Georgians in high places: Our congratulations to Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, former board member and board chair of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, on her appointment as head of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Fitzgerald, an obstetrician and gynecologist, was commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health since 2011. Other Georgians holding top posts in the Trump administration include former Georgia Congressman Dr. Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary and former Governor Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture. Up next? Atlantan Christopher Wray is President Trump’s nominee as FBI director.
Quotes of note
“In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs.” – Walter Lippmann
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – George S. Patton
“We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right; that, without this, they are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in conscience.” – Thomas Jefferson
Energy and environment
American Dream conference: Register here to attend the 2017 American Dream conference, August 6-8 at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, Va. Experts will scrutinize the new administration and new Congress and what they are doing to protect the American dream of freedom, mobility, and affordable homeownership.
Clean power: Nuclear energy provides abundant power, “without emitting any greenhouse gases,” write Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation. Instead, “The radical environmentalists are insisting that the only energy alternative that will save the planet is wind and solar power – the two options guaranteed to most decelerate modern industrialization and economic progress across the globe.”
Renewable power: Germany targeted a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (over 1990 levels) and a 55-60 percent share of renewables in power consumption by 2035. But German think tank Agora Energiewende, which supports the plan, reports neither is attainable, even though the scheme has cost Germans each an extra 300 Euros (about $343) per year on their power bills. In February, U.S. residential electricity rates averaged about 13 cents per kilowatt hour; in Germany it was 29 cents. Source: Capital Research Center
Flailing market: The number of insurers seeking to participate in the federally run health care exchanges established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has fallen 50 percent since 2016, from 281 then to 141 for 2018, according to federal numbers. Source: CMS.gov
Right to try: The Food and Drug Administration has improved its expanded access program that allows patients with serious or life-threatening ailments to access drugs still undergoing clinical trials, according to the Government Accountability Office. Nearly 5,800 applications were submitted from 2012 through 2015, and 99 percent were approved. Georgia is among the states that have passed right-to-try laws.
Medicaid: A lawsuit filed in California alleges the state’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, provides substantially worse access to health care than Medicare or employee-sponsored insurance. That’s because there are a relatively low number of Medi-Cal providers, partly because they are underpaid, the lawsuit says. Source: ABCNews
Technology: A Food and Drug Administration panel this unanimously recommended FDA approval for the first-ever treatment that genetically alters a patient’s own cells to fight cancer, transforming them into what scientists call “a living drug” that powerfully bolsters the immune system to shut down the disease. Source: New York Times
Criminal justice reform
Job training: Motivated Hall County inmates are being given the chance at a good job, The Gainesville Times reports. The state pays counties to enroll inmates in GED and vocational training programs, then pays them again based on the number of graduates. Hall County has the third-most-successful inmate workforce training program. The $100,000 paid by the Georgia Department of Correction is being used to build a welding shop for inmates. Lanier Technical College and Goodwill partner with the county to run the educational programs.
Food for thought: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue addressed the School Nutrition Association in Atlanta this week, promising school districts more autonomy on food choices. “You need to have the flexibility to fit your meals to the needs of the children that you serve,” Perdue told the audience. “While the intent of the original rules of the program were good, the reality was somewhat different.” Source: WABE
This month in the archives: In July 10 years ago the Foundation published, “Perspective on Transportation Innovations: Concessions, and Then Some.” It noted, “Success in innovation requires a good-faith effort from the public sector to concede that it must accede ‘territory’ in order to achieve the public interest, then to ensure that the public interest is protected.”
The Forum: Read the report by ACCESS magazine on how road pricing helps manage congestion. Read Kelly McCutchen’s health care posts, “Insurance Regulation, Risk Pools and Tax Credits,” and, “Who are Georgia’s Uninsured?”
Foundation in the news: Kelly McCutchen was quoted on Medicaid and the Senate health care legislation in The Gwinnett Daily News and The Statesboro Herald; he was also interviewed by WABE on the bill. The Foundation’s research on welfare reform was cited in The Chattanooga Times Free Press and in Liberty Nation. WSB-TV’s Richard Belcher interviewed Benita Dodd about MARTA’s pending takeover of the Atlanta Streetcar.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.