Medicaid hospice program

Others' Views

February 7, 2009 

There are two good reasons for the South Carolina Senate to expedite its decision to require that funding for the Medicaid hospice program be restored.

One is that hospice patients don't have the luxury of lots of time. They are, by definition, sick and dying.

The other reason is what talks these days -- money. On the surface, it might appear fiscally prudent to cut the $1.5 million Medicaid hospice benefit. But spend even a tiny bit of effort studying the subject, and it doesn't look prudent at all. ...

The state House of Representatives in January voted 113-0 to require the Department of Health and Human Services to restore the money for Medicaid hospice care. The resolution went to the Senate where it was referred to the Finance Committee. If the Senate approves the resolution, it will go to the governor.

In the meantime, here's what's happening. No new Medicaid hospice patients have been accepted since December, and the 125 receiving hospice care now will be cut off at the end of February when funding stops. ...

The Senate should move quickly on the resolution to restore funding. People are continuing to die without the comfort of hospice. The costs of doing nothing can be counted in dollars as well as in human need.

Delegation fight

Lawmakers are elected to their positions for one purpose only -- to represent the people of their districts. Right now, those people need jobs more than anything else, and Spartanburg County lawmakers may be costing their districts jobs.

The lawmakers elected in Spartanburg County have been locked in a stupid, egotistical fight for control that has absolutely nothing to do with helping the people who elected them. They are fighting over how to elect a chairman of the delegation.

They cloak this battle in high-sounding terms of upholding the law, but it's nonsense. This is all about controlling the delegation and monopolizing the power to appoint cronies to positions on boards, commissions and Magistrate Court. ...

This sorry episode shows why this state needs a recall law, a measure that would allow voters to take the position away from lawmakers who refuse to represent the interests of their constituents.

Until then, Spartanburg County residents who can't find jobs should contact their local lawmakers and tell them: Thanks for nothing.

Teacher rankings

Finally, South Carolina is at the top of the nation in an educational category.

The National Council on Teacher Quality has the state at the top of the country in terms of policies that ensure that ineffective teachers do not remain in the classroom.

South Carolina has a strict overview period for new teachers that provides them with mentors and with the opportunity to learn from fellow educators. For those who cannot pass muster, their career in the classroom is ended.

The program has proven to be effective and allows the state to ensure that new teachers to the profession meet the standards of teacher quality that enable our children to have positive classroom experiences and make the progress they need to become educated citizens.

Teaching is not an easy profession. While South Carolina makes it difficult for those who are not up to the task to continue in the classroom, more young teachers are needed now than ever. A phalanx of experienced teachers are poised to retire in the coming years, leaving the schools without the institutional knowledge that longtime employees have.

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