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Health Care Price Transparency Could Save Billions


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the USA has experienced a rapid rise in health care costs over the past decade since Obamacare was made the law of the land.  A new study by Arthur Laffer and Cynthia Fisher estimates that requiring health care providers to post prices for their medical services could save patients and companies more than $500 billion a year.

Continue reading Health Care Price Transparency Could Save Billions

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Ridgewood Teachers deserve praise; taxpayers deserve a break


DECEMBER 11, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2015, 12:31 AM

Teachers deserve praise; taxpayers deserve a break

To the Editor:

We will try this again as what one hears cannot be generalized due to individualization. Here is my rebuttal to Michael Yannone’s letter in last week’s Ridgewood News:

1. Ridgewood teachers are paid in the upper percentile/s in the U.S. The starter salary accelerates due to various degree/s, and additional credits, etc. Fine; they are appreciated for a job well done and deserved. My point is: this is an expensive benefit paid for by the taxpayer.

2. About 10 to 15 percent of private company employees receive a traditional pension as the teachers. Calculated individually (as all pension), it “significantly exceeds” the corporate-sector pension. Fine, it is earned so enjoy. My point is: this is an expensive benefit paid for by the taxpayer.

3. U.S. companies offer lower-cost healthcare provider plans than the state teacher’s plan/s. Their “premium” plan/s have always been more generous so private company employees married to NJ teachers use the NJ state plan as their primary provider for themselves and their families both before Medicare or with Medicare as their secondary provider. Fine; my point is: this is an expensive benefit paid for by the taxpayer.

4. NJ teachers receive two paid days in November for a teacher convention whether they attend or not. Fine; this is built into their compensation/time calendar. A minimal amount of teachers attend the state convention repeatedly and not the majority. My point is: this was not the intention when this was originated.

5. U.S. companies are diligently saving money by eliminating employee benefits by contracting out work, outsourcing, mergers and down-sizing. Employees in the private sector pay for their annual escalating healthcare costs as do retirees before and with Medicare. My point is: teachers are not getting slighted by having to pay higher healthcare costs; this is the new norm due to Obamacare, designer drugs, and an aging population. This is not a one-time deal.

6. Companies get rid of older workers when they become too expensive unlike education. Fine; thank you for your continued, dedication. It is appreciated due to number of years worked. My point is: this is an expensive benefit paid for by the taxpayer.

7. The NJ taxpayer cannot afford to pay teachers their annual percentage raises along with their escalating healthcare costs as a benefit as was done in the past. Teachers are significantly more highly compensated with their benefit package than non-state, non-unionized workers.

8. NJ is going bankrupt due to pension and other obligations. People are leaving this state and purchasing out-of-state properties and claiming those places as their primary residence so they can eliminate the “choking” taxes of NJ. They then move to those second homes to retire.

9. The New Jersey Education Association and some (not all) of its members have been very vociferous about their hatred for Gov. Christie. I am not his fan but I do feel he did what was a long overdue necessity. He did a “reality check.”

Janis Belcher


BOE Meets on December 21 at 7:30 p.m.
The Ridgewood Board of Education will hold a Regular Public Meeting on Monday, December 21, 2015, at 7:30 p.m.

The public is invited to attend the meeting at the Ed Center, 49 Cottage Place, Floor 3. The meeting may also be viewed on FiOS channel 33, Optimum channel 77 or from computers via the “Live BOE Meeting” tab on the district website.

Click here to view the agenda for the December 7,, 2015 Regular Public Meeting.

Click here to view the minutes of the November 16, 2015 Regular Public Meeting.

11.23.15: Board of Education Writes Letter to the Editor
Click here to read a Letter to the Editor of the Ridgewood News, which was published on November 20, 2015