Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

School choice: let’s be honest enough to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day

original article: Guest column: School choice data doesn’t reflect classroom reality
October 11, 2017 by Robert C. Enlow

Louisiana has become a closely watched laboratory for school choice, and for good reason. The state has several ways families can choose: voucher programs, tax-credit scholarships, a tax credit and deduction program, alongside a system of traditional and charter schools.

The spotlight shone a little brighter recently when a study from the University of Arkansas and Tulane University showed a negative effect on first-year students using private school choice programs to access new schooling options. But by the third year, things had turned around for those students. Unfortunately, much of the attention focused only on the first-year decline. That is simply not fair, nor is it the way we have ever judged traditional public schools.

Adults have trouble adapting to a new routine at the gym, let alone a new job or a relocation. Imagine how a second-grader feels to walk into a new school, meet new teachers and make all new friends — potentially while learning a new set of rules and adapting to a new school culture. Indeed, kids need time to adjust to new school settings, and their future success can depend on the extent of their mobility.

The recent study shows students in private school choice programs actually make gains after that first- and second-year decline — and in some areas wind up ahead of their public school peers within three to four years. Students in Louisiana saw steep declines in both reading and math scores in the first year of the voucher program, a result that may be attributable to the short window students initially had to enroll and the limited number of private schools participating. After the first year, outcomes improved in both areas, with reading scores higher after the third year than when students began the program. The Louisiana Scholarship Program had significant positive effects on reading scores for the lowest-performing students.

Simply put, kids need time to adjust to new circumstances the same way grown-ups do. And interviews with school leaders and staff in other states have found private schools participating in choice programs also needed to make some adjustments to better serve the students who were coming from public schools. School choice programs enable students to leave a school that is not working for them and switch to a school they believe will be a better fit. We know from our original research that families choose for a variety of reasons, but chief among them are better academics, smaller classes, a safer environment and a focus on morals and values.

While private school parents report overwhelming satisfaction with their choices, that doesn’t lessen the literal and figurative learning curve for students who may be coming from district schools with large classes, lower academic standards or less emphasis on character development. They’re not only in a new school; it’s a completely new experience for them. Which brings up a final point as we look at this new Louisiana study and anticipate additional research on the effectiveness of choice programs: Supporters and opponents alike have become far too reliant on standardized test scores — often from only one, state-mandated test — to determine whether a type of school or choice program is successful. As choice programs go, Louisiana’s is one of the most restrictive in the nation when it comes to testing.

Yet when you ask families whether and why they are satisfied with their child’s K-12 experience, test scores are rarely among their top indicators of a quality school. Rather, they tend to focus on safety, class size and college acceptance rates. And there are studies that show choice programs have positive effects on high school graduation rates, college enrollment and persistence in college. As school choice continues to gain support, we must broaden the conversation about effectiveness to include more than scores, and we must seek access to more data that can help us determine not just how students are performing in math and reading, but what effect expanding educational options has on them beyond graduation.

We also must resist the temptation to jump on every short-term data finding as a symbol of the success or failure of a school choice program — or for that matter schools, teachers or students. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and humans don’t adjust to new situations overnight.

bias, education, ideology, innovation, reform, study

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Gun control advocate: blanket gun control not the answer

original article: Statistician Who Championed Stringent Gun Control Now Argues Against It After Studying Data
October 3, 2017 by HANK BERRIEN

Writing in The Washington Post, Leah Libresco, a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, the site run by famed statistician Nate Silver, admits that she reversed herself on gun control, evolving from blaming the NRA for gun deaths to realizing more stringent, blanket gun control was not an answer to gun deaths.

Libresco starts by confessing that before she started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate her, and she blamed the National Rifle Association for blocking the banning of assault weapons, restricting silencers, and shrinking magazine sizes.

Then she started analyzing data from the roughly 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and a light bulb went on. She writes that when she examined the evidence, “The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.”

Notably, Libresco dismisses the oft-stated myth that the tight gun laws in Britain and Australia had any relevance for America, as she writes, “Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans.”

Libresco continues, “When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an ‘assault weapon.’ It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.”

Libresco notes, “Silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer.”

Some more reality: “Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them.”

Segueing to the next-largest set of gun deaths, young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides, and the tertiary set, women killed (mostly as the result of domestic violence), Libresco decides, “Few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.”

Libresco writes, “I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. … I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions.”

Suggestions?

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

Libresco concludes: “We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.”

crisis, culture, government, gun rights, public policy, reform, science, tragedy
 

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More social justice math, it’s “discriminatory”

original article: Math is ‘unjust and grounded in discrimination,’ educators moan
August 23, 2017 by Toni Airaksinen

  • Two national organizations of math teachers are on a mission to prove that math education is “unjust and grounded in a legacy of institutional discrimination.”
  • In a joint statement, the groups complain that making students “master the basics” leads to “segregation and separation,” and call on math instructors to adopt a “social justice stance” in the classroom.

Two national mathematics organizations are on a mission to prove that math education is “unjust and grounded in a legacy of institutional discrimination.”

The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and TODOS: Mathematics for All “ratify social justice as a key priority in the access to, engagement with, and advancement in mathematics education for our country’s youth,” the groups declared last year in a joint statement, elaborating that “a social justice stance interrogates and challenges the roles power, privilege, and oppression play in the current unjust system of mathematics education—and in society as a whole.”

Next month, NCSM and TODOS, along with a few other membership societies for math teachers, will host a free webinar drawing upon the principals noted in their joint statement, inviting any interested members of the public to join in hearing “A Call for a Collective Action to Develop Awareness: Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics Education.”

[RELATED: Teachers learn to use math as Trojan horse for social justice]

The president of NCSM, Connie Schrock, is a math professor at Emporia State University, and multiple professors serve on the board of TODOS.

While the organizations hope that math can be used as a tool for social justice in the future, they also believe that math has historically perpetuated “segregation and separation,” asserting in their joint statement that “mathematics achievement, often measured by standardized tests, has been used as a gatekeeping tool to sort and rank students by race, class, and gender starting in elementary school.”

Citing the practice of “tracking,” in which pupils are sorted by academic ability into groups for certain classes, NCSM and TODOS argue that “historically, mathematics and the perceived ability to learn mathematics have been used to educate children into different societal roles such as leadership/ruling class and labor/working class leading to segregation and separation.”

[RELATED: Michigan colleges drops math, considers diversity course instead]

“In practice, children placed in ‘low’ groups experience mathematics as an isolating act consisting of fact-driven low cognitive demand tasks and an absence of mathematics discourse opportunities,” the statement contends, attributing the condition to “a pervasive misguided belief that students must ‘master the basics’ prior to engaging with complex problems [sic] solving.”

The groups also bemoan the “white and middle class” workforce of math teachers, fretting that it may not appropriately “reflect” the demographics of the communities in which they teach, such as immigrant or racial minority communities.

Social justice could be the key to solving these issues, they say, calling on math teachers to assume a “social justice stance” that “challenges the roles power, privilege, and oppression play in the current unjust system of mathematics.”

[RELATED: Prof finds ‘no evidence’ sexism is behind gender gap in STEM]

NCSM and TODOS even provided detailed strategies that math teachers can use to promote social justice, such as advocating for increased “recruitment and retention of math teachers from historically marginalized groups” and challenging “individual and societal beliefs underlying the deficit views about mathematics learning and children, with specific attention to race/ethnicity, class, gender, culture, and language.”

But social justice work is nothing without accountability, they warn, declaring that “we must hold the profession and our organizations accountable to making a just and equitable mathematics education a sustainable reality.”

Campus Reform reached out to NCSM and TODOS for more information. TODOS did not reply, and NCSM President Connie Schrock declined to schedule an interview.

bias, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, elitism, extremism, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform

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Trans revolution: Public schools are only the beginning

original article: The Trans Juggernaut Wants Your Kids, And Public Schools Are Just The Beginning
August 17, 2017 by Joy Pullmann

If you had argued pre-Obergefell that de-sexing marriage would lead to drag queens leading preschool storytime in public libraries and public schools hounded into hiding their mandatory sex ed curriculum from parents after a settlement requiring trans-friendly “education” starting in kindergarten, you would have been called an unhinged bigot. How could what two consenting adults do privately have any effect on whether five-year-olds are told they should consider cutting off their penises? Preposterous. Fear-mongering. Wild-eyed insanity.

Or not. Rod Dreher’s “Law of Merited Impossibility” strikes again: “It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it.” As I’ve written beforeObergefelland related caselaw, which are still developing, are turning out not to be aboutwhat consenting adults do privately. They are the spear tip of a wholesale shift in law that is already negatively affecting children, because at its heart is the principle that sexuality is genderless.

As theologian N.T. Wright pointed out to the Times of London last week, “Nature…tends to strike back, with the likely victims in this case being vulnerable and impressionable youngsters who, as confused adults, will pay the price for their elders’ fashionable fantasies.”

This is likely why the transgender movement is targeting the young: They are vulnerable and impressionable, prepuberty pose better as either sex and therefore look less terrifying than adult transgenders, and once locked into the trans body morph will never truly be able to escape. Devastated people are prime candidates for exploitation by their pretend advocates. Also, locking in trans-policies now is a way to preclude debate before more extensive data and personal experience can fuel the inevitable backlash.

Of course this is bad for kids, but it’s not about kids. They’re just pawns, as usual. It’s about politics. Pushing transgenderism not only destabilizes a key component of a child’s identity but also contributes to early sexualization that is linked with mental illness and risky behaviors. Early exposure to and lack of clear parental direction about sex is also linked with increased gender confusion, which is precisely what we’re seeing as clinics for cutting and pasting children’s hormones and body parts explode inside a media environment that glamorizes this form of child abuse.

Parents are facing fewer and fewer ways to protect their children from being used as guinea pigs inside an experiment constructed by unelected bureaucrats. Here we’ll discuss two recent examples: one specific and one more general.

You Can’t Know What We’re Teaching Your Kids About Sex

Kelsey Harkness recently reported on the brewing situation at a public charter school in Minnesota. Charters are public schools often created and run by a board of a coalition of local parents and community leaders. Everyone who attends has to choose to do so rather than be assigned to attend automatically through geographic attendance zones, like most public schools. They usually provide a safe haven for families looking for a sound alternative to traditional schools, which are on average of lower academic quality because they do not have to compete for students.

Saint Paul’s Nova Classical Academy is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the top Minnesota high school. But it has been transformed into a rainbow Trojan horse after Dave and Hannah Edwards sued Nova for not including pro-transgender materials starting in kindergarten to accommodate their five-year-old son, whom they claim is transgender. Parents began transferring their kindergarteners out of the child’s class when they came home saying things like, “Mom, I think you can choose if you want to be a boy or a girl,” according to interviews with The Daily Signal.

The little boy began wearing a female uniform and accessories, and classes began to include pro-trans picture books endorsing gender fluidity. This month’s settlement after 16 months of litigation requires the school to make all uniforms available to both sexes, pay LGBT organizations to “train staff” in politically correct behavior every three years, and “not adopt any gender policy that allows parents to opt out of requirements in the gender inclusion policy because of objections based on religion or conscience.” This lawyer and Federalist contributor, after reviewing the settlement, said it appears to ban the school from even notifying parents of its sex policies.

The circumstances are even more suspicious and shocking than a prohibition on telling parents what their children will be learning about human biology: Dave Edwards is an academic in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychology, whose pending PhD is being funded by a taxpayer-funded grant and who specializes in transgender education. As a school consultant and trainer on gender identity, he now personally profits from doing “training” of the kind his family’s settlement forces on Nova. Here’s from his website, GenderInclusiveSchools.com.

There are more curiosities in the family’s case. Edwards’ LinkedIn profile lists him as a “founding staff member of Venture Academy Charter School,” also in Saint Paul, a high-profile school funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which uses its deep pockets to seed “education reform” with far-left ideas and personnel. Edwards started his career in a heavily Gates-funded teaching fellowship known for its politically progressive staff.

Rather than enroll his son in the school Dave helped create, the Edwardses chose to apply for Nova at approximately the same timeDave stopped working at Venture Academyand began pursuing his doctorate with a focus on transgender school compliance. This was almost three years after the family decided the child was gender-fluid when he began emulating Beyonce’s dancing at two years old. In March 2016, after their son had attended Nova for seven months, the Edwardses withdrew him, but continued to press their lawsuit.

“The daily influence of this little boy, who very much looks like a girl, all the accessories … they’re really doing it up with him,” said a mother whose six-year-old was in kindergarten for those few months with the Edwardses’ son when he was five. Since lawsuit-induced policies have been adopted, Nova has lost a tenth of its students.

Nova Is Just a Tip of the Spear

Nova is a test case for what trans activists want to perpetuate nationwide — and not just in public schools, but also in private and home schools. An 8-year-old drag queen groomed by his parents says “If you want to be a drag queen and your parents don’t let you, you need new parents,” the underlying, totalitarian belief of the movement he represents. The easiest initial access point is private school choice programs, but activists are also targeting all private schools through accreditation bodies. The accreditation attack is currently most visible in higher education, but it’s spreading to K-12.

Since President Trump appointed school choice proponent Betsy DeVos as education secretary, Democrats have demanded to know why she supports giving parents freedom to choose their kids’s schools when so many hinterland bigots will choose schools that don’t let boys shower with girls or lie to developing minds about basic biology and its implications for their identity.

These questions led to a media divebomb this summer on a Christian school in Indiana that accepts voucher students and whose policies reflect the Ten Commandments’ prohibition against sexual immorality. Subsequently, Indiana outlets have begun investigating which in-state private schools are “anti-LGBT,” meaning require students to adhere to centuries-old prescriptions for chastity that apply to those of all sexual attractions.

Through reviews of publicly posted handbooks and phone calls, journalism nonprofit Chalkbeat Indiana found 27 “anti-LGBT” schools and created a comprehensive database of in-state private schools’ sexuality and admissions policies. Just in case, you know, rainbow protesters wanted to show up at a few, or know where to enroll their gender-dysphoric kindergarteners and then sue.

It also quoted a professor who says “allowing some schools to discriminate against LGBT students on the basis of religion is no different than racial discrimination.” You read that right. Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are morally equal to racists. It’s not surprising, then, that in this political environment about 80 percent of Indiana private schools keep their sex policies off the Internet and don’t return reporters’ phone calls to reveal them.

In Indiana, private schools must be accredited by either the state or one of seven private accreditors approved by the state board of education to accept students through one of the state’s two private choice programs. Chalkbeat, another Gates Foundation grant recipient, singled out the Association of Christian Schools International, an organization with 3,000 member schools, for offering a sample sexual ethics policy that repeats standard Christian teachings about the proper use of sexuality — within marriage between two opposite-sex people.

Discrimination Based on Behavior Is Not Like Racism

Chalkbeat referred to sex-specific policies and safeguards as “discrimination,” implying an equivocation between racial discrimination and behavior expectations. But race is an immutable fact, not a behavior. This is one of the reasons discrimination on its basis is so unjust. Yet we as a society discriminate based on behavior all the time, and we must to stay civilized, as well as to preserve our constitutionally guaranteed rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of association.

We sometimes treat the sexes distinctly, and create special, sometimes separate, environments for those who are emotionally troubled. There are sensible reasons for these that are not in the same ballpark as racism. The leftists harping on this topic are essentially demanding a religious litmus test — the adoption of the moral belief that every sexual practice must be affirmed — as a precondition for educating children. It is starting with public and private schools, but will eventually encompass “outliers” such as homeschoolers. None of us are safe unless we band together and stop this crazy train in its tracks.

A key problem is that Republican-led statehouses are the ones guarding school choice programs, and these same statehouses can barely muster the votes to protect children in public schools from being forced into unisex shower and sleeping quarters. Just two days ago Texas Speaker Joe Strauss torpedoed a special session that was set to consider both a bathroom bill and a school choice bill, and the state is in desperate need of both. Despite the lack of federal laws banning sexuality-based policies even when rational, such as in public showers and sports competitions, courts are already busy writing this religious (and antiscientific and inhumane) litmus test into existing sexual-privileges laws for women.

Chalkbeat put its recent set of articles on these topics under the heading “Choice for Some.” It’s an ironic slogan given that the logical end of their rhetoric is choice for none. Eradicating all social and ethical policies based on the distinctions between the sexes herds everyone into an Potemkin genderless society whether we consent to that arrangement or not. Some may feel that’s progress; others may call it totalitarianism.

anti-religion, bias, bigotry, children, corruption, culture, education, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, reform, relativism, scandal, tragedy

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Killing babies is not a necessary path to opportunity

original article: Hey, Planned Parenthood: Women don’t need abortion to be successful
Jun3 22, 2017 by Cassy Fiano

For abortion advocates, there’s a common argument that gets repeated quite frequently: women need abortion in order to succeed, to build careers, to get an education. Without abortion, women will be left behind, because an unexpected pregnancy will destroy any chance she has to be successful.

Planned Parenthood President and CEO Cecile Richards made this argument at the Forbes Women Summit. She first argued that one way Planned Parenthood gets people through their doors is because parents want their sons and daughters to have equal opportunities, saying, “We’re at this tipping point. Fathers want their daughters to have every opportunity their sons have. That’s a big cultural shift. That’s one way we bring folks in.”

She then continued on, saying it’s imperative for women to be able to choose when they have families if they’re going to be successful. “The fundamental ability for women to participate in the workforce is the ability to access healthcare and decide when they can have children,” she argued. “Today, women are half the workforce. If we want to grow this economy, you can’t do that leaving half the workforce behind.”

Considering that Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion corporation, the meaning behind that statement is obvious. Without access to abortion, Richards is claiming, women will be left behind in the workplace. But here’s the million-dollar question that Richards will never answer: how does abortion actually solve the problem?

Live Action President Lila Rose destroyed this argument, noting that instead of using abortion as a band-aid, we should demand better options for women, so they don’t have to choose between their careers or education, and their babies.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fliveaction%2Fvideos%2F10155371433139785%2F&show_text=1&width=560

Pregnancy is not a disease or a life-destroying plague. Women should not be told that their only options are to either kill their children, or give up their future. Women should not be left in such desperation that they think there is no other choice but abortion. It’s a sentiment advanced by Susan B. Anthony herself:

Guilty? Yes no matter what the motive, love of ease, or desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! Thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.

Abortion doesn’t solve a problem for women; it takes a woman in crisis and hands her violence and death, and then leaves her to handle the potential aftermath alone, unaided. Women who have abortions are at higher risk for numerous mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal behavior.

We should be demanding more for women. We should be arguing that women should not have to feel that their lives will be ruined by pregnancy, yet Cecile Richards offers no better alternative. Planned Parenthood, after all, does next to nothing to help pregnant women if they don’t want abortions. Richards refused to stop committing abortions and focus on health care instead, even if it risked Planned Parenthood’s half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding — because abortion is “vital” to Planned Parenthood’s mission.

So why should anyone trust Planned Parenthood? As long as women feel terrified, desperate, and trapped with no way out, they’ll continue seeking abortions — and abortions mean profit for Planned Parenthood. A world where women didn’t have to choose between their careers or their babies would be a world where Planned Parenthood is practically unnecessary.

There’s nothing feminist or empowering about abortion. And women don’t need abortion to be successful. What we need are better options, more support, and a society that embraces mothers and their children… not a society that urges mothers to kill their babies in exchange for a brighter future.

abortion, crisis, culture, ethics, pro-life, prolife, reform

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Transgender boy defeats girls, so much for empowering women

original article: Matt Walsh: Please, leftists, explain how this ‘transgender’ madness empowers women
June 6, 2017 by Matt Walsh

Tell me again, leftists, about your abounding concern for women. Please tell me about the need to empower young girls and provide them with opportunities. Please tell me all about your “pro-woman” stances and policies. Then, if you could, kindly explain how this story fits into all of that.

A mustachioed boy who “identifies as a girl” heroically won gold in the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash for the Connecticut high school girl’s state championships last week. His times would have placed him a full second behind last place in the boy’s competition, but against the girls he easily came in first. Aside from the general insanity of the situation, there are two particularly disturbing aspects of this story, and I’m hoping you can help us all see the positive in these:

First, the boy and his parents have demonstrated total disregard for the girls he disenfranchised in order to win. The boy, “Andraya,” gloated that he’s happy to have won but he “kind of expected it.” Gee, I wonder why?

His dad graciously conceded that fairness is irrelevant and all that matters is whether his son is happy. “In terms of the fairness aspect, I don’t think about that as a father. I only think about, is my [son] happy, healthy and able to participate in what [he] wants to do… [He] got to compete as a girl where [he] feels [he] should compete.” This is what you call terrible parenting.

His mother also waved her hand dismissively at the girls who were robbed of an opportunity to win a fair race. “I know they’ll say it is unfair and not right, but my counter to that is: Why not… [He] is competing and practicing and giving [his] all and performing and excelling based on [his] skills. Let that be enough. Let [him] do that, and be proud of that.” It should be “enough,” she says, that her son is happy and proud. That’s all that should matter to anyone. Please explain, leftists, how the parents and the boy have the right attitude here.

Second, the actual girls in the race have been so beaten into silence and submission that they were afraid to even voice their displeasure over the competition being blatantly rigged against them. Kate Hall, the student who came in second but really came in first, cried and confessed to being “frustrated,” but then added, “that’s just the way it is now.” “I can’t really say what I want to say, but there’s not much I can do about it,” she muttered dejectedly.

So, leftists, tell me how these girls have benefited from this fantasy that biological males can also be girls. Better yet, tell them. Go up to Kate Hall and explain to her that she has no right to be disappointed. Explain that, although Andraya has insurmountable biological advantages, it’s still fair that he compete against her because that’s what he wants. Explain that his desires and his feelings must always come before her own. Explain how the happiness of one biological male outweighs the happiness of every girl he raced against. Please, explain.

And then perhaps you should have a sit down with all of the girls across the country and let them know that the extinction of women’s sports is on the horizon. Please explain how this is all for their own good. After all, women cannot compete in women’s leagues if men are competing in women’s leagues. So, there will be no more women’s leagues. There will be men’s leagues and then cross dressing men’s leagues. I’m really hoping you can explain to my daughter and to all of our daughters how empowering it will be to witness the end of female athletic competition.

And, while you’re having this discussion, make sure you also explain how their silence and submission is, in this case, right and healthy. These girls are scared of speaking out and letting their feelings be known. They’re scared of saying they want their own leagues, and their own bathrooms, and their own identity. They’re scared of asserting their right to safety and privacy. But this is good, yes? Those bigots ought to be intimidated, right? They ought to just shut up and go along. Please tell them that. Please explain it. I don’t think they quite understand yet. Please, you pro-women folks, you women’s rights defenders, you protectors of female autonomy. Please come forward and lay it out clearly so everyone comprehends it. Say it just as it is, like this:

“No, girls, you don’t get your own bathrooms anymore. You don’t get your own leagues. You don’t get your own identity. Not if men want in. Shut up and let the man beat you. Let him take your gold medal. Let him disrobe in front of you. Let him do what he wants. You have no choice. The proclivities and fetishes of men must come first. The desire that you may have to retain and defend your own unique identity is transphobic. Shame on you. Your feelings are not legitimate.”

Put that on the banners at your women’s marches.

Make it your rallying cry.

Go ahead.

Please.

bias, bigotry, biology, discrimination, diversity, education, ethics, extremism, ideology, justice, left wing, liberalism, pandering, political correctness, progressive, public policy, reform, relativism, sex, sexism, tragedy, unintended consequences

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Oregon readies its death panels, starting with the mentally ill

original article: Oregon Senate Committee Passes Bill to Allow Starving Mentally Ill Patients to Death
June 6, 2017 by TEVEN ERTELT

Yesterday the Oregon Senate Rules Committee passed out Senate Bill 494 on a party-line vote. Touted as a “simple update” to Oregon’s current advance directive, this bill is designed to allow for the starving and dehydrating to death of patients with dementia or mental illness.

Senate Bill 494 is little more than the state colluding with the healthcare industry to save money on the backs of mentally ill and dementia patients. This bill would remove current safeguards in Oregon’s advance directive statute that protect conscious patients’ access to ordinary food and water when they no longer have the ability to make decisions about their own care.

“It’s appalling what the Senate Rules Committee just voted to do,” said Gayle Atteberry, Oregon Right to Life executive director.  “This bill, written in a deceiving manner, has as its goal to save money at the expense of starving and dehydrating dementia and mentally ill patients to death.”

“Oregon law currently has strong safeguards to protect patients who are no longer able to make decisions for themselves,” said Atteberry. “Nursing homes and other organizations dedicated to protecting vulnerable patients work hard to make sure patients receive the food and water they need.  Senate Bill 494, pushed hard by the insurance lobby, would take patient care a step backwards and decimate patient rights.”

“Oregon Right to Life is committed to fighting this terrible legislation every step of the way,” said Atteberry.  “We have already seen the outrage of countless Oregonians that the Legislature would consider putting them in danger.  We expect the grassroots response to only increase.”

SB 494 was amended in committee yesterday.  However, the amendments did not solve the fundamental problem with the bill.  To learn more about what SB 494 will do, please watch testimony made to the Rules Committee on behalf of Oregon Right to Life yesterday by clicking here.  SB 494 likely heads to a vote of the full State Senate in the coming weeks.

Three additional bills (SB 239, SB 708 and HB 3272) that also remove rights from vulnerable patients were introduced this session.

“There is a clear effort to move state policy away from protecting the rights of patients with dementia and mental illness and toward empowering surrogates to make life-ending decisions,” Atteberry said.

Senate Bill 494 makes many changes to advance directive law, eliminating definitions that can leave a patient’s directions left open to interpretation. SB 494 would also create a committee, appointed rather than elected, that can make future changes to the advance directive without approval from the Oregon Legislature. This could easily result in further erosion of patient rights.

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Academia is lost

original article: The Left is forcing Christians out of colleges. That’s actually good news for conservatives
May 10, 2017 by Robert Oscar Lopez

In the eighth chapter of the Book of John, Jesus Christ makes two statements in rapid succession. They encapsulate in a few phrases wisdom to cure many Christians of the anxieties that afflict the conservative movement. In 8:31, Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” A few lines later, Jesus adds, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.”

Academic Casualties

My Twitter feed has exploded in recent weeks, with plentiful panic about the pitiable state of free speech on college campuses. Big cases—big because they both worsen and reveal the deep structural wounds caused by the purge of Christian and conservative professors—played out this week: John McAdamsAnthony EsolenRebecca TuvelPaul McHughCarol SwainKeith Fink, and Paul Griffiths.

I know of other professors, and of people who know of still others, who are in similar purges but who have to stay silent because of confidentiality gags. Then you must account for all the adjuncts like Mary Grabar who never got tenure-track jobs, earlier exiles like John Zmirak who got out of the academy for better lives, and the many conservatives in grad school who sold their souls to liberals, ran out of the hallowed halls screaming, or were chased out by the usual mobs of screeching race hucksters, homofascists, feminazis, climate-change cabalists, and Marxophonies before they could get their doctorates.

When the dust settles on this sandstorm, there will be many, many, many, many academics on the list of casualties. Seven in one week are but the tip of a big iceberg untouched by global warming.

Okay, the Time to Stay Calm is Over, Conservatives!

We don’t know how many conservatives the liberal academy is surgically removing in what can no longer be denied or ignored for what it is—a concerted putsch. This is the big political story of our era: money, propaganda, conspiracies, corruption, fraud, sex, lies, and hidden bodies.

This is bigger than McCarthyism, and way more expensive. It has involved financial corruption, tuition-based price-gauging, nepotism, and conspiracy to use publicly funded charities (universities) to advance one political party and stifle dissent. Besides persecuting political opponents, academia has corrupted research, knowingly spread profligate falsehoods (especially about sex, gender, and race), and defrauded millions of college graduates who went into debt for an overpriced education that left them dysfunctional, unemployable, mentally unstable, and brainwashed.

We have witnessed a criminal transfer of wealth from hard-working poor and middle-class families to fund managers and university administrators swimming in a deluxe swamp of untaxed endowments that are not being used to advance the common good.

Save the Evidence-Because It’s Really Bad for the Left

The left perpetrated this and must be held accountable, not only through shaming and a thorough accounting for the history books, but also, through some kind of massive restitution. The liberal corruption of academia coincided with enormous increases in tuition and student debt (discussed in my book).

Some estimates of student loan debt range between one and two trillion dollars, but this does not count all the money funneled into university tax shelters, which are not being taxed, and all the payments to colleges for tuition, books, fees, and other expenses, in exchange for a faulty product people were forced to buy through false advertising and a crooked credentialing system. A massive part of the nation’s economy—and of countless families’ budgets—went into a black hole of waste, creating a drag on our country’s economic growth and productivity, which nobody has yet fully theorized. And the people who did this were insufferably smug and completely wrong about everything, on top of all that. (Who will do a study on this when all the economists are paid by or scared of universities?)

Several months ago, when I came out with a book on higher education called “Wackos Thugs & Perverts,” people thought the title was outrageous. Now, as Berkeley has seen three riots and three guest speakers blocked by politically correct outrages, the harsh title seems almost too gentle. Isn’t there something deeper going on?

Everything is getting worse every day. Remember when it was only conservatives who saw their freedom crushed and they were generally deemed deserving of such treatment? I remember. I remember when even conservative watchdogs thought lots of us who came forward with stories were just loonies because why else would so many people in the academy think we were crazy?

At last, some who caviled are now realizing what is afoot. The AAUP responded to my SOS calls in 2014 with unworried emails, saying there was no tenure or academic-freedom issue there. They had the usual routine down, which they use, presumably, when being forced to deal with a kook: “My job is to make you go away, here’s a cookie; this gentleman with the holstered Taser and a security badge will see you out the back way. Good afternoon, Sir.” Now the AAUP is actually starting to sweat (too late to help me, of course—I left that job.)

But Conservatives Need to Get Serious

We can’t get it twisted, though; large numbers of conservatives were either complicit with the racket or contributed to it by their own foolishness. In 2015, I remember trekking to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican lawmakers about academic freedom, with the explicit aim of alerting them to the Higher Education Act and provisions therein, which would enable them to intervene in persecution cases like mine.

After months of trying to get appointments, my friend and I arrived to be told no lawmakers could meet with us, but instead two charming twentysomethings would greet us in their dungarees and flats, with mugs of coffee and yellow legal pads, the pages of which I am sure did not survive five minutes after my departure. These were interns or clerks or something—I wasn’t quite sure.

They told me they were concerned and keeping watch over academic freedom, mostly by reading stories about Laura Kipnis. Prof. Kipnis was a liberal Northwestern professor who wrote a column defending the practice of professors sleeping with students, and alluding to an ongoing rape investigation with dismissive comments about the (unnamed) accusers. As a result of this, the individuals who had raised the rape charges filed a Title IX retaliation charge against Prof. Kipnis, which resulted in her being investigated for two months and then cleared of all charges. I asked the Hill interns, “are you aware of other cases, for instance conservatives opposed to homosexuality, where people were actually investigated for years and then lost their jobs?”

They replied something to the effect of, “I am sure such cases exist.”

My friend stepped in to say, “It would be a very sad thing if you guys diddled around talking about academic freedom while Dr. Lopez, who’s been under investigation for 9 months already, had to leave his job in California, and nothing got done about this. Think of all the others who will lose their jobs.”

The writing could not have been darker on the wall than it was on that day. But the Hill interns said I should email them with any updates (I did, with no response) and they would keep an eye on things and let the appropriate lawmakers know they met with me. My friend and I got phone calls with various staffers over the next year, with nothing other than repetitive references to the case of Laura Kipnis. “We sent a letter to Northwestern about Laura Kipnis’s case,” one told me. I responded, with growing unease, “great! She seems a great lady! But she was cleared of all charges and has a job. Do you think you might send a letter to my college?”

“We don’t want to make things worse,” they said.

“You need hearings!” I was screaming like a crazy person screaming, “soylent green is people!” My dean, who would be named the head of the Clinton Global Initiative on campus and got elected to be president of the National Council of Deans of Arts and Sciences (which is interesting since she is dean of neither arts nor sciences), methodically loaded up my personnel file with reprimand letters and procedural annoyances until at last I decided the only fate worse than losing tenure at Cal State Northridge would be having tenure at Cal State Northridge. But as I was on my way out, I had some consolation that finally Congress was going to hold hearings about academic freedom.

The “hearings”

Professor Robert George, distinguished with his grey locks and gleaming spectacles, appeared before Congress alongside a bunch of his students and a leftist who was told he could not hang up Bernie Sanders posters at Georgetown.

They spoke about the importance of free thought and exchange of ideas, etc., etc., etc., while I proceeded to pull out most of my hair screaming at the wall, “this is it? These are your hearings? These people aren’t about to be fired. When will we talk about defunding the colleges and subpoenaing all the creepy Medusa figures in the administration who keep landing millions of dollars in grants and harassing conservative Christians until they leave?”

Get ready for the death toll-but stop diddling

On many campuses that pushed out conservatives, the routine was frighteningly similar. Well aware of FIRE and other groups devoted to academic freedom, the administrators had learned, by a few years ago, that they could not attack conservatives by openly repudiating their conservatism. They either frame them for some unrelated procedural violation (falsifying files if they have to), or else drag them into a complicated investigation that they know will not survive an academic-freedom challenge, but will likely lead to the victim breaking a rule like confidentiality, notification, disclosure, or non-retaliation.

Because this was how the system worked and still works, countless people live now under investigation, facing certain ousters. They are hostages but we do not know where they are, since they are cowed by confidentiality rules, gag orders, and the observation that courts are siding with liberal oppressors.

Reality Check

If you want to save academic freedom, be aware of some hurtful truths.

First, conservatives dropped the ball. Nothing they’ve done worked and if they don’t try new approaches, this will become even worse.

Second, no painless strategy can fix this. You love homecoming, reunions, the football games, and the friends you made in college. You may have nostalgia for all you learned and the warm professors who guided you into adulthood. But those charms chain you to an oppressive system that threatens our democracy.

Universities are utterly hostile to your values and to God—even the vast majority of religious colleges. They got this bad because they rely on a steady stream of money that has never slowed or stopped, no matter how outraged the nation became. The only strategy that will work will be financial. The federal government must cease all public funding for colleges and universities, save for trade or vocational programs and seminaries (which are vocational). Our nation’s debt matches, roughly, the enormous amounts of cash that this corrupt system has funneled out of the functioning economy into their twisted Wonderland of emotional torture, sexual depravity, and fiscal recklessness.

People you love in the university system will experience pain if this system is to be fixed. Grants, backing of student loans, and tax exemptions on donations must all cease. Forget the conservative refrain of local and state control—the federal government got thoroughly entangled in all this and must take the lead. These are not non-profit charities so that loophole smacked of fraud from the beginning. In the case of most Catholic colleges, the non-profit status actually constituted charities fraud since the church has not yet reversed its stance on chastity yet these Catholic colleges not only fund homosexual social groups but even persecute people who defend Biblical sexuality on their own campuses.

Were such a strategy pursued, we would see massive job losses, the abolition of tenure, the closing of many struggling colleges, and cuts in pay. The wasteful and parasitic administrative class would have to go, causing painful unemployment to possibly millions of people who have made their living off the fat of this monstrous system. So many good people with good intentions would be hurt in the process. For that we must grieve.

But I left my job and quit tenure. It can be done. The universities and their workers brought this infernal crisis on themselves. They had adequate warnings and have no excuse for why they let the situation get this far.

Let go of “academic freedom”

Lastly, you must realize that this is not about academic freedom in the way we have discussed it thus far.

If you are truly conservative, your end goal is not a state of academic freedom, which would imply a situation in which all ideas are expressed and allowed on campus forums, and nobody is blocked from or suffers retaliation for their statements. Such a world would lack all discernment. It would be without virtue, without distinctions, constantly doubting its morals, and incapacitating the triumph of any position over others even in matters of grave importance. It would be demonic.

If you are conservative, and especially if you are Christian, what you seek is the Truth. The Truth is from God and exists as wisdom un-darkened by confusion and sinful thoughts. The Truth is not only what is, but what is right. With our imperfect minds, we cannot rush to decide what Truth is. We cannot censor competing views, except when we can show certainty. But academic freedom within such a system is a means to an end, a tool to build our monument to the Truth. In debates eventually we must acknowledge Truth where it lies, not remain uncommitted.

The left became horrendous because the left was wrong. Their prescriptions about improving race relations did not work because they were wrong. They were wrong about homosexuality and now we see the falsehoods of the LGBT movement growing more arrogant and multiplying as people who were celebrated for their errors now see further false affirmations as their entitlement, and Truth as an attack on their fragile sense of self.

The Truth is on our side. Now as we see all of higher education declare war on Truth, and on us because we championed it, we have nothing to lose. Do not hide behind caveats of academic freedom, as if all we want is to be given a chance to speak, a slush fund to bring Ann Coulter for a speech, a seat on a panel beside people peddling lies—that is not what we want. We want the left to stop lying. We want to proclaim the Truth so people see it, and stop listening to the left, and start listening to God. If this means that academia crashes and turns into ruins of a lost past, do not be mournful. Rejoice, for God has given us victory. Do not worry for tenure or being published somewhere prestigious or stuffing your resume with awards and grants. God gave you legs to walk and a tongue to shout His Word from the rooftops.

Academia is lost. We will never get our desks and library carrels back. Harvard will not ask us to speak what we know from behind a podium with a brilliant seal while the future leaders of America applause and smile. We have won our freedom. Enjoy it.

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The World Doesn’t Need the UN Population Fund

original article: The World Doesn’t Need the UN Population Fund
May 9, 2017 by SUSAN YOSHIHARA (The Stream)

When President Donald J. Trump cut U.S. funding to the U.N. Population Fund, abortion advocates howled. But Trump made the right call. The billion dollar-a-year agency has run out of reasons to exist, even by its own metrics.

The agency still relies on the same “overpopulation” gimmicks that justified its creation in 1969. In a 2011 media stunt in hot and crowded Manila, it “welcomed” the seven billionth human born. The world is indeed getting more crowded, but not with babies. Old people are expected to outnumber youth on the planet within sixty years.

From investment firms to national security analysists, experts agree: Many countries suffer not from overpopulation, but from a sharp decline in fertility. It took western countries a century to grow old. Developing nations are managing the feat in just one generation. Their ability to seize the promised “demographic dividend” is fading fast. The World Bank has identified a waning appetite for consumer goods in the geriatric West. They say today’s developing economies won’t be able to manufacture their way to economic growth like China did.

Demographers have been ringing the alarm bell for two decades. Yet the U.N. Population Fund has forged ahead with its mission to limit births.

A One Trick Pony

The Fund claims to help couples have the number of children they want. But the facts show the opposite. It does nothing to relieve infertility. It promotes education for women and girls, but does nothing to help women who want to have a large family. On the contrary. The UNFPA offers the same answer for every woman: Have fewer children.

Yes, the U.N. Population Fund has added to its portfolio to remain relevant. It opposes female genital mutilation, endorses maternal health, abhors the spread of HIV/AIDs, and promotes adolescent and women’s rights. But the U.N. already has agencies with these mandates, such as the World Health Organization, UNAIDs, UNICEF and U.N. Women.

Planned Parenthood said President Trump would “kill” thousands of women this year because they won’t get U.N.-funded contraception. But the Fund did not save a single life last year. Rather, it helped “avert” two thousand theoretical deaths in childbirth by providing contraception.

Hypocrisy

Even the U.N. Population Fund’s claim to the mantle of women’s rights is spurious. China’s abusive family planning program has persisted under its watch. Even Beijing has admitted it went too far. The Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission now allows for two children. But it still exacts punishment on couples who have one more. That includes the threat of forced abortions, loss of livelihoods and homes. And still the U.N. Population Fund defends its partnership with the Chinese agency.

When shell-shocked Nigerian families welcomed back their daughters abducted by Boko Haram, they found that the girls had suffered unspeakable abuse. What did UNFPA recommend? Abortion. For this, its executive director was rightly rebuffed. But the organization’s leadership can’t seem to help itself. They act as if ridding the world of unintended pregnancies and unwanted children will help solve every problem.

What the U.N. Population Fund won’t admit is that “unintended” and “unwanted” are social science constructs, not the sentiments of parents. Such terms often contradict what women really say. A woman may tell a researcher that her beloved child was never “unwanted.” The researcher, however, may code her child as “unwanted,” due to a survey question she answered years earlier about desired family size.

Women are quite capable of making up their own minds. The U.N. Population Fund, however, often doesn’t like what they decide. Hence much of its spending goes to “advocacy.” Translation: Trying to convince women they should stop at two children.

The fact is that ninety five percent of women in the developing world say they already know about family planning. They just don’t opt for the methods the U.N. recommends. This fact should have the U.N. Population Fund declaring victory, not wringing its hands about “lack of uptake.”

Defying still more facts, the UNFPA insists that lack of access to contraception is a global crisis. Just like the “crisis” of overpopulation, the agency stretches credulity to the breaking point. It claims 225 million women want, but cannot get, contraception. It even posted the myth on a massive Times Square billboard. Yet the Guttmacher Institute assures us that only four or five percent of those 225 million women say they don’t have access. The rest don’t want it. In other words, the global family planning market is already nearly saturated.

It’s time for the United States and its partners to shut down the U.N. Population Fund. Its billion-dollar budget should be used to solve real problems, not chase the ghosts of the 1960s.

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What happens when no one asks whether insurance is really a good way to deal with health care costs?

original article: How Obamacare Hurts Millions Of Americans By Robbing Peter To Pay For Paul
May 10, 2017 by Scott Ehrlich

In my prior article, I tried to outline the pre-existing condition issue. I concluded the amount of people potentially affected by this issue ranged somewhere between 500,000 and 1.9 million and, due to political reasons, it is much likelier to be on the lower end of that spectrum.

So for this article, I will use 1 million people as my number. Based on this data from Avalere, it’s a pretty sensible estimate, if you only count states that are solely Republican-run and therefore likely to seek a waiver.

This 1 million people are adults covered by the individual market, at the moment largely through the federal exchanges. People on group insurance are not affected by pre-existing conditions laws, as those plans do not do individual underwriting. People in government insurance such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Tri-Care are guaranteed issue upon meeting certain conditions. Children under 19 who aren’t covered by Medicaid are covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has no pre-existing condition exclusions. Futher, people in Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington have state laws that mandate guaranteed issue.

So our at-risk people are made up of the remaining 7 million or so people in the other 45 states who choose to self-insure, have pre-existing conditions that stop them from getting insurance, have states granted waivers under the American Health Care Act (AHCA, if it passes Congress in its current form), and have failed to keep continuous coverage.

Assuming your eyes glazed over a quarter of a way through that sentence, that shows just how many safety nets one has to fall through to be at risk of being denied coverage at the market rate, or any rate, for pre-existing conditions. Recall that just because someone has a pre-existing condition or is denied by an insurance company for one, doesn’t mean he will be denied by all. So that is why my numbers are lower than many others being reported.

Let’s Pin Down How Much These Folks’ Health Care Costs

So let’s go with that 1 million number, which is still a lot of people needing help. What can we do with them? That is the challenge. When enrolling a random assortment of 1 million Americans in a pool, theoretically about 27 percent could have some sort of ailment requiring immediate treatment. Depending on the mix of other people, it’s possible to make that pool actuarily sound.

But high-risk pools don’t work that way. In that pool, 100 percent of enrollees have pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it’s impossible to provide them insurance and keep a stable pool. You can’t insure someone for a condition he already has any more than you can insure a house that is already on fire or a car that has already crashed. There is no ability to pool risk.

So this group of people is very expensive to cover, as they are already sick and use a lot of health care. Average costs in the PCIP federal high-risk pool, the one the Affordable Care Act set up as a bridge to the exchanges, averaged more than $32,000 per enrollee per year. Based on those numbers, at 1 million enrollees, we’d be looking at more than $32 billion annually in costs for high-risk people. That $8 billion that got Rep. Fred Upton to vote yes on House Republicans’ Obamacare tweaks? That would cover only three months of expenses at full enrollment.

If the entire amount appropriated in AHCA were applied to pre-existing conditions, a whopping $123 billion, we’d only have enough to make it through four years if that cost were accurate.

Luckily, That Cost Is Likely Overstated

Reading deeper into the report, you find that, fortunately, it may not be. Not all people with pre-existing conditions are created equally: “4.4 percent of PCIP enrollees accounted for over 50 percent of claims paid, while approximately two-thirds of enrollees experienced $5,000 or less in claims paid over the same period.” So while Avalere used the $32,000 figure, it probably vastly overstates the cost of a program like this. That’s because the people most likely to have been enrolled in PCIP would be the sickest, who need the most care immediately.

Someone with early-stage diabetes with no side effects, like myself, who may currently be tough to insure may ignore a high-risk pool like this since it costs more than I spend on treatment, while someone with advanced cancer requiring frequent doctor visits, expensive medication, and consistent chemotherapy would seek something like this out. Therefore, if the pool of 115,000 enrollees in PCIP were expanded to the 1 million people who have pre-existing conditions but couldn’t be insured, we’d likely see many more costing about $5,000 per year than the ones costing $100,000 and up.

Therefore, I prefer the number $12,000 as the cost per additional enrollee. This uses the average benefit used by a person enrolled in Medicare based on the total benefits paid divided by the total people covered. Since these people are older, sicker, or disabled and have high health utilization, I think it makes a good proxy for the sort of person likely to seek a high-risk pool who would not have jumped at the opportunity to sign up for PCIP.

Adding 900,000 people at that cost to the 100,000 people at $32,000 in PCIP gives us a total annual cost of $14 billion. That means if people in these pools were to cover about 10 percent of their own health-care expenses, the money AHCA appropriates could cover the entire affected population of the high-risk pools for the entire 10-year budget window.

This Is Still a Lot of Money

So now we’ve seen the numbers. About a million people may need help. Pooling them with the healthy has real costs to a lot of people to help a few. But we have decided as a society that we can’t just let those few suffer. Yet helping pay for their care will be staggeringly expensive. Even in my example, with this smaller pool and smaller assumed costs, we would burn through the entire pool of $123 billion in a decade. These people will still need help at the end of that decade. How do we take care of our sick population into the 2030s without busting our budget?

That is why people argue we should keep the Affordable Care Act provisions regarding pre-existing conditions, which are community rating and guaranteed issue. The benefits are obvious, as they have been blasted all over the media. People getting operations they might not otherwise have had, seeing doctors they couldn’t otherwise see, getting care they wouldn’t have otherwise received. Who would be so heartless as to take that away?

This is a classic example of concentrated and observable risk and diffuse and hard to see benefits. Remember what has happened to premiums since ACA was implemented. All these people were not covered without a cost. That cost comes out of the pockets of everyone else in the exchanges. While much harder to see, and much less heart-wrenching in a soundbite or a video or a tweet, those costs did make a difference.

Adding a few hundred dollars a month to health premiums can mean the difference between eating terrible food and eating healthy, not working out and a gym membership, scrimping and stressing over every dollar and rationing essentials which adds mental and physical health costs, or a budget that more comfortably covers your fixed expenses.

More severely, higher premiums for lower-quality policies may mean that some people who may have formerly been able to afford some form of insurance now are going without, causing exactly the sort of problem ACA was supposed to fix. To act like the days, weeks, months, and years taken off the lives of some people due to the costs ACA imposes to help others is without consequence is sadly mistaken.

When Compassion Is Cruel

Those realities aren’t purely speculative, either. Rates are rising year over year. Even with rising subsidies, the plans get more expensive to both buyers and the taxpayers. And there is no sign these rising rates will abate, as more people for whom insurance has a marginal value will choose to go without, leaving a sicker pool, causing not only rates to rise but insurance companies to lose more and more money on these policies.

That leads to insurers dropping out of markets entirely. This is why doing it the “compassionate” way has not only costs for people whose rates will rise, but also costs for those this is supposed to help, as this adverse selection will result in many of them also having no insurance options. Guaranteed issue and community rating do very little good if no one is willing to sell policies because the cost risk is too high.

That is why, whichever way you lean politically, both the ACA and AHCA seem to be just a band-aid. Neither are sustainable, needing significant federal money pumped into them to survive. ACA will need it to subsidize the cost of policies to get healthy people to sign up while also subsidizing the losses insurance companies suffer in an effort to keep them on the exchanges when they don’t.

AHCA will need massive continued subsidies to fund high-risk pools, all as health-care gets more individualized and potentially more expensive. This is in addition to the increasing burden Medicare will put on state and federal budgets as baby boomers retire and live to a ripe old age, while higher birth rates among poorer Americans, in addition to ACA expansion, should cause a massive increase in Medicaid spending.

This is why any comprehensive health insurance reform is doomed to fail. Americans want great quality care at cheap prices that is abundantly available. At best, we can get two of those three. At worst, we get very expensive plans that provide very little real health care for the most vulnerable while making things worse for everyone else. That is why our efforts should focus on ways to provide better health care for everyone, increasing the size of the pie of good-quality, available health care rather than locking in the worst parts of our current system and merely fighting about who should pay for them.

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