Author: Benitadodd

Checking up on Health

  Health Policy Briefs: February 14, 2012 Compiled by Benita M. Dodd If you’ve read “Overdiagnosed,” the eye-opening book by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, you know there is such a thing as too much health care. Excessive medical screening and diagnostic treating in asymptomatic people can produce overtreatment. The quest to detect health problems as early as possible is often more harmful than helpful, as Welch points out. Hospitals apparently are taking “Overdiagnosed” one step further. Imagine you recently fractured your arm and you were treated at your local hospital. A couple of months later, you receive a postcard urging you to sign up at your community hospital for a cancer screening that could detect lung cancer. How did they know… View Article

Checking Up on Health

Health Policy Briefs: January 31, 2012 Compiled by Benita M. Dodd Price controls: Everence Insurance of Pennsylvania on Monday became the first insurer flagged by federal regulators for having an unreasonable rate increase. The insurer, a for-profit arm of the Mennonite Church USA, raised rates starting in September by 11.6 percent for its ShareNet policies covering 4,800 people working for small businesses in the state. Now the insurer has 10 days to either withdraw the increase or post on its Web site the reasons it finds the increase to be justified, Kaiser Health News reports. The growth of account-based health care plans: Employers first started offering account-based health plans in 2001, when a handful of employers began… View Article

Transportation Briefs

 Transportation Round-Up Compiled by GPPF Vice President Benita Dodd Misguided, misinformed and missing: Committee meetings are almost ways more interesting than full board meetings, if you’re willing to sit and sift through the banter. Last week’s State Transportation Board committee meetings are case in point. – In a Legislative Committee discussion about pending metal theft legislation, it was revealed that the state Department of Transportation has had $30,000 worth of steel grates stolen, as well as 20,000 feet of wire – the kind used in wiring traffic lights, for example. – Then came a discussion about privatizing the state’s aviation services and the four King Air 90 aircraft the Georgia Aviation Authority currently uses for passenger flights. The… View Article

Checking Up on Health

                                           A Health Policy Checkup Supreme Court schedule for federal health care law case: For those who are interested in following the litigation regarding the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, here is a link to the timetable between now and the end of oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 28: http://tinyurl.com/6r9cdzf. There are four distinct questions before the Court: 1. Individual mandate: Whether Congress went too far in requiring all Americans to purchase and maintain individual health insurance. 2. Severability: The Severability Clause, language that describes the right to remove a line or portion of a bill without changing the rest, was not included in this legislation, so that if any part… View Article

Transportation Roundup

TRANSPORTATION ROUNDUP Compiled by Benita M. Dodd   Logistics and innovation: More than 1,100 people have registered already for the fourth annual Georgia Logistics Summit on February 8th, 2012, in Atlanta. Hosted by Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Logistics, the Summit is the only state-led collaborative event of its kind and size in the nation – and draws 85 percent of its participants from the private sector. The deadline for registration is Friday, January 27. Go to http://summit.georgialogistics.org/ to register to attend.  The Center of Innovation for Logistics is led by Page Siplon, who was a panelist in the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s second annual Legislative Policy Briefing in the fall of 2011. Watch his presentation at the Briefing here:… View Article

Checking Up on Health

Health Policy Checkup Health benefits: Major health insurers have prospered, partly by expanding their role in Medicare and Medicaid, according to the Washington Post. The share of large insurers’ revenues contributed by their Medicare and Medicaid business has jumped from 36 to 42 percent over the past three years and research indicates that insurers will further increase their reliance on federal dollars with full implementation of the health care law in 2014. The doctor trap: Every lawyer, every accountant, every architect, every engineer – indeed, every professional in every other field – is able to do something doctors cannot do. They can repackage and reprice their services. In his health policy blog, John Goodman of… View Article

Transit riders: Pawns in city’s popularity contest

By Benita Dodd In November 2011, MARTA announced it was moving seven bus routes in downtown Atlanta to make way for the $72 million streetcar line that will run from Centennial Olympic Park to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site. The streetcar Web site noted that, “The changes will remain in effect until further notice.” But don’t wait for the “further notice” to be that the MARTA routes will be restored. In fact, thanks to the street car construction, now there are changes in store for most Xpress bus riders as well, according to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA). GRTA’s board was asked today to approve the process to reroute the downtown Xpress buses off Peachtree Street.… View Article

Trip time trends and transit

The Census Bureau has released its latest one-year estimate on the average travel time to work for Americans. The national average was 25.1 minutes, but metro Atlantans’ average commute was a full five minutes longer, making it the seventh-longest in the nation.  The report offers even more food for thought in metro Atlanta, where transit is the focus as policy-makers discuss the proposals that will sway congestion-plagued voters in next year’s referendum on a regional transportation sales tax.  As I pointed out in an August commentary, the regional round table committee is finalizing a list of transportation projects for the 10-county metro Atlanta region based on an anticipated $6.14 billion pot of money. That list includes transit projects that… View Article

Turning up and transportation policy

The Civic League held “Get a Move On,” a 10-county regional round table on transportation, growth and metro Atlanta region’s future on a recent Saturday morning in downtown Atlanta. Transportation was the major focus, of course, given next year’s penny transportation sales tax referendum and the selection of projects currently under way. It was a clear warning that when it comes to how to divvy up the projected $7 billion in sales tax revenue, the squeaky wheel could get the grease. First order of business: If you ask people to press button No. 10, be sure you have a N0. 10 button on your poll clicker. There WAS someone in the room from Rockdale County, the 10th county on the… View Article

AFVs, HOVs and HOTs

When the new High-Occupancy Toll lanes open on I-85 this summer, buses, motorcycles and Alternate Fuel Vehicles may travel at no charge, as can vehicles with three or more occupants. Single- and double-occupant vehicles may choose to use the lane for a variably priced toll. Georgia’s current high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes allow free passage to vehicles with two or more occupants (even if the second occupant is an infant), transit buses, motorcycles and as well as AFVs. It’s high time they were put to better use — and a network of HOT lanes is a great use. Still, it’s a mystery to me why a lane aimed at reducing congestion would offer free access to AFVs, no matter how many… View Article

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