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July 19, 1999 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-07-19

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4 -- The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 19, 1999
Edited and managed by EMNIy ACHENBAUM NICK WOOMER
students at the - ' ' Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
I at r ij $ University of Michigan LA_
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the
420 Maynard Street majoriy of the Daily editorial board. All other articles, letters and
Ann Arbor, M, 48109 cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

I t is difficult for any student at the
University to get excited about tuition
hikes, even if those increases are the
smallest in recent history, especially in
the wake of an accommodating 4.8 per-
cent funding expansion from the state of
Michigan. In attempting to figure out
how they will address their increased
financial burdens, students may find con-
solation in the fact that, should the cur-
rent tuition increase trend continue,
future increases will be more in line with
the Consumer Price Index.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report-
ed recently that the CPI has only
increased by 2 percent over the 12 month
period between June 1998 and June 1999.
At their meeting last Thursday, the board
of regents approved a tuition increase of
2.8 percent which will amount to a $100
increase for first year students and sopho-
mores and a $200 increase for juniors and
seniors in the College of Literature,
Science and the Arts. Some graduate pro-

Dollars and sense
Tuition hikes will maintain quality education

grams will witness much stiffer increases
- most notably a 7.4 percent increase for
students seeking a Master's degree in
Business Administration.
Ideally, tuition would be capped at a
reasonable amount for several years but
this is far easier said than done. The cur-
rent state of higher education has made it
difficult or impossible to maintain a top-
notch institution and keep tuition rates at
the rate of inflation, much less the same
for several years. It may be troublesome,
but by increasing efforts to raise funds
through alternative methods such as
soliciting alumni donations and entering
into more private research partnerships,
the University should be able to reason-
ably hike tuition rates at the rate of infla-

tion without sacrificing its reputation.
Some might find it unacceptably com-
placent, but it is still important to put the
tuition hike in perspective. As recently as
1992, tuition was increased by 13.5 per-
cent and the bulk of the University's new
revenue will go towards academic ven-
tures rather than bureaucracy.
In order to remain competitive with
other important research institutions like
those in the Ivy League and the
Universities of Virginia and California-
Berkley, tha University needs to have a
robust budget. This year's tuition hike
combined with the additional funding
from the state will allow the University
to hike faculty salaries. Several depart-
ments have suffered in recent years from

the loss of key members who have gone
to higher paying jobs at other universi-
ties.
In addition to keeping its most cele-
brated faculty members and maintaini
important research projects, the
University is looking at several immense
construction projects in the future -
most notably the new Life Sciences
Institute which will connect the Central
and Medical campuses.
Keeping tuition low should be one of
the regents' top priorities. If a tuition cap
is impossible, then the Board should
strive to keep tuition increases at the rate
of inflation. In working out th
University's budget, it is equally impoo
tant to maintain the University's status as
a vital research institution. Finding a bal-
ance between keeping students' costs
down and preserving the University's rep-
utation is not easy, but this year's tuition
increase offers hope that that a solution is
slowly working itself out.

The kids aren't airight
State Medicaid fails to provide proper care

The State of Michigan is failing to pro-
vide adequate health care for children
on Medicaid. Last Monday, the Michigan
chapters of the American Academy of
Pediatrics, the American Academy of
Pediatric Dentists and three advocacy
groups for the poor filed a lawsuit in feder-
al court in Detroit on behalf of the state's
800,000 children that are covered by
Medicaid. The suit alleges that these chil-
dren are not receiving proper screenings for
diseases or medical checkups. Widespread
changes must be implemented to ensure
that Michigan's future does not start their
lives with an added disadvantage - poor
health.
According to the plaintiffs, the state of
Michigan's Medicaid system is placing
children in extreme danger in an era where
most pediatric illnesses and diseases can be
easily avoided with basic preventive care.
The state's doctors have been considering
filing this suit since the early '90s, and they
were moved to action when the number of
children falling through the cracks of the
system became alarming.
While the State's Community Health
representatives claim that the system is
improving, the actual statistics are
appalling. The federal government requires
states to show that 80 percent of children on
Medicaid receive the required medical
screening exams that help prevent common
illnesses. -However, since this prerequisite
was implemented in 1995, Michigan's
numbers have steadily dropped from 47
percent in '95 to 38.5 its 196 and 35.3 per-
ccln it 19)7. According to th Ann Arbor
News these statistics translate insto the tbl-
lows ng. "3.158 i(fmts did not ha e even
one of the six requited cxams and that only
one in four ciren received a dental
exam."

This lack of care undoubtedly stems
from financial issues. According to
Michigan's health and dental care
providers, the state's Medicaid program
does not reimburse them at high enough
rates to encourage them to examine chil-
dren on the program. Medicaid does not
"cover the cost of overhead," which can
include lab costs, employee wages, and the
like. While doctors certainly don't want to
refuse health care to children, it is simply
not economically feasible for them to
accept patients who will end up costing
more money in the long run than these
physicians will be reimbursed for.
There are several things that can be done
to remedy this problem. While educating
parents about the availability of basic health
care and the amount of required health
checkups and screenings could help, it is
not the only answer. Clearly, the State of
Michigan needs to provide adequate com-
pensation to doctors in the hopes of making
the care of Medicaid children more attrac-
tive financially. This funding may come
from budget surpluses, or even increased
taxes, but this is an investment that the
state's taxpayers should be willing to make.
Moreover, the State must establish some
sort of "watchdog" organization to nonitor
the implementation of the Medicaid pro-
gram's coverage upon the children it covers.
The implementation of this three-pronged
solution will reestablish Medicaid as a
"governiment safety net to make sure those
it poserty have access to basic health care,'
slieh tis hat it sat ittenied to be.
The ctildren of the state of Miehig it
mtst sot be impeded by life-long heah
pnchlets that could base bee presented.
The stite needs to allocate new funds so
that Medicaid can properly care for the
health of the economically disadvantaged.

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Billfwrongs -
G.O.P. health care plan is off the mark
is past Thursday, in a vote divided sponsored plans "are not the more
lmost exactly along party lines, the restrictive insurance plans that have
e passed the Republican bill to reg- caused the most consumer concern
health care. Although any legisla- because they channel access to care
that increases patients' rights is a through a 'gatekeeper' doctor." In other
in the right direction, the words, the 113 million Americans left
blican plan falls short of expecta- out of the Republican bill are the one@
While the Republican plan does who need help the most. These are the
intee valuable new rights for people who need federal legislation to
nts, only the passage of the protect them.
cratic bill would have guaranteed a Additionally, and very notably absent
patients' bill of rights worth getting from the Republican plan is the right of
d about. patients to sue health maintenance orga-
eluded in the Republican bill are nizations. While Republicans argue that
significant new patient rights. the courts are not the proper forum to
importantly, the Republican bill shape H.M.O. policy, the right to sue is
fies that Americans in employer- necessary to hold H.M.O.'s accountabl@
tored health care programs can for their actions. Until the federal gov-
l decisions that deny them medical ernment grants the patient's right to sue
Under the new plan, patients who a managed care provider, patients' rights
hey have been denied proper care will not be complete.
ppeal to an independent medical And while the Republican bill does
wer. If the employer health care call for new health care provisions like
am still fails to provide care upon consumer information, the right to a
viewer's request, the employer plan hospital stay after a mastectomy, and
e required to pay for the patient's access to an emergency room outside of
outside the plan in addition to a an H.M.O. network in cases where emer-
00 fine. With these new regula- gency care is required, these rights will
the level of care for Americans in vary depending on a patient's t-.M.C@
dyer-sponsored programs should coverage. There is no guarantee.
ve. Health care should be guaranteed. Not
t not every American is protected just for the 48 million Americans with
employer-sponsored program, and employer-sponsored coverage, but for all
s where the Republican bill falls Americans. The Republican bill is
The Republican plan is most acceptable, but not good enough. Swayed
le nt for who it Iteludes but for by big health care dollars and supported
t leaves out. While the Democratic by an expensive advertising campaign
wocild hase applied to all 161 mil- from the insurance industry, the G.O.P.
Americans wvith private Iteahlth has failed to draft a true patients' bill n@
nce, the Republican plan applies rights. It is likely that President Clinton
y to the 48 million covered by will seto this latest attempt. With the
)yer-sponsored plans. The New Democratic bill as a model, let's hope
Times reported that the employer- Congress gets it right next time.

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