Category: Issues

By Benita M. Dodd The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award takes place on November 11 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and is keynoted by John Stossel. Through the years, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has presented the prestigious Freedom Award to a notable Georgian who has exemplified the principles of private enterprise and personal integrity. Previous recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Flowers Industries chairman emeritus William Flowers, the former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell, Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy; Deen Day Smith, chair of the Cecil B. Day Investment Company; former Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller; former Southern Company president Bill Dahlberg, Medal of Honor recipient General Raymond… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Once, Georgia’s most alarming criminal justice statistic was that one resident in 13 was under correctional supervision – imprisoned, jailed, on parole or on probation. Today, thanks to an ongoing series of criminal justice reforms, those numbers are shrinking. The most alarming statistic, however, remains the record number of Georgians on probation. In July 2016, a total of 167,714 offenders were on probation, the state Department of Corrections reports. Last year, nearly 45,000 were sentenced to probation. According to the National Institute of Corrections’ 2014 statistics, Georgia’s rate of 6,161 probationers per 100,000 residents is an astounding 321 percent higher than the national average, at 1,463 per 100,000. The next highest state is… View Article

Atlanta Police Force on Track to Get Body Cameras

Amid the nationally ongoing and sometimes emotionally charged discussion of police interactions and transparency, Atlanta is moving toward body cameras for law enforcement officers. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta City Council voted to spend nearly $6 million to purchase 1,200 of the cameras, which are designed to capture officers’ actions without the ability for interruption or editing footage. This amount of cameras will cover over half of all active officers, as APD consists of approximately 2000 sworn police officers as of 2014, according to an annual Atlanta Police Department Report. In areas where body cameras have already been deployed, the response has been positive from both the officers and the communities they police. “I don’t know… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN It’s been a rough summer for health care. Sixteen of the 23 federally funded, not-for-profit Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (co-ops) have now failed. Humana reduced its Georgia coverage area and Cigna, UnitedHealthcare and Aetna have completely pulled out of Georgia’s federally managed insurance exchange. Most premium rate increase requests for 2017 are in the double digits – the weighted average increase is 27 percent. We got ours in the mail last week: 16 percent. In some parts of Georgia, the outlook is worse. With little competition, rural Georgia has the dubious distinction of some of the nation’s highest health care prices and worst health care outcomes. Four rural hospitals recently were forced to close,… View Article

Checking Up On Health: August 17, 2016

Health Policy News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD   Trucks line up on the Ambassador Bridge to cross from Detroit into Canada. I visited Canada briefly over the weekend, driving into Windsor, Ontario, from Detroit. Did you know? The first eatery visible after you cross the Ambassador Bridge into Canada is a McDonald’s; the second is a Popeye’s! What was really interesting, however, was the proliferation of pharmacies in Windsor. I assume — I can’t vouch for it — that it’s as a convenience for U.S. citizens who want to zip over there to purchase Canada’s lower-priced prescription drugs. That began a discussion in the car about why Canada drugs are cheaper: lower prices because of the… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Pension Reform

Principles: Any reforms to pensions should consider the long-term solvency of a plan and protect the already promised benefits for employees already in the system. The benefits in a public employee retirement system should be sustainable, secure and affordable: Provide retirement security for all members (current and future) and retirees Manage and mitigate taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and market risk Reduce long-term costs for employers or taxpayers as well as employees Stabilize contribution rates Ensure the ability to recruit 21st-century employees Improve governance & transparency The best solutions emerge from collaborative efforts involving a broad cross-section of stakeholders in a process that examines flaws in a pension system, explores and analyzes all possible methods of reform,… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Education

Principles: Curriculum standards should be rigorous, clear and measurable. All students should be held to high standards and high expectations. Teacher recruitment, education, training and compensation should be focused on attracting and retaining high quality teachers. School finance should be on a child basis, not a district basis, so that the money follows the child. Education should be personalized to meet students’ diverse needs and provide the maximum amount of choice for each to find the educational setting best suited for them. Recommendations: Implement a simpler, student-centered funding model that encourages flexibility. Fund public charter schools more equitably. Allow schools to move toward competency-based learning. Shift away from top-down regulation and micro-management of schools to accountability based on choice and… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Criminal Justice

Principles: Public safety is a core responsibility of government. A well-functioning criminal justice system enforces order and respect for every person’s right to property and life, and ensures that liberty does not lead to license. As with any government program, the criminal justice system must be transparent and include performance measures that hold it accountable for its results in protecting the public, lowering crime rates, reducing re-offending, collecting victim restitution and conserving taxpayers’ money. An ideal criminal justice system works to reform amenable offenders who will return to society through harnessing the power of families, charities, faith-based groups, and communities. Criminal prosecution should be reserved for conduct that is either blameworthy or threatens public safety, not wielded to grow government… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Health Care

Principles: Sound health care policy should have the following characteristics: Patient-centered– Putting economic purchasing power and decision-making in the hands of participants minimizes third-party reimbursements, which foster an environment of entitlement and unlimited demand for health care services. Security for the sickest– Any health care reform must work for the healthy as well as those who are sick or chronically ill. Equitable tax treatment– Tax policy should not favor health care purchased by employers over policies purchased by individuals, should not favor financing health care through insurance over paying out-of-pocket and should not favor high-income employees over low-income individuals and families. Personal responsibility– Health care reform should combine personal responsibility with financial involvement to incentivize program… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Higher Education

Georgia ranks 33rd in terms of postsecondary participation. In 2014, 51 percent of young adults were enrolled in postsecondary education or had earned a degree, compared to 55 percent nationally. [1] The average amount of annual in-state tuition and fees at Georgia’s public four-year universities increased by more than 31 percent over the last five years (a greater increase than all but one state). But the average amount of tuition and fees, $8,447, ranks below the national average at 31st. Net tuition revenue per FTE (tuition after scholarships and other grants) is $4,468, ranking Georgia 41st highest in the nation. Net Tuition Revenue is calculated by taking the gross amount of tuition and fees, less state and institutional financial aid,… View Article

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U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell more quotes