Obamacare and education reform

Patrick Gibbons

*Education or health care? Voting for ObamaCare may be a vote against education funding.

NPRI’s recent summit on education reform treated attendees to a roster of speakers with diverse backgrounds and opinions. Overall, it was a great conference. One speaker, Dr. Jay P. Greene of the University of Arkansas, made an interesting observation concerning the relationship between education and health care.

Dr. Greene noted that education and health care make up the vast majority of expenditures by state governments. He also noted that the Obamacare proposal would raise significant costs on state governments in order to provide the mandated care. This would put an even greater strain on state finances than we see today. Dr. Greene predicted that states will be unable to pay the cost of Obamacare by increasing taxes – the people simply wouldn’t allow it. This means government would have to drastically cut back on services, and education would present itself as the biggest target for financial savings. (Here in Nevada, education is the biggest expenditure item.)

Thus, voting for ObamaCare turns out to be a vote against education funding. So if you think the 2 percent spending reduction education faced in this biennium was devastating, just wait.

Dr. Greene didn’t make this point to scare people away from Obamacare. He was pressing a point about the financial imperative of using existing resources more efficiently to provide a better system of public education. We have to reform, because public education is simply unsustainable in its current form.

Education is already growing in cost at an excessively rapid rate (faster than health care, actually). Passing Obamacare will only make Judgment Day arrive earlier than expected.

The silver lining is that Obamacare may force Nevada to drastically reform its education system, as the clock continues to tick and the “Bank of Nevada Taxpayers” runs out of cash.

If you have time, check out Dr. Greene’s blog, too.