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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion

And another thing . . .

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Universal care, stat! Both major political parties have been spooked by the costs of universal health-care coverage, but the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report Monday that shows that inaction is expensive, too.

Being among the 44 million uninsured Americans doesn’t mean you don’t get care. It just means you get it at the emergency room, and taxpayers and hospitals absorb the costs. The report said taxpayers subsidize this back-end health care system to the tune of $35 billion a year. Hospitals don’t always get reimbursed, so they have to eat the costs (it is against the law for them to refuse care).

The Institute of Medicine recently reported that about 18,000 deaths annually are attributed to a lack of health-care coverage. This madness will continue as long as we put up with a system of emergency care, rather than universal preventive care.

Who’s outsmarting whom? From local school districts to the largest agencies of the federal government, workers know that advanced education translates into promotions and a faster trip up the salary scale. Taxpayers have a right to expect some oversight, don’t they?

They may not have been getting it, though, judging by a report by the General Accounting Office.

In an eight-month investigation, the GAO found that at least 463 federal workers have fake degrees from diploma mills. More than a dozen federal agencies even paid for their workers’ bogus academic credentials. Two unaccredited schools in California — California Coast University and Kennedy-Western University — collected $169,000 in federal payments for employees who were acquiring degrees. More than half of the federal employees identified in the GAO investigation were from the Defense Department.

Advanced education is admirable. But before it’s financed or rewarded by taxpayer dollars, agencies at all levels of government should do a better job of confirming that degrees and diplomas come from accredited institutions and represent honest accomplishment. That would be the smart thing to do.

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