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cost-of-healthcareWhy is it that we the taxpayers are responsible for continuously bailing out the public school teachers health system with incessant injections of more and more tax money, while not holding school districts responsible for their end of the deal?

As is the case with so many government-run programs, no oversight means the program has been sliding into more and more financial trouble for years, while our Legislature has propped it up again and again without real reform.

With no one watching the store (so to speak), not only has not enough money has been contributed (by taxpayers), but not all teachers (certainly not enough) participated in the health plan.  School districts have not even been legally required to apply those funds to health plans.

Add in the fact that catastrophic limits were removed from the plans in August, 2010 but actuarial tables weren’t revised.  Since then, catastrophic cases have been paid from reserves, which are now gone.

It is rather easy to understand the mess we’re in today.

And, how about this: The most used plan is the “gold plan,” where taxpayers are still paying for teachers to have top benefits, without deductibles.  Who do you know that has subsidized health insurance with no deductibles?

We object to bailing out the teacher health system yet again.

It’s not politically correct to say it, but our legislators need to directly address the situation.  It’s time to change the program.

The cost of health care is escalating in a dramatic way.  Either “someone” pays more for health care, or we make a serious effort as a state and nation to bring health care costs under control.

To help manage the situation, we need more personal financial buy-in in the form of premiums, deductibles, and co-payments.  Tax-advantaged personal health savings accounts go a long way toward putting health care decisions back in the hands of the patients without overly involving third parties.

Under the Obamacare scenario, these are the only real choices we have.  Arkansas plainly cannot afford to just keep throwing more money at the situation.

Our Legislature instituted the private option under Obamacare to expand Medicaid in our state.  They say the exchanges are affordable and good enough health coverage for me.

We ask the Legislature, “Why aren’t the exchanges good enough for the teachers?”