Category: Issues

By Kelly McCutchen As Congress returns next week from its Independence Day recess, health care will be front and center. Amid the noise from special interest groups drowning out substantive debate, one proposal that could enormously benefit Georgia has gone unnoticed. The current U.S. Senate proposal, like the House version, introduces Medicaid per-capita block grants in 2020. Per-capita block grants have at one time or another been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. Putting Medicaid spending on a budget delights fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks. As opposed to a traditional block grant, funding would adjust up and down based on the number of enrollees in the program. This protects states from surging rolls during a recession while saving federal and… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen Addressing pre-existing issues and helping low-income individuals afford health insurance are two major issues being debated in health care reform. The challenge is avoiding unintended consequences by making sure the right incentives are in place. Insurance Regulations Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states regulated individual and small group insurance. The ACA preempted state regulations and imposed a host of new federal requirements. These regulations primarily impacted the individual insurance market, where only seven percent of Georgians get their health insurance. These new regulations included: Guaranteed Issue: Even though insurance is based on the concept of providing financial protection for “unforeseeable” future events, this regulation forced insurance to cover pre-existing condition. Community Rating: This regulation… View Article

Who are Georgia’s Uninsured?

By Kelly McCutchen The chart below breaks down Georgia’s 1.38 million uninsured residents based on Census Bureau data for 2016. The vertical axis represents income as a percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $12,000 for a single person. The largest group, 469,000 people represented by the bar at the bottom, is 100 percent of the federal poverty level and below. That’s 34 percent of the total uninsured individuals. If you include everyone from 200 percent of the poverty level and below, that represents 59 percent of the total. The colors represent age. The dark blue group on the far left represents those under 29, which is 44 percent of the total. Sixty-one percent are under 40. This… View Article
By Bill McGahan Georgia Works! helps formerly incarcerated and homeless men become productive citizens. Since our founding in 2013 we have helped 311 men get jobs, remain clean and get an apartment, and virtually all have not returned to prison. We have an additional 170 men in the program today, all working toward full-time employment. When a man comes to our voluntary program we ask him to do three things: Be clean of alcohol and drugs (we drug test everybody weekly) Take no handouts from the government or anyone else Work Over the course of 6-12 months we work with each of our clients on their “obstacles” to employment: the lack of a driver’s license, wage garnishments, criminal history, lack… View Article

On Muni Broadband, Buyer Beware

By Kelly McCutchen A year after the Savannah City Council approved a $62,500 contract asking consultants to explore potential demand for a municipal broadband network, the firm finally has released its findings and recommendations.  Magellan Advisors outlines three options: building and operating a taxpayer-financed network providing service directly to consumers at a cost of $116 million; building and operating a taxpayer-financed network providing service only to government offices at a cost of about $13 million; or joint ownership of a fiber-to-premises system with a private entity at a total cost of nearly $13 million, with taxpayers responsible for $6.6 million. Thankfully for the strained city budget, Magellan says the first option wouldn’t work here. Perhaps that’s because the system would… View Article
In a June 27, 2017, article by James Salzer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, on the state auditing enrollee eligibility on the State Health Benefit Plan. The article, “Georgia saves up to $56 million booting ineligibles from health plan,” is reprinted below and is available online here.  Georgia saves up to $56 million booting ineligibles from health plan By James Salzer The state is hoping to save up to $56 million a year by removing ineligible family members of those enrolled in the State Health Benefit Plan from the program. The state Department of Community Health, which administers Medicaid as well as the State Health Benefit Plan for teachers,… View Article
GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release June 26, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Foundation Welcomes Ga. High Court Ruling on Tax Credit Scholarships Atlanta – The Georgia Supreme Court ruled today that the state’s Qualified Education Tax Credit (tuition tax credit scholarships) program is constitutional. Four Georgia taxpayers (Gaddy et al v Georgia Department of Revenue et al) filed suit challenging the program, which allows Georgians to donate to student scholarship organizations (SSOs) and receive a tax credit for their contribution up to a certain amount; the state limits the program to a total of $58 million in donations annually. The SSO must distribute the funds as scholarships… View Article

Can We All Just Get Along?

By Benita M. Dodd What connection do air conditioning, airlines and education have with today’s overheated political climate?  Each has contributed to the lack of understanding, empathy and tolerance. And the results are increasingly devastating.   Consider recent events: In Arlington, Va., five people were injured June 14 in an assassination attempt on a Republican congressional baseball team as they practiced for a charity baseball game. On social media, some people celebrated their injuries as just deserts. The gunman, who later died of injuries sustained when Capitol police officers returned fire, had reportedly asked first whether it was Republicans or Democrats on the field. He was a supporter of Bernie Sanders, the losing Democrat in the presidential elections. Also in Virginia,… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen As the August recess fast approaches, procedural rules require health care to be addressed before Congress can move on to other important issues like taxes and infrastructure. Below are five ideas that would move health care reform in the right direction and hopefully create the momentum needed to get to a resolution. Fund uncompensated care. Federal law requires hospital emergency departments to treat anyone regardless of their ability to pay, but federal funding covers only a small portion of the cost. In Georgia, for example, uncompensated care for people too poor to pay their bills amounts to over $1 billion a year. If hospitals can’t shift the cost to state and local taxpayers or private insurance,… View Article

Get Real About the Federal Education Budget

By Larry Sand Did you know that the Trump/DeVos budget is manifestly cruel to children and catastrophic to public schools? Are you aware that Trump/Devos are planning to slash funding for public schools and use voucher schemes to funnel taxpayer dollars to unaccountable private schools? I didn’t “know” these things until the two national teachers union leaders told me. Climbing out of the union rabbit hole and venturing back to the real world, one regains perspective. And the reality is that the Trump/Devos budget cuts – which, of course, will have to run through the Congressional obstacle course before becoming law – don’t warrant the union leaders’ outlandish hyperbole. Not one iota. In a nutshell, the budget does away with… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been doing important work for the free enterprise movement for the past 20 years.  I can assure you from the vantage of a non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. with much the same principles as GPPF that the work we do simply would not be possible if it were not for the important work that GPPF does.  We see it, we understand it, it is an inspiration to us, it is the kind of thing that will translate into the important work that we can do in Washington, D.C.  We thank you very much for that.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2011) more quotes