Events: Early Bird Registration is now open for the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Friday, October 13 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. The theme for the daylong event is “Wisdom, Justice, Transformation,” with a focus on health care and education. Early Bird Registration is $100; register here. Details to follow! View previous events here.
“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.”
– Jan Jones, Georgia State Representative and Speaker Pro-Tem, at the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.
Quotes of note
“Sadly in recent years dissent has come under sustained attack in all the groves of academe on both sides of the Atlantic in a manner which stifles creative thinking. Yet civilization’s great heroes took on the consensus and made the case against conventional wisdom because it is only when authority is challenged that progress is secured.” – John Cameron
“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” – Ronald Reagan
“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.” – Douglas Pagels
Emergency care: Indianapolis-based Anthem will stop covering emergency department visits it deems unnecessary for Indiana policyholders, extending the discretionary policy recently enacted in Georgia and Missouri, according to an IndyStar report. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
Getting opioid use down: As states struggle to combat opioid abuse, Utah’s Intermountain Healthcare is the first health system to set a goal to reduce opioid prescriptions 40 percent by 2018. “Currently, nationwide, providers tend to write prescriptions for more opioids than patients need, and large quantities of the medications are often left over after the need for pain relief is past,” said spokesman Doug Smith. “We will follow best practices in prescribing so the medications prescribed more closely match the needs of patients.” Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
Rollback: Compared to the first six months of the Obama Administration, the Trump Administration has imposed: 1/20th of the lifetime costs, 1/11th of the annual costs, and 1/8th of the paperwork, according to an analysis by the American Action Forum. With nearly 6 million fewer paperwork burden hours, that amounts to the workload savings of roughly 3,000 full-time employees.
Checks and balances: Although subscribers to the low-income Lifeline service (“universal” phone and broadband service) must participate in Medicaid, food stamps or another Social Security insurance program, the Government Accountability Office could not confirm the eligibility of 67 percent of subscribers. More than 6,300 “subscribers” were deceased; another 5,510 were potential duplicates. Eligibility requirements implemented in 2012 led to a $40 million drop in payouts in just the first month; four years later, household subscribers had dropped from 18.1 million to 12.3 million. And GAO undercover test found 12 of 19 Lifeline providers approved applications that used falsified information. Source: Iowa Transparency
Energy and environment
Low energy: Thanks to the revolutionary technologies that accessed oceans of shale oil and gas, energy abundance has led to the cheapest energy in history, and in the process raising our standard of living a little bit higher, the American Enterprise Institute reports. In 18 of the past 19 months, starting in December 2015, the energy share of consumer spending has been below 4 percent, marking a historic period of the most affordable energy in U.S. history!
Pay raises: The 2017 EdNext Poll on School Reform found that 61 percent of Americans surveyed support raising teachers’ salaries. But when told what teachers currently earn, the level of support drops to 36 percent.
This month in the archives: In September 10 years ago the Foundation published, “Tear Down This Wall.” It noted, “This vacuum of dealing with the uninsured has been unattended nationally and in this state for too long. This state’s leaders should show some leadership: Tear down this wall now – or someone else will.” We’re still waiting …
Have a great weekend and a Happy Labor Day!
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.