Share This Episode
Carolina Journal Radio Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai Logo

Carolina Journal Radio No. 734: Blue Cross plans another double-digit Obamacare rate increase

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2017 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 734: Blue Cross plans another double-digit Obamacare rate increase

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 213 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

June 12, 2017 12:00 am

North Carolina’s largest health insurer wants to raise rates by 23 percent for policies tied to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, analyzes factors contributing to the rate increase. Restrepo also offers ideas about ways the state and federal government could change policies to help reduce health care costs. The threat of natural disasters often prompts calls for government action. People often pay less attention to market forces that help communities prepare for disasters and other emergencies. But Ben Foster, Ph.D. student in environmental sciences and engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill, has researched the role of market forces in addressing problems linked to a 2012 drought and the Mississippi River. Foster shares key findings from his research and discusses their application to other emergencies. Some N.C. lawmakers hope North Carolina can learn valuable lessons from Texas when it comes to improving teacher training. Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, discusses proposed legislation that would allow this state to follow the Lone Star State’s lead in pursuing alternatives to current teacher training programs. The Raise the Age initiative reached a significant milestone when the N.C. House voted, 104-8, to approve the idea. The legislation would treat nonviolent 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders as juveniles rather than adults. You’ll hear highlights from the House’s debate on the topic. The nation’s largest teachers union recently ranked North Carolina No. 43 in average per-student spending among the 50 states. Dr. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, explains why the National Education Association’s numbers are not necessarily accurate, appropriate, or meaningful.

Finishing Well
Hans Scheil
The Steve Noble Show
Steve Noble
What's Right What's Left
Pastor Ernie Sanders
Sekulow Radio Show
Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
Sekulow Radio Show
Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow

From Cherokee to current and the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most of public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio why Michiko got during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state. People often turn to government for answers when it comes to preparing for emergencies, will chat with a doctoral student at UNC who studied the important role markets can play in dealing with emergency conditions can North Carolina learn lessons from Texas when it comes to teacher training.

Some state lawmakers think the answer is yes, you learn why a proposal to change North Carolina law to treat 16 and 17-year-old criminal offenders as juveniles rather than adults is crossed. A major hurdle.

You'll hear an update and will learn why you should treat state-by-state rankings of public school spending with the degree of caution. Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline sticker shock ahead again for the fourth consecutive year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is proposing a double digit increase in premiums for policyholders who by their insurance on their own now through their employer. The big question is why Catherine Restrepo is the John Locke foundation's director of healthcare policy. She's been taking a look at this in writing about it.

She joins us now. Catherine welcome back. Thank you.

Blue Cross Blue Shield course the big boys in North Carolina before we get to the Y part of this story tell me how much are they requesting and who would be impacted yet.

Will Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

They requesting a 23% average premium increase for policies that will be sold to people who don't get health insurance through their employer. So this will happen likely in 2018. Are we talking about people who by the policy in the private market are we talking about an Obama care policyholders. Yes, these are Obama care, policyholders, meaning that they don't get insurance through their jobs, so they have to go out in the stake on, which is the website where they can compare plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield offers will Blue Cross Blue Shield is really the it's one of two insurance companies in the state that's participating in Obama care is exchange the other one is Satan on but they're only offering plans in five counties so it's it's really Blue Cross and Blue Shield and in seven consumers customers can go on to that website and and she's a plan when they have to purchase insurance on their own through the private market. So this is really another Obama care story and a bad one. Yes, it's not looking good about the why, why in the world for the fourth consecutive year. Such an incredible rate hike request yes and the big reason why were seeing these this 23% proposal. This increase proposal by Blue Cross is because they're factoring in that 23% in the case that on there's a pending lawsuit right now at the federal level and if if the trump administration decides to put an end to illegal subsidies that are currently being distributed on to these insurance companies that help certain policyholders. So if your policyholder in your making under if you're a family of three in your making under $50,000 you can qualify for what's called a cost-sharing subsidy, and these subsidies can lower your out-of-pocket costs or co-pays or deductibles.

So you get a heavily discounted health plan on and that there is this pending lawsuit.

Right now the federal level thing that these cost-sharing subsidies are illegal because Congress never appropriated them in the first place, though. But the federal government has been giving is yeah cost-sharing money to the insurance company yet. So in the meantime, this is been happening for the past since 2014, and so this this is why Blue Cross Blue Shield factoring that 23% increase because they're not sure whether the subsidies are going continue or not they requested this some request in and get this approved by a state agency. Yes, the Department of Insurance will have to prove the rate increases and for the past several years. These rate hikes have been going through.

Yes, you may have to because claims costs are outpacing premium revenue that insurance companies are bringing in from these policyholders, but was interesting is that the media briefing. I was held last week on this very issue that the, the director of actuarial pricing. Blue Cross Michelle said that it's been a couple of years they kind of have engaged in. They kind of have a sense of how to price things. There's more of it been more of a stable market began with this whole cost-sharing unknown uncertainty in Washington.

That's why they're baking in a 23% increase. They have all these policies that they've written through the Obama care exchange and you and I have talked to before. On this program about the fact that Obama care has these 10 essential benefits of these mandates that is an insurance company has to cover is that part of the reason that these premiums are so expensive now because a required to cover all's well hell yes all these regulations that insurance companies have to comply with that is what is driving the cost of these health insurance premiums.

I mean you have the subsidies on with or without subsidies.

If you that's the thing. If you have you do or don't have subsidies, but you still have regulations in place that drive the cost of premiums. People are still not going a lot of people are not going to be able to afford their health insurance.

Some are. If they qualify for subsidy, but some are and if they don't, and that's the big problem Catherine I thought was really interesting and some of your analysis.

Your writing on this rate down hike request and you said this that dumb policyholders will be exposed to the true cost of Obama care if these subsidy SR are deemed illegal, and they're not around anymore. I thought that was a great statement because on the one hand, that seems like a bad thing because this can be very very costly. On the other hand, perhaps it's a good thing.

The people are exposed to the real cost because people are going to see well this this is what Obama care actually costs when you have all these regulations in place and subsidies not to fill the void for certain people so they can afford these plans don't have subsidies coming your way like this is the actual cost of Obama care, so this can prompt Congress to hopefully do something about this on. Technically they could. Congress could rewrite the law and say that these cost-sharing subsidies are legal but that doesn't fix the whole entire problem of why healthcare is so expensive, and, and these costs are just increasing increasing even before Obama care.

They are increasing out of control.

So what the good news about this is that will maybe nine. Time is running out for the 2018 elections coming up for for Congress to do some meaningful healthcare reform, but it prompts them to maybe act quicker on on on passing meaningful health reform where people can afford healthcare whether they not. They don't have insurance so right now Obama care is the law of the land and in Congress is involved in proposing to change it.

Some people are still saying no. You must repeal it. Other people are saying it's impossible because it's so complex and involves so many different laws and taxes and subsidies and things like that. So what should we do, let's let's say for example, we gotta live with that.

You said a moment ago you the healthcare system was in trouble before Obama care moving forward. What would you suggest that we have to do. What are the important principles for the first thing in the most important thing is price transparency. There is no price there is very minimal price transparency in healthcare and if you have price transparency that puts consumers back in charge really over there healthcare dollars that they're gonna spend because it's gonna force suppliers of healthcare doctors, insurance companies, to want to cater to the needs and the preferences of patients. If there is more price transparency may not how any other market works, except for healthcare clean had that big middleman insurance company and then you have these growing growing government programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and adjust people are shielded from the actual cost of care to admit, I'm one of those folks, I have no idea what the Travelocity is when I go in for a physical goal or go and if I've got a cold and need some antibiotics were yelling like then I don't either. Yeah, and that's a serious problem below, then we aren't making buying decisions like we would make about other thing absolutely save the patient is in control until they're in charge of you really putting signals out there to the market and how the market can respond to to deliver affordable healthcare services to them. Then nothing significant really can change with the healthcare system at Catherine I know you've also been writing about kind of a technological innovation in a different way that some doctors are choosing to operate outside the insurance system nondirect primary care gives a real quick description of exactly what that is shareable drug primary care that's probably one of the loan areas in healthcare where it is completely price transparent. Other talk about price transparency, but really it's like a healthcare gym membership in exchange for this monthly fee can be $50, $75, depending on your age, you have unlimited access to your primary care physician you can schedule same-day appointments wholesale prices for labs and meds. It's very affordable for people who are struggling to afford their health insurance premiums. Catherine Restrepo is the director of healthcare policy for the John Locke foundation read all of her work. John 1.1 90 Catherine thank you say with this much more Carolina journal radio in just a moment government plays a key role in your life affecting your paycheck will you educate your kids the way you do business. How can you tell if government is doing a good job making the right choices. Spending tax dollars wisely. Carolina tackles those questions every day. The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina journal imprint each month and on the web each you'll find exclusive investigative reports on topics. No one else is covering what else a rundown of the best new stories, editorials and opinion columns in North Carolina.

John Hood's daily Journal news stories and important public and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina journal radio and print on the air and on the web. You can find the information you will go back to Carolina journal radio why Michiko got you might've heard concerns about the risks associated with extreme weather. Those who have concerns about those risks want to take steps to adapt what sorts of steps should we take one next guest has some interesting thoughts on that topic. Ben Foster is a PhD student in environmental sciences and engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will to the program so we think about meditation, and specifically talking about the climatic changes you often think of physical infrastructure. Things like seawalls levees, dams, big infrastructure projects what you're talking about different type of adaptation involving financial markets and so first of all, before we get into how financial markets might help tells what we talked about right. So these infrastructure products have long been used to manage variability in environmental conditions. To the extent to which that variability results in financial risk and variability in financial conditions. We've got a variety of other tools available to us to manage that. So in some cases that's very commonly traded financial risk management tools things Medford of futures contracts.

Other derivative contracts options so the extent to which environmental risks present themselves as standard economic risks. Those tools actually turn out to be pretty good instruments, and other cases, normal risks are quite specific, so we consume the last decade or so a lot of innovations producing for specific tools to address those risks. Things like catastrophe bonds environmentally indexed insurance of an insurance product that pays out on an environmental variable so threshold is crossed. Water levels are low treatment and so we looked at a variety of views and found some evidence of these things are occurring in increasingly valuable as we adapt to these new environmental risks so people are hearing us in their already say go the cells glove theory. I'm hearing some jargon. Your study goes beyond just the theory of this and how it might work if you actually look at something that took place five years ago or so involving the recent drought tell us what you looked into what you about right. So we look to the Mississippi River.

The drought of 2012, which was quite a bit of benefit was estimated to cost from $32 billion in some total specifically were interested in understanding how people responded to issues of barge operations. As the drought lowered the water levels on the Mississippi River. We saw a disruption in barge transportation was quite a valuable transportation resource in particular for low volume to value goods like agricultural goods, and so we looked at core markets and how they reacted to produce external changes in environmental conditions and work to try to reduce their exposure to manage their bad financial outcomes that they were subjected and did you find that there really was a positive impact that these financial tools did make a difference to be found quite a bit of evidence that the financial are the core marketers have adapted their marketing strategies pretty rapidly in the face of these changes which were happening over time and space and there were varying quite a bit and we saw pretty nimble market reactions, in terms of marketing strategies. We held corn apart on the river. We didn't force it down high cost to export markets, and sold it into domestic markets that had the benefit of tampering prices in these domestic markets that we also saw some evidence in the risk management products. The forward contracts in the prices of those you can see this response to the environmental conditions which is evidence suggesting that these tools were were usefully applied to manage risk environmental risks and this was the market working.

This was not the government saying you should do this or do that right and there are a lot of distortions write an article from markets even on the river. We have a lot of emergency dredging activity which is working to try to keep the river open for barge operators. So I think the fact that we still saw these price signals that indicated these pretty sophisticated responses is pretty good evidence that a lot of this risk management activity is already happening that's going on that could change the calculus when we start to look at new infrastructure projects with which we do about perhaps increasing risks and incidents of these events. That is the voice of Ben Foster. He is a PhD student in environmental sciences and engineering at UNC Chapel Hill. We should mention that the this information is also taken from a reported article that you written about this impact on the drought in 2012 along the Mississippi River. These financial types of adaptations work either. More effectively more easily more efficiently than making these big investments in infrastructure changes so it's it's difficult for me to say something definitive about that. There are different characteristics of financial annotations and physical adaptations that have implications for the future in which were were uncertain what environmental conditions are to look like so and for structural decisions are quite long term there often fifty-year decisions in their design based on some expectation about the future if you're uncertain about that expectation is a big risk of over under design of these products.

The argument on the financial side is that we have prices which can adapt very quickly to changing environments and so those prices and signals that allow market actors to reorganize themselves to take hedging action risk management action in order to reduce or how they're impacted, so that flexibility could be quite valuable in a world in which were facing a more uncertain futures that sounds like you're not saying don't make these infrastructure investments. Just know that you have these other options out there that are part of the market and government doesn't really need to do a thing about right. I think the implication there is that there's a lot of capacity.

Core markets have particular characteristics of perhaps lend them to being pretty flexible. We can store corn and do other things but there's capacity and quite a few these markets to manage these risks by themselves and perhaps we need to think about the incentives that investment in infrastructure sending overinvestment perhaps is tamping down in an incentive to innovate in these financial areas but were seeing it happen anyways and perhaps it'll happen more in the future is likely based on what you have researched and what you know what theory suggests that will need some other either expanded or new types of financial innovations moving forward with this uncertain future that you talk about I think will see them.

I think were the reality is we are vulnerable to variable environmental conditions, whether that variability increases are not in the future, and so we can see a long history of managing this variability with variety of in a variety ways including infrastructure and and recently were saying the entrance of these specific financial risk management tools that those risks are also environmental variability. Environmental risks are also related to things that have nothing to do with climate there to do with population change in land use change on so the extent to which all of this is is happening were interfaces risks, no matter what and so I think there is increasing competition for environmental resources and there's going to be pressures to innovate and develop new financial tools to manage these risks will certainly very interesting information. We know that this is something that the people are going to be watching out for in the future as we deal with this uncertainty about not only the climate but other potential extreme weather risks.

One person who I'm certain will be watching it very closely because he has so far is Ben Foster PhD student in environmental sciences and engineering at the University of North Carolina. Thanks much for doing this on Carolina journal radio just are you looking to make North Carolina more free the John Mott foundation is in here are three things you can do today to help us make it happen. First, know the facts visit John Mott data work for data analysis, interviews, and more and read Carolina to learn what government is doing with your money. Second, influence the debate invest in the John Mott foundation's work with a tax-deductible donation you can get it done in and third make North Carolina more free by sharing the message of freedom. It's easy when you visit John Click on shareable's download past messages of freedom to your friends, print the messages and mail them, or if your savvy computer user share the message of freedom on Facebook and Twitter know the facts influence the debate and share the message three things you can do today to help us make North Carolina more free. Get started North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute, 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John lock foundation and Carolina journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John lock foundation like Carolina.

Journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else.

Thanks to the experts at the John Locke foundation and thanks to the first-class investigative reporting of Carolina journal. Don't wait for the morning newspaper.

Don't wait for the evening news if it's happening now it's happening here the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal. Have you covered with up to the second information like us on Facebook the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal did you know you can now advance freedom and free markets just by shopping with Amazon it's true online shopping is now a great way to support the John Locke foundation just shot using the Amazon smile program and designate as the want foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop and Amazon donates money to us.

The John Locke foundation. So here's how it works. Log on to Amazon smile. It's the same Amazon you know same products same prices is much better. Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible purchases to pass the John Locke foundation to try to be sure to designate the Locke foundation is a nonprofit, you want to support. It's that easy. So now not only will you enjoy what you buy will also support freedom. Don't forget log on to today by something nice and help defend freedom. Support the John Locke foundation will be back Carolina journal radio and coca. Some lawmakers want to rewrite the rules for training teachers in North Carolina. They're looking to another state for ideas. Republican State Sen. Chad barefoot explains Texas produces the most teachers. So we went to look at their model. So what are they doing that is different from us and what we fail and we really want and that's really what in many ways is before you today are some of those some of those principles that are really allowed for teacher preparation to flourish in Texas were, bringing some of those models here. How could North Carolina emulate Texas. There is a fundamental change in North Carolina. We used to just say only institutions of higher education can be can prepare teachers for the workforce will free of those been in the general assembly for while there are a lot of people coming to us asking how can we prepare teachers now can we prepare teachers think specifically of a pilot program. We started last year where the largest school districts in the state came to us and asked if they could do a pilot program for alternative pathways that is modeled off the one in Guilford County that is been very successful to putting teachers in the classroom there and we said yes there are other groups out there that been very successful teachers for tomorrow. Western Governors and support what we wanted to do here is rather than have a bunch of convoluted statutes that where we just started making exceptions to try to keep up with the world. We decided to create a system that the expands, the opportunity for people who can prepare teachers but holds them holds the preparers to a very high standard.

Barefoot also wants to change the way North Carolina accepts so-called lateral entry teachers from other professions since been down here.

People have grown to complained about our lateral entry system for lots of different reasons and one of them in particular is the quality of teachers how their deployed within the within the public schools and in many ways I would argue to you that we set those teachers up to fail. Replacing lateral entry with what's called a residency model and this is also similar to Texas. It's also thing that would be considered a best practice, they have to have 30 hours of field experience and 150 hours of coursework they have to have some type of training from that local school district in pedagogy, best practices before they can actually start teaching, and that classroom that's Republican State Sen. Chad barefoot he's explaining his proposal to change the rules for training North Carolina public school teachers will return with more Carolina journal radio.

Are you tired of fake news. Well you won't find it here at Carolina Journal. We don't make things up and we don't presume or assign motives. There's no simpler way to put it then that were proud to say that honest, factual, rigorous journalism is the Carolina journal way our reporting team is focused on accountability in government and policymaking.

No matter which political party is in power, and regardless of the person taken to task in the story, Carolina journal were beholden to the truth and to transparency. Unlike fake news lies, innuendo, questionable sourcing all meant to create controversy not inform the debate. So the next time you're confronted with fake news one onto Carolina or pick up the latest print edition you'll find compelling news reporting from a team that knows what it means to be real journalists committed to truth Carolina journal. You can count on us for the facts. Look back Carolina journal radio amateur coca North Carolina House of Representatives has endorsed the idea of treating most 16 and 17-year-old criminal offenders as juveniles not adults. Republican state representative Chuck McGrady touted the so-called raise the age bill on the house for the warm coalition of groups including some groups that in the past have proposed legislation. You know you don't see foundation joined the Sheriff's Association groups and organizations. Why is there such broad support safer. Although some sending teams to the adult system more accountable so believe is true no more than on supervised probation in adult court. Those same charges receive more significant consequences in the general system steps designed location.

Study after study shows is lower when things are system system confirms this establishing process versus criminal system when other state dropped Democrat Wayne Hall is another primary sponsor of the raise the age bill, a 16-year-old in the states all around Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina can still a $12 approach and have no effective is the first youthful mistake on their ability to get into college to get loans to get into the military to North Carolina to do the same thing have a permanent adult conviction, while the raise the age bill had widespread support in the statehouse opponents raised clear objections. One was Republican Larry Pittman.

I was told that shoplifting. For instance, is not even classified as a felony if the value is less than $200 that's appalling $200 may not sound like much to some people but it is quite a lot of people my economic level. I hear people say just made a mistake or 2+2 = 5 is a mistake except under common core math theft is a crime is not aquatic traffic violations by 16 to 17-year-olds that is because we expect a certain level of maturity and personal responsibility from persons to whom we allow the potentially dangerous privilege of driving on our roads healthy and justified, not expecting that same group of people to know better than to commit crimes at 70-year-olds half their age should know better than to do is on when I was even younger and you probably due to water, try to protect our citizens and defend their rights to do that by going soft on crime. One of those rights is the right not to be robbed, but also objected to one of the key arguments in favor of raise the age.

The fact that North Carolina is the only state that treats all 16 and 17-year-old offenders as adults simply North Carolina needs to do this because we are the last state who hasn't will tell you that standing alone does not mean you are wrong, just really first Kings chapter 22 for a good example of that.

So should we be lemmings running off a cliff to plunge into the sea. Just because 49 other states have done so I say no less continue to administer justice against crime and take care of victims not follow the crowd going soft on crime, especially without a clear understanding of the fiscal impact Democrat Marcia Moret is a former Durham judge.

She endorsed the raise the age plan.

This is really a simple bill. It is saying 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds are still children in almost every other aspect of our loss if there you're under 18 minor. You can't give contract you can't vote. You can't drink you can get a library card without your parents permission right now.

If you commit later you can be charged as an adult. The few things I would like to say this is from my experience as a judge. Also, the prosecutor in juvenile court is that juvenile court is not a slap on the hand I've had many young people in juvenile and adult court and they have told me.

I wish I were in the District Court, not in juvenile. It is much more intense.

They have to come back month after month. The family is involved. Electronic monitoring can be involved if they get in trouble they can going to detention where you pay bond to get out your there until you come back to the court there supervised treatment. The recidivism rate in our juvenile system three times less then if they come in front of me two minutes and I slap a fine suspended jail time over Republican Jeff Collins used a hypothetical scenario to explain his concerns about raise the age couple weeks before I go out fishing or something. I don't want bill followers with my mother's retirement check will I will incorporate if anything like regular court markers. Six.

Most of you so now you might think birthday, term, only the birthplace of wonderful things about other work from jaywalking by working with them and their parents and so forth concern about that guy was committing a serious assault, no justice system has bracelet here to rebuild seriously or to limit Republican Larry Yarbro supports raise the age, but he highlighted an important related concern North Carolina's current criminal code doesn't make much sense recently learned how our criminal code is written on those is probably one that involuntary manslaughter is the same respect as a prostitute or the saltwater strangulation and hit-and-run is about the same level as possessing stolen goods and these are as bad as so I also use of the setting for we probably need to rewrite this whole criminal code with some of the public bill probably explains why he supports raise the age even if the bill that passed the house wasn't in a perfect form except the fact that this is the first bill of to address an issue as we have gone in the past, we will throw our hats over the wall and then go after them in place of future complement that we have a vision for a better North Carolina and doing better work for our you is part so we go forward with this we will come back with better numbers later on how we address the issue works but we do the courts. We need prosecutors we need to address crime in our society now. I would also like to address this from my experience of having been a teenage boy unfortunately more years ago than I wish it was, but I do know that young man interesting and yes stupid things and many of us have look back on things that we did turn into a disaster and thought there but for the grace of God go the house endorsed the idea with a vote of 148 the House and Senate will have to agree on a final version of the bill for to become law for Carolina journal radio in a moment. If you love freedom we got great news to share with you now. You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups all across the state. All in one place North Carolina one-stop shopping for North Carolina St. movement had North Carolina You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina reporting and quick takes Carolina journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analyst plus opinion pieces and reports on higher education. All of that from the Pope Center for higher education policy commentary and polling data from the civil Thomas Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all of that, all in one place North Carolina that's North Carolina spelled out North Carolina Log on today. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio Martinez as state lawmakers worked to finalize a new general fund operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 we heard a lot of discussion about how much money we should spend per student kids who attend our public schools, the state affiliate of the NEA, the North Carolina Association of educators even held a news conference calling for an increase in per student funding by Dr. Terry stoops of the John lock foundation says that per student expenditures are always a meaningful judge. He's here to explain why Terry welcome back to the program. Thank you so this press conference was in response to a new ranking by the national education Association.

New numbers came out. So what did you hear the news conference and what to think about what was said well what was mentioned at the press conference was at North Carolina in terms of per-pupil expenditure ranked 43rd. According to the national education Association reports and this was a press conference that was meant to highlight that fact in many ways obscure. Another fact which is our average teacher pay ranking went from 41st to 35th so you know, put the good news aside and try to report the bad news, and get the news media to also report that news but I wanted to say in response to that press conference that this may not be all what it seems to be a lot of people believe that it is a kind of use that number to judge the quality of our public schools. The commitment to our public schools and even use it to judge what they think about the people who hold the purse strings so where we going wrong. Make those judgments well, let's first look at the fact that there's actually two per-pupil's expenditure rankings in that NEA report. One says the were 43rd one said there were 39 and a lot of it depends on how you count students. Now if you think about the calculation for a per-pupil expenditure includes two elements. The first is expenditures and that's actually pretty easy to get at you figure out what's included in how much you spend and that's that total amount but the second part is a little more complicated, and it's how you count students and you can count students in different ways in the NEA report counts in two different ways. The first way that they count students gives us a per-pupil ranking of 39. Secondly, the count students gives us a per-pupil ranking of 43rd so obviously if the NEA is counting students differently. It indicates that there is no consensus on how to count students and make that part of the calculation for a per-pupil expenditure. How does North Carolina actually calculate all of this is, are they in line is stayed in line with the NEA errors or even another way to guess is another wave is actually 1/3 way of the North Carolina Department of Public instruction uses to calculator per-pupil expenditure really the essence of the problem when you talking about counting students is that it's not static. Students go in and out of schools all year long.

So what do you count as hot how what point do you determine how many students that you have is at the end of the year is that some sort of average that's calculated throughout the year. There are multiple ways of looking at it curiously the way that the NEA and the North Carolina Association of educators decided to use the student count was enrollment which I think is actually the worst student count to use because it doesn't include the students that left.

It includes everyone that set foot in a public school during the year, so it doesn't include transfers early graduations, deaths, and other reasons why students would actually leave a public school so if you have an account using enrollment you're going to get a lower per-pupil expenditure total and so that's why I think it's a little misleading to use the figure that the NEA in the NCAA do because there are other ways of measuring out there and because it's not the way that we do it here North Carolina.

Interesting stuff sounds like that the number that was touted by the NEA and its North Carolina affiliate was the biggest number possible. The highest number possible of students and therefore the amount of money spent per student would be smaller than any other calculation is rests. Look at frankly that's right, which is entirely what this press conference was about. Since try to guilt legislators into throwing more money in our public schools but but the reality is is that you know as far as per-pupil expenditures go in North Carolina spending well over $9000 of students when you add in both operating and capital expenditures that according to research is is adequate for to maintain a certain level student achievement and we see that in in national and international comparisons as well. That's the interesting thing. I may think is completely fair for parents and taxpayers who don't have kids in the system but who are paying for the education system to wonder. Are we spending enough and are we getting enough bang for every buck that we put into it so is there really any sort of magic number you're talking about research that shows adequacy, but certainly there states that spend more per student, but are they having greater outcomes, higher student achievement will be answered definitely is no you know you can look at isolated incidents.

For example, in Baltimore city was recently discovered that six of their schools had no students were proficient on the Maryland state tests. They spend no student, no students in those schools were proficient on Maryland state tests and Baltimore city schools spend well over $15,000 a student and you can see that there are instances like that throughout the nation. Washington DC was always a classic example. Although I think because of pressures brought about by vouchers and charter schools student performances actually increase when you look at the international evidence you see that a lot of nations spend considerably less than United States and get better outcomes and so in 2015 there was a study done by a few researchers have said okay what is that point. What is that magic number that you need to spend in order to get that student achievement up to a level that is comparable to international competitors.

They found it was $8000. So that means if you spent less than $8000, then it really did matter that you needed to spend more money and spending more money would actually increase student achievement, but after you spend more than $8000. The effects of that spending are not seen, and in any sort of student achievement, tester or test score that is produced on an international comparisons so $8000 is the magic number. Of course, like I mentioned earlier, we are well over $8000 as the state we have a few districts in North Carolina that spend around 8000 but we have some districts spend more than $17,000 per student. That's the other part of this issue is that there is a great range of expenditures in North Carolina because of the way that we fund our public schools, but at this point, none of our districts spend less than that magic number $30,000. I'm sure some people are listening to this and saying hey, wait a second I thought everybody got the same amount of money in it with everything was completely fair there probably wondering how is it that there's some 8007, 17,000 there's actually a lot of lot more revenue sources for schools and people might realize that's right you're the federal money and you have local money and the federal money is interesting because it mainly goes for low income and special needs students so districts that have a high number of special needs students that of low income students get more federal funding because the way that the state money is set up.

It's the same issue that if you have more low income and special needs students get more state money and of course some localities can contribute much more than others, so there's a great variation within the state. We been talking with Dr. Terry stoops.

He is the John Locke foundation's president for research for the program this week. Thank you for listening on behalf of Michael. I'm Donna Martinez come back again next week for more Carolina journal radio Carolina journal radio is a program of the John Locke foundation to learn more about the John Locke donations support programs like Carolina journal radio send email to development John Locke done or call 18661665534636 journal radio nation airline is all opinions expressed on this program nearly mentioned about Michelle or other programs foundation is airline sponsored Carolina radio again

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime