Category: The Forum

By Ron Bachman Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is the undisputed law of the land. The alliance of the conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and the four liberal justices was a surprise to many, as was the logic used. The decision required a curious “jiu jitsu” interpretation of taxes and penalties. Writing for the majority, Roberts declared the law’s penalties are not taxes when dismissing the application of the Anti-Injunction Act, and then defined the penalties as taxes when declaring the individual mandate constitutional, even though the law specifically and purposefully avoided the tax label for the penalties. Roberts ruled the health care law as unconstitutional regulation under… View Article

Friday Facts: June 29, 2012

It’s Friday! Quotes of note – “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – George Bernard Shaw – “And it proves, in the last place, that liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other departments.” –Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78 (1788) – Minority opinion on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), U.S. Supreme Court: “All of us consume food, and when we do so the Federal Government can prescribe what its quality must be and even how much we must pay. But the mere fact that we all consume food and are thus, sooner or later, participants… View Article
By Eric Wearne Massively Open Online Courses (“MOOCs”) are a growing trend in higher education.  According to Educause’s “7 Things you Should Know About MOOCs,” they are simply “a model for delivering learning content online to virtually any person—with no limit on attendance—who wants to take the course.” Sometimes these courses are attached to colleges and offer credit, but often they are free to anyone who wants to “attend” and learn the content, usually at the student’s own pace.  To give just one example, Georgia Tech runs a MOOC focused on instructional technology, which currently includes 31 weeks of content, is free, and can be accessed whenever learners have the time. Multiple recent projects have explored higher education’s… View Article
The U.S. Supreme Court has voted 5-4 to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act federal health care reform law.  This means the individual mandate survives.  There are questions about how this decision will affect state Medicaid programs, including Georgia Medicaid.  Today we will monitor and present the extensive reactions to this historic decision.  We invite you to check back here as Georgia leaders react.   Comments compiled by Mike Klein. 3:35 pm — Statement from Robert Schapiro, Dean, Emory University School of Law: “Chief Justice (John Roberts) has crafted an opinion that manages to uphold the law without making any dramatic comments on the state of existing law.  The chief justice accepted the key arguments of those opposing the… View Article
The U.S. Supreme Court has voted 5-4 to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act federal health care reform law. This means the individual mandate survives. There are questions about how this decision will affect state Medicaid programs, including Georgia Medicaid. Today we will monitor the extensive reactions to this historic decision. This is the second of two files on the Foundation blog. Please see the earlier file for those reactions earlier today. Compiled by Mike Klein. Interview with Cindy Zeldin, Executive Director, Georgians for a Healthy Future: “It’s a big victory for Georgia health care consumers. We have big problems in our state. We have two million that don’t have health insurance.  We have consumers don’t always have… View Article
By Mike Klein Governor Nathan Deal expressed displeasure with the U.S. Supreme Court decision on federal health care reform during a Thursday afternoon news conference, describing it as “the largest tax increase in the history of the United States, at least $500 billion and perhaps significantly more.”  The Governor also admitted he was surprised by the decision because he thought the Court had given “pretty strong signals” that it had problems with the individual mandate. The Governor appeared alone when he spoke to reporters and a large crowd that assembled in mid-afternoon inside the State Capitol.  Deal said the state will likely hold off making decisions on several questions until after the November national elections.  Presumptive Republican Party Presidential nominee… View Article
(This article was published Monday, June 25 by the Heritage Foundation.  The author John Malcolm is a former member of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation Board of Governors and currently a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.) By John C. Malcolm Today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the major provision of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration law is a strong rebuke of the Obama Administration. The Administration had argued that its own immigration enforcement priorities should be treated as controlling law—that is, above the determinations of both Congress and Arizona. But the Court’s decision means that the President must go through Congress if he wishes to impede the states’ ability to enforce immigration laws within… View Article
By James P. Kelly Parents, concerned citizens and business leaders in Georgia are embracing educational freedom. They no longer have to rely on an inefficient, unresponsive and costly public school monopoly. In 2008, the Legislature adopted a program that permits taxpayers to take a state income-tax credit for their contributions to qualified student scholarship organizations, or SSOs. The SSOs use these contributions to provide scholarships to children whose parents otherwise could not afford private schools. In 2011, the third full year of the program, the $50 million annual cap on tuition tax credits was reached with thousands of taxpayers being denied the ability to participate. This year, the tax credits are being consumed three times faster than last year. Why… View Article

Why Prices Matter in Health Care

By John C. Goodman The single biggest mistake in all of health policy is the belief that the best way to make health care accessible is to make it free at the point of delivery. This mistake underlies our entire approach to providing health care to low-income families in this country; it is the basis for the organization of the entire health system in most other developed countries; and it is deeply embedded in the Obama administration’s approach to health reform. The major barrier to care for low-income families is the same in the United States as it is throughout the developed world: The time price of care and other non-price rationing mechanisms are far more important than the money… View Article

Second Opinions Can Help Control Health Care Costs

By Tom Emerick At more than $2.5 trillion in total, U.S. health care costs now comprise a staggering 18.2% of our GDP.  This figure has been rising rapidly over the last few decades. Health costs are eroding wages, diminishing our global competitiveness, and bankrupting the government. What’s more, from the perspective of businesses, this problem is likely to get much worse.  As the government seeks to cut back on its health care spending, doctors and hospitals will charge those with private insurance more to make up the difference.  Until now, the only choice has been to start rationing care, something American workers vigorously oppose. But many employees are realizing that there has to be some kind of trade off.   They… View Article

I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation.  For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work.  As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature.  We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us.  To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)

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