Category: Issues

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Every year around Earth Day (April 22), people everywhere are harshly reminded just how “unnatural” environmentalists consider humans.  Humans, they argue, are against nature, and nature is being destroyed by humans. It’s unfortunate. Creating this dichotomy of humans against nature not only confuses the environmental narrative, it claims a separation that doesn’t exist and disregards enough relationships to make it preposterous. A striking recent example is the oft-repeated claim that species are threatened with extinction by human activities. National Geographic, the Public Broadcasting System, the World Wildlife Foundation and others have repeated the theme that “Current rates of extinction are 1,000 to 10,000 times the background (before humans) rate… View Article

Return Insurance Regulation to the States

By Ralph T. Hudgens Much of the impasse in Washington regarding health care reform relates to health insurance regulation and mandates. There is a very simple solution: Return the power to regulate insurance back to the states, where it rightly belongs. Certainly, Congress should be able to find common ground in the desire to lower costs, improve quality and empower states. Much of the talk in recent months has been about how difficult it will be to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The focus of the conversation should instead be on the consequences to the American people if Congress does not repeal this failed overhaul of the health insurance industry. When the ACA was first implemented, as the Commissioner… View Article

Legislature 2017 Misses Many Opportunities

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN Last year, we wrote that the General Assembly is often, and appropriately, chided for passing last-minute bills with little debate or study. Once again this year, major legislation was crammed into the waning hours of the last day of the session. It was as ugly as the North Carolina-Gonzaga championship game. Several bills were hurriedly voted on after midnight; many legislators seemed more focused on tearing up papers for confetti in anticipation of Sine Die instead of studying the bills. Sadly, a major reform of adoption law, an income tax rate cut for Georgians and a minor expansion of school choice fell victim to the clock. Legislators wisely passed the 2018 budget before March 30,… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen Be careful when you set a new precedent, because your decision could come back to haunt you. Senate Democrats executed the first partisan filibuster of a U.S. Supreme Court nominee in our nation’s history this week. In response, Senate Republicans are expected to vote to change Senate rules to allow confirmation by a simple majority vote – the “nuclear option” – instead of the current 60-vote majority rule. Republicans cite precedent to justify their actions. Democrats changed Senate rules in 2013, ditching the 60-vote rule to allow a simple majority vote on Cabinet nominees and lower-court judges. The Wall Street Journal cites a floor speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Nov. 13, 2013, where she called… View Article

AJC Publishes Op-Ed on Atlanta, MARTA TSPLOSTs

The Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 2, 2017, published an op-ed by Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on the new transportation special purpose local option sales taxes for MARTA and Atlanta. Her op-ed is published in its entirety below; the AJC link is here: http://www.myajc.com/news/opinion/opinion-look-future-not-past-gain-most-from-atl-splost/5h0CTF5gG9cK2ppp2ZRL4O/. OPINION: Look to future, not past, to gain most from ATL T-SPLOST By Benita Dodd April marks the full implementation of two transportation special-purpose local option sales taxes (TSPLOSTs) overwhelmingly passed by Atlanta voters in November 2016. A 0.4-cent, five-year Atlanta TSPLOST to raise $300 million has joined the 0.5-cent, 40-year TSPLOST begun in March to raise $2.6 billion for MARTA projects. The massive support is no surprise, given lofty campaign promises… View Article

Criminal Justice Reform Legislative Post-Game

By Ross Coker As the dust settles from the 2017 legislative session, among the legislation heading to the Governor’s desk are three significant criminal justice reform-related measures initiated in the Senate. The first, Senate Bill 174, focuses on Georgia’s Accountability Court system and grants more intelligent leeway to use measures that they might feel are appropriate on a case-by-case basis. For example, the legislation would allow the Board of Community Supervision to offer educational or skills-based programs to those on probation to encourage gainful employment and reintegration into society. The bill also sets up the creation of a certificate to be issued to those who complete reentry programs, marking a readiness to reenter society as a productive citizen. SB 174… View Article
In 2016, Senate legislation seeking to clarify that Direct Primary Care is not insurance did not make it out of the Georgia Senate. In 2017, the Senate unanimously approved similar DPC legislation and the House Insurance Committee reported favorably on the bill on March 20, but the House Rules Committee did not place the legislation on the calendar by March 30 for a House vote before Sine Die. By Loren King Dr. Loren King In primary care medicine, offices visits require understanding and knowledge of multiple complicated and interrelated medical, social and economic concerns to adequately parse decision making. Health care is complicated and personal and, at its very foundation, it is conversation, friendship and hope. Unfortunately, the economics of… View Article

Legislators Should Heed the Forgotten Man

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN A host of tax bills are up for consideration as the Georgia General Assembly enters its final week: tax breaks for the music industry, tax breaks for big construction projects, tax breaks on jet fuel, taxes on Internet purchases, taxes on ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, and cuts in the individual income tax rate. Some proposed tax breaks are designed to keep businesses in our state. But what about the forgotten man who expands his business without playing the game of searching for handouts, pretending he or she might move out of state without an “incentive? On the campaign trail, politicians often criticize tax breaks for special interests and the use of the… View Article
This testimony on Direct Primary Care was prepared for delivery to the Georgia House Insurance Committee on March 20, 2017. The legislation, S.B. 50, was presented by Senator Hunter Hill (Watch from the 53-minute mark at https://livestream.com/accounts/19771805/events/6811883/videos/152225554) By Benita M. Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation  The Georgia Public Policy Foundation understands the challenges lawmakers face in extending access to health care for the impoverished as well as those living in Georgia’s rural areas. Georgia State Senator Hunter Hill presented legislation on Direct Primary Care to the House Insurance Committee on Monday, March 20. We believe one way to address this is through an exciting, well tested approach: Direct Primary Care, which provides access, quality and control and… View Article

How States Can Break the Health Care Logjam

EMTALA, a massive federal unfunded mandate, has made the nation’s emergency rooms the default health care provider for the uninsured. By Kelly McCutchen In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, January 22 a tornado, one of 40 over two days in Georgia, ripped through the tiny South Georgia town of Adel. Seven people died; the wounded were treated at the local hospital five minutes away. Just three days earlier, that local hospital had announced it would close its emergency room – the only ER in Cook County – at the end of February. Cook Medical Center is hemorrhaging about $2.6 million a year, mostly due to the emergency room. Tift Regional Medical Center plans to offer expanded hours at a non-emergency… View Article

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