor's latest poll numbers from Public Policy Polling.  Only 28% of voters in Louisiana approve of Bobby Jindal's performance, while 59% disapprove.  Three years ago Jindal's approval rating was at 58%, with 34% of voters disapproving of his performance.  The governor's numbers are sinking like a stone.

UPDATE: For more on Jindal's polling numbers see CenLamar

Saturday, June 29, 2013

WHERE LOUISIANA'S VOUCHER MONEY GOES, OR IS OUR CHILDREN LEARNING?

Brilliant post by CenLamar exposing the lack of responsibility and oversight of the school voucher program, a pet project of Bobby Jindal and State Superintendent of Education, John White, part of a plan to destroy public education in Louisiana.
Yesterday, after more than a year of sustained criticism in the state, national, and even international media, Louisiana Superintendent John White (no relation) announced the Department of Education was banning the New Living Word School in Ruston, Louisiana from participating in the so-called Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program (the SSEEP), more commonly known as the school voucher program. Under the direction of Governor Bobby Jindal and the majority Republican state legislature, Superintendent White is responsible for rolling out and implementing the most expansive school voucher program in the nation’s history, a program that potentially qualifies as many as 56% of Louisiana students.
Read it all, and weep for the children of Louisiana.  Note especially the leaked email from White to "muddy up the narrative," rather than deal with the revelations about the inadequacies of New Living Word School long before now.

Since the Louisiana State Legislature is responsible for enabling this type of scam, I blame them for supinely bowing before the governor to pass legislation allowing the mad voucher scheme to go forward.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

THAT'S OUR BOBBY

Funding for the disabled and arts programs fell out of the $25 billion state spending plan Friday with the stroke of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s veto pen.

The governor deleted $4 million aimed at whittling down a waiting list for home-based services for the developmentally disabled. Parents of disabled children pleaded with legislators during the session to shorten the list. Some could wait 10 years before receiving services.
....

After issuing the vetoes, the governor flew to California for Republican National Committee meetings.

Jindal also stripped money for children’s clinics, family violence programs and an organization that helps the disabled become more independent through technological tools.
Do your dirty work and run, Guvna.  You don't want to be in Louisiana, anyway.  The trail of wreckage you leave behind is so ugly that maybe even you don't want to look.  What's next once your term is up?  Since you have your eyes on a prize on the national scene, why not now?  Is there a powerful Republican out there who will make you an offer you can't refuse right at this moment?  Not every governor completes her/his term.  Take Sarah Palin.  I'm sure a good many people in Alaska thought, "Take Sarah Palin.  Please!" 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

JINDAL'S TENURE LAW DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL - ON TO THE LOUISIANA SUPREME COURT

One of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature laws that makes it harder for teachers to earn and retain a form of job protection, called tenure, was declared unconstitutional Monday.

State District Judge R. Michael Caldwell, of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, who in December upheld the tenure part of a sweeping education law, reversed himself after hearing new arguments from both sides.

The ruling was a victory for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. The LFT filed the lawsuit and said that the 2012 measure would essentially end teacher tenure in Louisiana.

The decision also could throw a wrench into sweeping new teacher evaluations, which are under way in public schools for the first time.
Of course, Jindal will file an appeal, so we'll wait to see how the Louisiana Supreme Court rules.  I'm not against educational reform, but I don't want reform in the hands of Jindal and the present legislature. Apparently, they do not do not overly concern themselves with following laws already in the Louisiana Constitution when they write new legislation, and the experiment with vouchers to private schools is not going well.  Who advises the governor and the legislators on constitutional issues and apparently tells them what they want to hear, rather than what will pass the constitutional test?  I assume Jimmy Faircloth, the lawyer for the state who will lead the appeal, is one of the advisers.  Perhaps, if the advisers stepped into the real world and left behind the Republican fantasy world, they'd give wiser advice about legislation.  Ah, but then they might be dismissed from their positions by the governor, who brooks little or no dissent within his inner circle.
State Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite and an opponent of the tenure law, said Monday that, during House debate on the measure, he and other opponents warned that it was legally flawed but that Jindal and his legislative allies “ramrodded it through.”
Jindal is good at ramrodding legislation through.  His policy: Pass the legislation quickly before too many people have a chance to examine it closely and find the flaws.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

THE VAUNTED VOUCHERS, OR IS OUR CHILDREN LEARNING?

As Gov. Bobby Jindal tries again to fund his controversial school voucher program, new test scores indicate that many of the current students educated with public money in private schools are not thriving. Or at least they aren't yet.

Released Wednesday, LEAP scores for third- through eighth-graders show only 40 percent of voucher students scored at or above grade level this past spring. The state average for all students was 69 percent.
....

[Superintendent John] White said the 2013 scores for voucher students were low because of the large influx of students from failing schools.
That's right, Superintendent White, blame the public schools for the less than stellar results of the brilliant plan by you and Governor Jindal to improve education in Louisiana by privatization.  I'm not at all surprised at the results.  At least some of the voucher schools teach junk science and junk history.  What do you expect?  Roman Catholic schools do a creditable job of educating children, but it appears that a good many of the new "academies" that sprang into existence when vouchers became available to private schools are not the solution to poor performance by educational institutions in Louisiana.

Public schools have been struggling from cuts in funding from the state since Jindal took office in his first term, and, were it not for the Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that paying for vouchers from public school funds was unconstitutional, the schools would have suffered further as more and more voucher money was siphoned away from their budgets.  Keep in mind that private schools can weed out troublesome students and students with challenges, but public schools must accept all who apply.
Why not focus on improving public schools?
"Anytime you start something new, it's going to take some time to grow," White said. "Nearly two thirds of the kids taking tests in those schools had only been there six months."

And he pointed out that the state did take seven schools off the voucher list. "After a period of time we cannot tolerate failure," he said.
Come now, Mr White, no more excuses for the poor results in the private school voucher program that you and Governor Jindal esteem so highly; take responsibility for the consequences of your grand plan.  If the two had their way, the end result would be the gradual destruction of public school systems in the state, and what would replace them?  More "academies"?

According to the article, White did not actually take seven schools off the voucher list; he merely stopped them from accepting new voucher students, so, in my book, he is still tolerating failure.

Oh, and lets not forget the earlier glitch in the effort by Jindal and White to provide quality online education by private companies to the students of Louisiana. 

When will Jindal and White have gone far enough down the road of poor results to give them a grade of  F in educational reform?   

Friday, May 24, 2013

THE MIRACLE OF PRIVATIZATION

The total operating expense associated with the privatization of nine LSU hospitals will hit $1 billion during the new fiscal year, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said Thursday.

That’s more than is in the current year’s budget — $955 million — for the state to operate the charity hospitals.

And more than the $626 million Gov. Bobby Jindal proposed for private companies to operate the public hospitals in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Nichols said the administration would submit amendments to the state Senate Finance Committee to close the funding gap, recommending using some money from hospital leases as well as other state and local revenues.
Kristy Nicholls says that the state will benefit in the long run, but I'll hold my applause until a source outside the Jindal administration breaks down the figures. As you may or may not know, in Jindal's plan to ditch personal and business income taxes and make up the difference in sales taxes, the math did not compute. I'm not sure what method the administration uses, but the numbers don't always pan out as presented.  When Jindal realized that his tax plan was DOA in the Legislature, he withdrew the mess at the last minute.

Further on Medicaid expansion:
Even though governors and lawmakers in five Deep South states oppose a plan to cover more people through Medicaid under the health care overhaul, 62 percent of the people in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina support expanding the program, according to a new poll.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/05/21/4248364/public-in-deep-south-supports.html#storylink=cpy

The level of support for expanding Medicaid – the state and federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled – ranged from a low of 59 percent in Mississippi to a high of 65 percent in South Carolina, according to the poll by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a leading research and public policy think tank that focuses on African-Americans and other people of color.
....

But the five states in the poll, all led by Republican governors, have decided not to participate. Ironically, Mississippi and Louisiana rank dead last among all states in the overall health of their residents, according to America’s Health Ranking, an annual report by the United Health Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the insurer UnitedHealth Group.
There you have it.  The voice of the majority does not prevail, and many of the citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi will go without health insurance, because their governors are ideologues who do not put the welfare of the citizens first.  Of course, when the governor has national ambitions, he has to keep one eye on the Tea Party and the other on Grover Norquist, with no third eye to look at the hardships he inflicts on the residents of his own state.

Thanks to Ann for the link to the poll.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/05/21/4248364/public-in-deep-south-supports.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, May 17, 2013

FAST TALK BY FASTPATH, OR IS OUR CHILDREN LEARNING?

John C. White
Southwood High School junior Randall Gunn is a straight-A student.

So when the school’s principal saw his name come up as registering to retake several courses online, it immediately raised a red flag. Gunn was called into a counselor’s office and told he was enrolled in three Course Choice classes — all of which he already had passed standardized tests with exceptional scores.

“I had no clue what was going on,” Gunn said. “I have no reason to take these classes and still don’t know who signed me up.”

More than 1,100 Caddo and Webster students have signed up to participate in what some say are questionable Course Choice programs. According to parents, students, and Webster and Caddo education officials, FastPath Learning is signing up some students it shouldn’t — in many cases without parent or student knowledge.
Our whiz kid State Superintendent of Education, John C. White, touts the course on the state website.
“This all goes back to all of the education reforms that were passed within eight days during last year’s session. This is what you get,” state Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Dubberly, said of the apparent lack of oversight. “I’m not saying the idea was bad, but they are not doing it the way it should be done.”
Oops!  Oversight missing.   If you read the entire article at the Alexandria Town Talk, you will see that the tactics used by FastPath to sign up students are no more than flim-flammery on a scale which boggles the mind.  The Louisiana State Supreme Court ruled that public school funds cannot be used to pay for courses offered by private entities.  Last year, the purveyors of the courses were paid with funds taken from local public school districts, and apparently no definitive decision has yet been made by the Department of Education as to whether the company can continue to sign up students for the online courses with public school funds.
But that’s not the message Webster Parish education leaders are getting from Baton Rouge. Morris Busby, the district’s supervisor of secondary education, said he was “joyous, but cautiously joyous” with the court ruling. But the next day, he was still trying to get clarification from the state’s Course Choice counselors and got the impression state education officials are “bent on going ahead."
If they believe they can get away with it, Jindal and Co. appear determined to circumvent the court ruling against using public school funds to pay private entities of one kind or another to "educate" the children of Louisiana.

Excellent reporting by Vickie Welbord and Mary Nash-Wood at the Alexandria Town Talk.

H/T to Charles Pierce at Esquire.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

TRUE HEIR TO MARGARET THATCHER - BOBBY JINDAL

What she did do was redistribute the burden of taxation downward, cutting top income tax rates while raising consumption taxes, which fall most heavily on low incomes. Her downfall came with the poll tax, a drastically regressive tax — the same amount for everyone, regardless of income — that was too much even for her own party.

And what that means is that her truest heir in America is … Bobby Jindal, the not-so-whizzy whiz-kid governor of Louisiana, who proposed scrapping his state’s income tax and replacing it with sales taxes.
....

But strange to say, it’s not just Acela riders who hate this idea; so do the citizens of Louisiana, who disapprove by 63 to 27 percent. Jindal’s own approval has collapsed, so he’s having his own poll tax moment.
Bobby will be so proud.  Who knows but that Krugman's "tribute" might push Bobby's poll numbers up a bit?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"JINDAL SCRAPS TAX PLAN"

SOMETIMES WE WIN!

Gov. Bobby Jindal bowed to public sentiment Monday and shelved his plan to immediately eliminate income taxes and raise sales tax.

The governor admitted defeat on the first day of the legislative session during a speech to a joint gathering of the Louisiana House and Senate.

Jindal said he heard the complaints that he moved too fast and that his approach was not the best one.

House Democrats, religious leaders, public research groups, the business community and even the governor’s own accounting consultant found fault with his proposal to eliminate the state’s personal income and corporate taxes in favor of a higher state sales tax rate and a broadening of the sales tax base.

“Let me do something politicians don’t normally do,” Jindal said. “We’re going to adjust our course. We’re going to park our tax plan.”
Jindal's withdrawal of the plan demonstrates what citizens can accomplish by working together.  Hardly anyone except Jindal and his close advisers liked the tax plan, which was poorly crafted, with numbers that did not add up.   Perhaps Jindal and his inner circle have learned a lesson about opening up their planning process to outside advice, rather than operating in secrecy and holding plans close to the chest until the eleventh hour before the legislature convenes.  Still, Jindal and cohorts are crafty, so citizens must must remain vigilant and not let down the guard, for further nefarious schemes are likely to emerge.

The people of Louisiana have won only a reprieve from the negative consequences of Jindal's tax plan and are left with many problems still to be solved.  Political leaders in the state need to accept the reality of raising revenue to prevent further depredations on programs, institutions, and infrastructure than have already happened during the first term of the Jindal administration, but I doubt the will is there in either the governor or the legislature.  The repeated rounds of mid-year budget cuts because of faulty projections of revenue must be addressed to enable state programs and institutions to operate with a measure of stability.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

ON THE HOME FRONT IN LOUISIANA

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration quietly released a new financial analysis that estimates the state could save as much as $368 million over 10 years by expanding Louisiana’s Medicaid program under the federal health care law.

The analysis was posted on the state Department of Health and Hospitals’ website this week with no fanfare. The department hasn’t touted the findings, and they were mentioned only briefly — and with little detail — during a budget hearing in which lawmakers pushed for more information about the expansion and Jindal’s refusal to participate in it.
....

The new DHH estimates say Louisiana could save anywhere from $197 million to $368 million over 10 years while covering more than 577,000 additional people through Medicaid. The savings can be attributed to lessening existing state costs for providing health care to the uninsured, largely through the public hospital system.
Oops!  Note the quiet correction.  Let's not blow up this teensy-weensy mistake way out of proportion.  Now the only barrier to implementing the Medicaid expansion is the governor's ideology.
Jindal opposes the expansion as inappropriate growth of what he says is an inefficient government entitlement program.
And I'm sure the people in Louisiana who are denied health insurance coverage will understand perfectly that Jindal cannot violate his principles.  He and his family are comfortably covered, but the rest of the citizens in Louisiana, especially the families struggling on low wages, are not entitled to health insurance coverage from "an inefficient government entitlement program".   Damn those entitlements!

And about the governor's proposed tax plan to eliminate income taxes for individuals and businesses and replace the revenue with a sales tax, which will give Louisiana the highest sales taxes in the country:
The state’s largest business lobbying group warned Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday that his tax proposal is unacceptable to the business community.

Dan Juneau, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, blamed problems with the plan on the Jindal administration drawing up the proposal in a very short period of time, resulting in a simple shift in tax burden.

“There’s got to be winners and there’s got to be losers,” Juneau said. “The business community has become the designated loser.”
Oops again!  I welcome any and all allies to stop the stinking pile of compost aka known as Jindal's tax plan or anything like it from making its way into law.  Those who have the means and live within a reasonable distance of a bordering state will leave Louisiana to shop for goods and services.  Those who do not have transportation will suffer.  Of course, the governor says the poor will be exempt from sales taxes, but, as the demand for exemptions pile up, the math will not work, if it ever did.  (See above on the costs of the Medicaid expansion.)  The Jindal administration is not known for superior math skills.