Civitas Review

NC NAEP results unchanged


This has been a big week for K-12 education news.   Yesterday  state test results which helped to measure the impact of new Common Core standards were released. I shared my thoughts here.

Also, earlier in the week the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) released 2013 test results .  NAEP is a national test that is administered every two years.  A sample of fourth and eighth grade students in each state is tested in reading and math.  Test results allow states or regions to compare to one another.

How did North Carolina do?  General speaking,  2013 results show little change from 2011. There were slight gains  of one and two points for fourth and eighth grade reading scores but the gains are not statistically significant.

North Carolina's fourth and eighth grade reading scores mirror national scores.  For mathematics ,North Carolina's average score (for fourth graders (245)  was slightly above the national average  (241).  Math scores for North Carolina eighth graders (286) is considered statistically similar to the national average math score for eighth graders (284).

For additional information on North Carolina NAEP scores see here.

Wake County Sheriff Speaks Up On Mental Health


The sheriff of Wake County, Donnie Harrison, has over 46 years’ experience in law enforcement. He is responsible for safeguarding one of the largest jurisdictions in the state of North Carolina. This week, he sat down to talk about the issues posed to law enforcement by untreated severe mental illness.

Among the subjects covered: the interaction between law enforcement and the mentally ill, the problems caused by the closure of Dorothea Dix Hospital, and some possible solutions for the mental health system going forward.

Check out the video below to watch the interview.

Closer Look at Obamacare Risks


One of my Civitas colleagues said my post about how is the opposite of Amazon missed one looming possibility. She said the Obamacare web site would be like an Amazon … that made you do a report on books you buy. Just to make sure you were reading the books the Washington experts said you should read.

I chuckled at that, but she said it was already happening: She's getting letters asking why she hadn't had certain tests done.

Of course. Your health insurance is no longer really yours. It's the government's, and if the government thinks you should have a certain test or treatment, well, who pays the piper calls the tune.

Here's the twist: Health care can be hazardous to your health.

All treatments carry some risk — for, of course, every action has some potential risk. That includes going to the hospital. A new report indicates every year more than 200,000 people die from preventable mistakes in hospitals.

That includes tests we may take for granted; hospitals warn, Every medical test carries some degree of risk.

Plus, medical tests may be unnecessary, Consumer Reports says, noting that the "Congressional Budget Office says that up to 30 percent of the health care in the U.S. is unnecessary."

For instance, if Dr. O thinks you need a CT scan? According to a Harvard Medical School publication, "It is estimated that radiation from CT scans now accounts for 1.5 percent of all cancers in the United States." (The New York Times reports the same statistic.)

So when the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) tries to pressure you into taking a test, will you still be able to evaluate the need and the risks and make your own decision?

Now, of course there is a risk in delaying or shunning tests. The question is: Who decides, you or a bureaucrat in Washington? Will Obamacare refuse to pay for truly needed treatment?

That's yet another problem with the ACA. These crucial decisions are being taken out of your hands. Are we willing to accept that?

Obama's "Substandard" Insurance Comments A Swipe at State Legislators


President Obama recently dismissed the plight and hardship of citizens losing their current health insurance coverage, condescendingly insisting such people are losing their plans because they were "substandard."

As we have noted on the website, many North Carolinians have lost their current plans and are being shifted into ACA-compliant plans. The President would have us believe that these hundreds of thousands of citizens were too stupid to purchase plans that best suited their needs. Such an attitude is insulting, but not surprising considering the source.

But what may be surprising is how Obama's "substandard" comment is a backhanded insult at state legislators (Obama is a former state legislator from Ill.).

As many of you already know, states across the country have for decades already been micro-managing health insurance plans by mandating a specific set of services be covered by all insurance plans sold in the state. I suspect that long-time state legislators in North Carolina (and other states, for that matter) that developed and approved of the almost 50 coverage mandates required in NC would be stunned to hear the President label these insurance plans as "substandard."

Is the president saying that not only are citizens too stupid to purchase health insurance that best suits their needs, but also that state legislators (of which he was one) are also too stupid and incompetent to create mandated plans that live up to his lofty standards?