OUR VIEW: Decisions loom for key issues

By Daily News • Last Updated 12:07 pm on Wednesday, September 04, 2013

These are times when Americans are looking for consistency, stability and a sense of cooperation and collaboration in government at any and all levels. Closer to home, our neighbors, the citizens and taxpayers of Michigan, are looking to our Legislature for decisions relative to what are arguably the two most critical issues facing our state’s future: health care and education.

After a fierce battle, Michigan’s senators Tuesday passed a compromise bill that offers assurance and insurance for health care to upwards of a half-million Michigan people who might not otherwise be able to afford appropriate medical care.

If the bill survives legislative hurdles with Michigan’s House by October 1, the state qualifies for millions of dollars in reimbursement for joining the program. Uncle Sam’s reimbursement level will diminish in the future, and apparently the 26 states who have signed on are betting that fine-tuning of the federal Affordable Care Act will eventually force down health care prices. Those who doubt that cost cuts can be achieved argue that services will be cut, and even “death panels” will emerge.

Bottom line is that major changes are imperative in our health care system. Hospital bills should be called “mystery slips” since few people can decipher the bills, and after they set a billing code for even the little plastic bands they put on your wrist when you register for service; they’ll follow up with charges for toothpicks and water. The cost of health care is another animal that must be tamed; but it will take far better wisdom and bipartisan leadership at the federal level than we have these days.

Our view is that for now the move that Michigan is making is morally the right thing to do. Let’s take that step to bring in folks who need help; and trust to honest and courageous legislators at all levels to make it work out. If they can’t do it right, we must find ways to elect officials who will abide by their own conscience rather than submit to the financial offerings of special interests. It’s a challenge we are not yet prepared to meet, but ultimately, we must.

Public education, a cause we cannot subordinate to any other of current challenges, is undoubtedly at a crossroads. We are most concerned with Michigan legislative neanderthals that think by adopting the well-studied Common Core values we would be giving up local curriculum control.

We send this message to them: For the sake of our young people’s future, wake up!

Whether you like it or not, the world’s educational goals are being set to standards established by academicians all over the world, as well as with Common Core academic leaders from this country. We in Michigan can choose to be partners in the process, or we can take a seat with our kids at the back of the bus.

Our students in every field are challenged by rising global educational achievement. Home rule in public education will either be saved by acknowledging today’s increasing global educational imperatives or lost by clinging to yesterday’s 1950s era sense of superiority in everything, a sense of times past.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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