GWU Issues Management

A blog established for the George Washington University School of Political Management's Issues Management course.

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A middle aged white guy, who likes to think, talk and, too infrequently, write about politics, religion and gadgets.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Sunday Paper: Issues Roundup

Some interesting issues raised in articles found not on front pages of today's Washington Post and New York Times. Take a position and comment, imagining that you are manging the issue for one side or the other:

-- A growing number of Americans are hitting the limits on their health care policies after experiencing chronic medical conditions. If you're an advocate for the chronically ill, what are your key points? What if you are an insurance company? What is their obligation to pay? Ought there be any limits at all?

-- Harvard and Yale (among others) have moved to make college more affordable by cutting costs for some students and substituting grants for loans. Isn't this laudable? Yet some colleges are grousing that it might force them "to use more of their financial aid dollars to compete for the best middle-income students rather than to bring in the neediest." If you represent Yale or Harvard, how do you position your school? What if you are the spokesperson for a college that has concerns with this approach?

-- The New York Times reports on a new Arizona law that disallows financial aid and in-state tuition rates to any college student who can't prove their legal residence status. In-state tuition runs $65 per credit hour as compared to $280 per credit hour for out-of-staters. Says a Republican state representative, "Denying the in-state tuition, besides being fair to residents, also deters illegal immigrants from coming here." But the Dean of Admissions at the University of Arizona says, "It’s likely that there are hundreds of high school senior or college-age students whose plans for college have been compromised... And it’s likely there are thousands in K-12 who will no longer make those plans because the cost of university is now out of reach or they fear deportation if they attempt to attend school." A fourth generation Mexican-American says simply, "I see it as a very cruel law." Imagine you represent an immigration control group. What are your key messages? What about a pro-immigration group? What are the various implications of this initiative?

-- Posted by Pat Cleary


Blogger Fi5hburn said...

Why does insurance have to be so complicated?!? As an advocate for the chronically ill, work would definitely have to be done to raise the caps, but what happens when the cost of drugs and therapies continue to rise? That’s only a temporary fix so I would also advocate streamlining the process, removing the intermediaries, and placing the purchasing power back in the hands of the patients. This should create more competition, which would eventually drive prices back down.

Yale and Harvard have positioned themselves very well by taking initiative with regard to how they’re spending their endowments. Who can legitimately argue with making education more affordable to middle-income students who can’t afford to pay for a high quality education and don’t qualify for need-based scholarships? The other institutions fail to realize that the ivy leagues will take only a small percentage of the growing college-bound population. And again, an injection of competition might do the system some good.

A few points on behalf of the people of Arizona: They have given a public education to illegal immigrants K-12, which most likely included free or reduced lunches, medical care by the school nurse, etc. Are they obligated to also subsidize a state college education to those illegally in our country? This is democracy at work: the people felt strongly enough to pass a law preventing illegal immigration and to Arizonans credit, they’re still not deporting those who do go to college under the new system.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Bruno Hoffmann said...

1. Health Insurance is probably one of the most delicate businesses ever created. Make money betting and hoping that people don't get sick. Or if they do, at least get cured fast or just die. It’s not a philanthropic business.
The company doesn't want to pay for a patient that hasn’t great chances of getting better. Even though they have to keep their image that they do care about their clients and will be always on their side.
But in general, it’s ridiculous to have limits – it’s to give people a deadline to live.
OK, no limits? Insurance companies would bankrupt in a month. Indeed. So let’s put a limit. $5 million – after that the government will cover that. Sounds good? Maybe, maybe not… I really can’t say how that would be managed and fiscalized by the government… If it would stimulate competition between treatment centers or the government would just do a huge contract negotiated by lobbyists that will make sure they will contribute in campaigns for these lawmakers… well you guys know all the logistic here.
The point I want to make is that this is a chronic problem in the U.S. and raising caps is the first action that could be made. But it’s far from solving the problem.

2. Nobody NEEDS to go to Harvard – Harvard needs the best students. Harvard it’s not well known all over the world because of its blazon. Alumnus made Harvard’s name. And if Harvard or any other university is taking action to increase their demand of better students they are right to do so. As a spokesperson, I’d say that the University is willing to make real dreams of low and middle class students that deserve it; the ones that are good enough for Harvard but aren’t wealthy enough.

3. As an immigration group I could be arrogant for instance: “Yes, if they want to go to college, they’ll have to go back to their countries – they were never citizens here. I’m sure that they’ll not feel lost down there. They are probably going to stand out. Especially because they had the chance to live in the ‘best country of world’, even that was just for a limited time.”
As a non-immigrant you could develop your message full of humanity, family rights and psychological insights of how those decisions could deeply affect not just the student, but his family and community. I’d stand out the importance of the Latino community – as an undeniable part of the country now; the U.S. culture is embed on every “niño latino”. So it’s not fare to not help them have a college education.

But I personally believe that Arizona it’s on its right to not sponsor illegal immigrants. Again, just like on the Health care issue – it all needs a profound change. It can be giving amnesty or deporting everybody. It will all depends on how much of an impact it’ll have – economical and cultural.

12:12 PM  
Blogger mnordman said...

1. As a chronically ill advocate, then I want to make this all about the heart wrenching stories that were told in the article. You need to emphasize the additional burdens that are placed on families who are not only struggling to deal with their children’s conditions but that they are also having the added stress of paying the soaring hospital bills. It is a good move to lobby Congress again to increase the caps or at least index them to inflation so that they can progress with the higher costs. Insurance companies would argue that this will only create higher costs for all people under their coverage by covering the fewer exceptions. There needs to be more evidence and statistics to show this is a serious problem yet I believe they have an obligation to pay if these people have been approved on these policies. If there aren’t an overwhelming number of cases, they should be able to handle it.

2. It should be appreciated and admired that Harvard and Yale are helping their students and focusing on increasing aid possibilites to middle income families. Yale or Harvard should position themselves as innovative and responsive to the growing concerns of middle class families. This will show that an Ivy League education is attainable at all levels. The colleges with concerns feel pressure but rather than criticizing Yale or Harvard, they should lobby Congress to provide more financial aid and also allocate their funds to make their school more attractive to the middle-income students they fear losing by building on their strengths. Often, federal financial aid isn’t going to the students in middle class families who need it just as much as someone in a lower-income family. It has to be fair across the board.

3. As an immigration control group, I would say that at some point, there have to be penalties and disincentives to being an illegal immigrant because they have broken the law. If laws relating to drug use can be a deal breaker for financial aid, then why can’t not being a legal citizen have the draw back of non-in-state tuition. Someone from New Mexico would also not be able to get the in-state tuition if they still had an out of state address and they didn’t even violate a law. On the pro-immigration side, you could argue that the discounts are necessary for them to obtain a better life because otherwise they won’t be able to afford school and could fall back into poverty or crime. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with the law because they aren’t citizens, however, I think it would be different if they were simply the child of an illegal immigrant that was born in the state.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Cullen Linebarger said...

A chronically ill advocate should take this story and run with it. A personal story is a great way to galvanize the public and force action on raising the caps. Insurance companies need to remind people that raising the caps would put an unfair burden on them and perhaps force them into bankruptcy. On this issue, reacting too drastically and hiking the caps will cause more harm than help. Without insurance companies, we will have to rely on the government and we know efficent and reliable they are.

Harvard and Yale deciding to make college more affordable is a welcome change. Another change would be to get rid of the legacy admissions. Students need to judged based on thier qualifications rather than their last name. We could then say Harvard and Yale now admit the best and brightest and maintain their high standards.

Regarding the in-state tuition situation in Arizona: a pro-immigration group would argue you do not punish a child for the parent's sins and that all children deserve an education and not be out on the strret causing trouble. An anti-immigration group would say that they have broken the law and should go back to their home countries. The people of Arizona felt that citizens should not have to pay for illegal immigrants and they are to bbe applauded for the move. We should respect a state's right to make its own decision without the intrusive nature of the federal government.

1:52 PM  
Blogger MM Jersey said...

As an advocate for the chronically-ill, this is just the latest in a string of stories that shows the need to have the government step in and solve this crisis. Private-sector insurance companies are, at their core, for-profit ventures and they lose money on these chronically-ill. Allow people to have the freedom to choosse to buy into a federal program, such as medicare, which is far more risk-averse than these private plans, can provide the necessary resources and not leave the sickest out in the cold when they have exceed their pre-defined benefits.

Harvard and Yale have once again set the bar high and others will be forced, in some way to address this situation. The difference in this instance is that Harvard and Yale aren't competing with anyone but each other, thus they have positioned themselves perfectly. They are finally using those huge endowments for something worthwhile. As a spokesman for a school that is concerned about this I would point out that while I applaud the effort, state that we are always looking for ways to reign-in costs and increase access to a first-class education that my institution can deliver and simultaneously make it affordable. i would tout the amount of grant-based financial aid my institution has given. I would not touch evaluating the merits of the Harvard/Yale plan, because it seems bullet-proof.

Arizona: As an immigration-control advocate, I applaud the plan as these illegal immigrants cannot prove legally that they are entitled to such rates. As an immigration advocate i would challenge this law as unfair because it could deny some otherwise very intelligent students from receiving an adequate education, and therefore becoming highly-productive members of the community in which they live, learn, and eventually will work. It is discrimination in it's purest form.

2:58 PM  

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