When it became obvious the private sector had jumped into alternative education, i.e. charter schols, I thought of a business experience that happened to me in the ’80s. This nonsense that privatization is the panacea for all our ills and government can’t do anything right is just that, nonsense. As a longtime Republican, I realize I have just committed blasphemy in the eyes of the idealogues, but so be it. While I’m at it, throw in deregulation, too. But that’s another letter.
In the ’80s, I was one of about 106 Indiana state-approved Medicaid transportation providers. We were all summoned to a meeting at the Government Building South by Jim Verdier, point man for Gov. Evan Bayh at the Family and Social Services Administration.
Verdier informed us that they were tweaking the billing process to expedite our being paid more quickly. They were allowing us to provide the trip without acquiring prior approval. The thought was appreciated, but we old-timers saw a huge problem. Simply, new transportation companies would be formed and all types of non-authorized trips would be billed. And some existing companies would take advantage as well.
Within a short period of time, all transportation providers were summoned again. Same building and location but an entirely different atmosphere. Sure enough, what we old-timers feared came true and severely affected the transportation budget. Verdier went back to the old procedure, told us that his goal was to put 50 percent of us out of business within a year and make life miserable for the remaining providers.
My years in business showed me that there are around 10 percent (higher if you include Wall Street and the financial world) of businesses that do things that make it difficult for the 90 percent of businesses that do things right. And without government to oversee the rascals, or unwilling, the taxpayer is the one who picks up the tab.
If you think Tony Bennett is the exception, you’re wrong; but it does show us that Republicans are just as bad as we portray the Democrats. Sadly, being as pious as we are makes our discretions look twice as bad. If the public could have access to phone records, emails, correspondence, they would revolt. When billions of dollars are up for grabs, anything goes in business. Sadly, when government is complicit or sloppy in overseeing a program like this, kids, public schools and the taxpayers are the big losers.
JAMES DEL GROSSO