Category: Issues

Guide to the Issues: Long-Term Care

Principles Long-term care programs should be reserved for Georgia’s most vulnerable populations. Long-term care programs should be designed to avoid “crowding out” private solutions and personal responsibility. Recommendations Seek ways to target publicly funded long-term care (LTC) services to the neediestGeorgians. Middle-class and affluent people should prepay for care or repay from their estates. Now that the maintenance-of-effort restriction in the Affordable Care Act has expired, Medicaid LTC eligibility criteria should be tightened as much as possible under federal law so as to avoid “crowding out” private sources of LTC financing and encourage a privately financed home- and community-based services infrastructure. Seek waivers to eliminate or severely reduce the home equity exemption under Medicaid from its current level of $536,000… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Medicaid

Principles: Government should be willing to spend what it is already spending, but in a more rational manner. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually in Georgia on uncompensated care for the uninsured. The uninsured may not have coverage but they do get sick; one way or another, we all pay for their care in a way that is terribly inefficient. Money should follow people. It is important to support the institutions and providers that make up Georgia’s safety net, but solutions should be people-centered, not institution-centered. Innovation requires flexibility and choices. Micromanaging every last detail is a recipe for the status quo. Facts: The accompanying table shows the most recent data on the average enrollment and cost per… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Medical Malpractice

Principles:  Medical malpractice reforms should accomplish the following goals: Reduce the rates of preventable patient injuries. Promote open communication between physicians and patients. Ensure patients have access to fair compensation for legitimate medical injuries. Reduce liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Recommendation:  Replace Georgia’s current expensive and ineffective malpractice system with one thatreduces medical errors, enhances patient access to fair compensation for legitimate medical injuries and lowers liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Facts: The current approach to medical errors is failing: Expensive: Billions of dollars are wasted each year on “defensive” medicine, unnecessary procedures and tests ordered to protect health care providers in case of a lawsuit. Ineffective: There is “scant evidence that tort liability… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Occupational Licensing

Principles Citizens have a right to pursue a legal occupation and the burden should fall on the government to justify any restrictions to that right. Restrictions on economic liberty should be targeted at protecting health and safety and policy-makers should demand proof that there is a clear, likely and well-established danger to the public. Government should use the least restrictive means to address any danger to the public. Recommendations: Create protections for economic opportunity: Protect economic opportunity by creating a statutory right to an occupation; requiring proof of a clear, likely and well-established danger to the public, and ensuring that less restrictive means have been tried before resorting to professional licensing. Reduce, convert and repeal: Examine existing occupational… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Transportation

Principles: Traffic congestion, while inconvenient, is a sign of a thriving economy. Transportation policy must focus on improving mobility and relieving congestion. To the extent possible, users should pay. Use objective criteria when weighing transportation options. Recommendations: Embrace funding alternatives Plan for a future of transportation innovations Include Georgia’s research universities in solutions. Expand the metro Atlanta express toll lanes into a seamless network. Improve arterial mobility Adopt transit solutions that are flexible and adaptable Enhance alternative freight routes around Atlanta Develop last-mile solutions Facts: Between 1982 and 2014, according to the Texas Transportation Institute[1]: In the Atlanta urban area, which is home to about 60 percent of Georgia’s population, the population grew 105 percent but the commuter… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Welfare Reform

Principles: Helping people move from dependency to self-sufficiency should be the primary focus of the safety net. Making work pay is essential. Working more hours or getting a pay raise should not set families back financially Programs should target benefits to the most needy. Enrollment should be coordinated to eliminate fraud and abuse and enhance efficiency. Programs should be temporary rather than permanent, with few exceptions. Recommendations: Increase public education on the availability of the Earned Income Tax Credit Strengthen work requirements Implement a cash diversion program Integrate public and private services to improve efficiency and accountability Implement commonsense welfare fraud prevention practices Facts: The federal government spent $799 billion on 129 programs for lower-income Americans in 2012.[1]Together… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Tax Reform

Principles: Minimize the impact of taxes on economic growth. Taxes are necessary to fund core government services, but every additional dollar of taxes is a discretionary dollar taken away from a family. A decision to raise taxes is an explicit decision that a government program has a higher priority and importance than individual decisions. The private sector is the source of all wealth, and is what drives improvements in the standard of living in a market-based economy. Taxes should consume as small a portion of income as possible, should not interfere with economic growth and investment and should not place the state at a competitive disadvantage. Limit exemptions to encourage a broad tax base and low rates. Exemptions shift the… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Twenty-one more Georgia counties will reinstate food stamp time limits in 2017 for able-bodied adults without dependents, according to the Division of Family and Children Services. BENITA DODD August marks the 20th anniversary of the transformative Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This bipartisan welfare reform legislation signed by President Bill Clinton on August 22, 1996, dramatically transformed the nation’s welfare system, implementing strong welfare-to-work requirements and incentivizing states to transition welfare recipients into work. The law, which created Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and replaced the 61-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children, also implemented stricter food stamp regulations. Those included time limits for some recipients and a lifetime ban for drug felons, which… View Article
California State Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell and various law enforcement groups in California have reached an agreement regarding the fate of a bill introducing various reform measures to the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws, according to The Los Angeles Times of August 5, 2016, The bill, S.B. 443, changes the requirement for seizing assets to a criminal conviction, but only for seizures of less than $40,000 in value.  This amount comes by way of a concession to the law enforcement community, who perceived the bill as too far-reaching without this addendum. “At its core, [the previous version of SB 443] sends basically a message to drug dealers that the cost of doing business has gone down,” said Ventura County… View Article

I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.

President George W. Bush more quotes