Q&A: MA State Senator Richard Moore, Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
In 2006, Massachusetts passed the Health Care Reform Act, the first comprehensive health insurance plan in the United States. The plan requires all individuals to have healthcare, with the State stepping up for those unable to afford it. It creates a “Connector,” an agency that helps individuals to find an affordable plan, and allows individuals to opt out—for a while—with a set of defined reasons and a penalty clause.
Two years later, it’s working. Yes, “working.” PT spoke with MA State Senator Richard Moore, one of the program’s architects, to find out why.
EDUCATION POLICY: Equality, Knowledge, and Federalism
“Education is the future,” says CA State Senator Jack Scott, who chairs the State's Senate Committee on Education. Everyone agrees “that all Americans deserve a quality education,” but most political leaders launch into the ‘how?’ before answering the ‘what?’ in defining education policy. The 2008 Presidential candidates' position statements, for example, have focused on who sets educational goals and standards: parents or government? (Teachers, students anyone?) Who pays? And, for what? And, where do the federal, state and local governments fit into the equation?
Policy Today talks with Kansas State Senator John Vratil about the future of education in Kansas and the problem of educational inequality in America.
PT: The United States' public education system has long been considered one of its greatest achievements and the bulwark of our equalitarian society. Is ensuring social and economic equality still among policymakers' priorities when it comes to education?
Vratil: I feel that it is. I believe that there is a major nationwide emphasis on providing equality of opportunity in our public school system. But I think it's important to distinguish between the bold statement of "equality" and the more refined statement of "equality of opportunity," because we cannot guarantee that every student will be equal. In fact, I think I can guarantee that every student will not be equal. But we can strive toward that latter goal so that every student has the opportunity to succeed.