Cut The Dropout Rate In Half, Cut Texas Medicaid Spending By Half A Billion? | KERA News

Cut The Dropout Rate In Half, Cut Texas Medicaid Spending By Half A Billion?

Jul 11, 2013

Five stories that have North Texas talking: New study says Texas can save millions on Medicaid if we focus on caps and gowns, law school applications plunge in the Lone Star State and beyond, Texas Wild snap another team’s prestigious streak and more.

A new study says handing out more high school diplomas is the key to dramatically reducing Medicaid spending. The Alliance for Excellent Education says cutting the national drop-out rate of 7 percent in half would save Texas more than half a billion dollars of Medicaid money. The reasoning is simple; high school graduates tend to have higher paying jobs with some type of health insurance.

But the study goes even further. It breaks down the expected overall “societal savings” by disease if we could halve the graduation rate. That formula factors in things like lost productivity at work. For example, the study estimates the heart disease societal savings in Texas would be close to $1.3 billion. The smoking related societal savings is pegged at just under $950 million. [KUHF]

  • Lady Justice Isn’t Hiring, And Prospective Students Know It: Law school applications have taken a nose dive across the country and Texas is no exception. Nationally, there are 18 percent fewer applicants for the upcoming fall term compared to last year. Texas schools have seen a 12 percent drop. The Dallas Morning News reports ballooning tuition costs and a sluggish hiring market are primarily to blame. Smack dab in the middle of the recession, law schools still boasted sky-high job placement rates. But by 2010, even the firms started cutting back. According to the American Bar Association, only two-thirds of Texas law grads had found full-time jobs as attorneys nine months after nabbing their diploma. From 2010 to 2012, UT, SMU and Baylor law schools all saw significantly fewer applicants and smaller first year classes.
  • Cities Open Their Wallets To Speed Up Customs: Texas cities along the Mexico border want more officers at border crossings. Not to keep people out, to get them in faster. To keep tourism running smoothly, these communities are willing to put up some money, and if they’re selected for a pilot program, that’s exactly what will happen. "The border should be viewed as an economic opportunity, not as a threat," said Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, of El Paso, which has submitted a proposal for the pilot program. In El Paso, border waits can last several hours. At least one other entity in Texas, the South Texas Asset Consortium — made up of the cities of Laredo, McAllen and Pharr; Cameron County; and the Starr-Camargo International Bridge Co. — also submitted a proposal for the pilot program for its 11 ports of entry. [AP via NPR]
  • ‘On The Border Of Greatness’: Aptly chosen words by reviewer Tim Surette describe last night’s series premiere of The Bridge on FX. The TV drama’s name refers to the point of connection between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. The show emphasizes the different styles of police work and unique worldly attitudes on each side of the border, and so far, reviewers are optimistic. Tim Goodman with the Hollywood Reporter says “The Bridge is mandatory viewing for drama lovers.” But there’s caution in nearly every review as well. IGN’s Jim McMahon says, “The Bridge has tapped into a potentially rich vein, dealing with a politically motivated murder on the border and some promising characters. But whether it can follow through remains to be seen.” If you’ve had enough of fictionalized border tension, check out our Think conversation with Alfredo Corchado, Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News.
  • Texas Wild Snap Formerly Awesome Streak: Setting records is noteworthy, but spoiling the records of others can be a lot more fun. The Texas Wild, Irving’s World TeamTennis organization, just snapped the longest winning streak in U.S. pro sports history. The Wild defeated the Washington Kastles, who hadn’t lost since 2010. Eugenie Bouchard won the deciding match in women's singles over Anastasia Rodionova. That gave the Wild a 23-18 win.