If It Was Romney’s Idea, Would Kline Still Oppose a “Consumer Reports” Style Ratings System ?

John Kline’s August slumber was rudely interrupted by President Obama reminding Chairman Kline of his failure to move beyond an April 16th hearing on reforming the Higher Education Act.

Yep, The Higher Education Act, last rewritten in 2008, expires at the end of this calendar year and just like everything else that this DoNothing Republican-controlled House has done this term, reform/renewing The Higher Education Act is still in its development stage.

Yes, Chairman Kline’s committee did hold one hearing with the spotlight given to Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) who opened by asking if too many students are going to college — essentially questioning whether the federal government should be involved in higher education.
At least during the hearing, Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) was allowed to discuss his ExCEL Act – a bill to enroll all borrowers in the income-based program and collect loan payments through paycheck withholding — the same system used for paying income taxes.

So today, President Obama followed up on his statement when he signed the legislation that raised student loan interest rates for next year that “our job is not done” with some instructions for the Department of Education :

Our first priority is aimed at providing better value for students — making sure that families and taxpayers are getting what we pay for. Today, I’m directing Arne Duncan, our Secretary of Education, to lead an effort to develop a new rating system for America’s colleges before the 2015 college year. Right now, private rankings like U.S. News and World Report puts out each year their rankings, and it encourages a lot of colleges to focus on ways to — how do we game the numbers, and it actually rewards them, in some cases, for raising costs. I think we should rate colleges based on opportunity. Are they helping students from all kinds of backgrounds succeed — (applause) — and on outcomes, on their value to students and parents.
So that means metrics like:
How much debt does the average student leave with?
How easy it is to pay off?
How many students graduate on time?
How well do those graduates do in the workforce?
Because the answers will help parents and students figure out how much value a college truly offers.
There are schools out there who are terrific values. But there are also schools out there that have higher default rates than graduation rates.
And taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing students to go to schools where the kids aren’t graduating.
That doesn’t do anybody any good.

(Applause.)

Yep … Applause … well, at least from the students that were paying the bills … but no applause from John Kline who said he was “concerned” by the president’s proposals, which “could curtail the very innovation we hope to encourage — and even lead to federal price controls.

Since when does asking a potential supplier questions about the “value” that an entity offers, means the next step is “federal price controls” ?

Was it a step toward “federal price controls” when Mitt Romney outlined his Health Care Reform plan ?

Remember this :
Encourage a “Consumer Reports” style ratings system for insurance companies
– Currently it is very difficult to compare one insurance company with another. Consumers need to have access to a ratings system in order to be better informed. For example, if a particular insurance company has poor customer service, a small network of doctors, has a habit of declining coverage of certain medical procedures, or simply mistreating their clients, then the public has a right to know. Currently there is no way consumers can discover which companies are truly providing the best customer service or value for their dollar. Romney wants to change that and make the insurance companies more accountable to how they treat their customers. In a similar vein, hospitals would have a rating system in order to establish cost and quality comparisons for the public. Romney knows from his days at Bain and Company when he advised hospitals that some hospitals charge exorbitant rates but have similar quality results when compared to other hospitals in the same area.

Well, then the logical suggestion would be :
Encourage a “Consumer Reports” style ratings system for private, public and for-profit colleges
– Currently it is very difficult to compare one school with another. Consumers need to have access to a ratings system in order to be better informed. For example, if a particular school employs aggressive sales operations targeting disadvantaged students, who enroll with greatly inflated expectations of their employment and salary prospects upon graduation, fails to mention amount of debt they’ll be bearing, or simply mistreating their clients, then the public has a right to know. Currently there is no way consumers can discover which schools are truly providing the best customer service or value for their dollar. Romney wants to change that and make sure the schools are more accountable to how they treat their customers. In a similar vein, high schools would have access to a rating system in order to provide cost and quality comparisons for the public – students and their parents. Romney knows from his days at Bain and Company when that some schools charge exorbitant rates but have similar quality results when compared to other schools in the same area, things must change.

Yep, John Kline fears “federal price controls” … as opposed to an informed consumer (and electorate) but what would you expect from a corporatist protector.

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