Category: Commentaries

Nine Reasons to Question Medicaid Expansion

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) expanded Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, however, that states are not mandated to expand Medicaid coverage. As of January 2014, Georgia and 23 other states had chosen not to expand Medicaid. Although most reports have indicated 650,000 uninsured individuals are impacted by Georgia’s Medicaid expansion decision, approximately 240,000 have incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the FPL and will be eligible for subsidies in the exchange. That leaves about 410,000 who have incomes below the poverty level but are not currently eligible for Medicaid or other subsidies.[1] So by… View Article

Long-Term Care (LTC)

Georgia faces multi-faceted long-term care problems including: A rapidly increasing elderly population Higher numbers of recipients with disabilities or dementia A Medicaid program already strained as the principal LTC payer Dependence on funding from the heavily indebted federal government State revenues constrained by recessionary pressures and limited future economic prospects Very little private financing of LTC to relieve the budgetary pressure on public programs Heavy public dependency on social programs and a growing “entitlement mentality” among the citizenry LTC is expensive whether received in a nursing home, an assisted living facility or in one’s own home.[1] The risk of needing some form of long-term care after age 65 is 69%.[2] The catastrophic risk of needing five years or… View Article

Atlanta’s Icy Logjam a Beacon of Hope for The Future

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD The metro Atlanta region came to a standstill this week, its interstates, highways and side streets glazed over with ice after a sudden snowfall, and thousands of commuters left stranded. Children spent the night at school, people bedded down in churches, restaurants, hotel lobbies and grocery stores. The rest of America chuckled good-humoredly at those silly Atlantans who can’t even drive in a dusting of snow. The fingerpointing and soul-searching began early. Whose fault? Why didn’t government learn from the last ice storm? What can policy-makers do better next time? What is wrong with motor-centric Atlanta that it won’t embrace mass transit? Why isn’t Georgia spending more on (fill in the blank)? None of… View Article

Replacing the Gas Tax: Lessons Learned from Oregon

Leonard Gilroy reports that, “Like in most states, Oregon transportation officials are grappling with a long-term decline in the purchasing power of the gas tax and the erosion of its utility as a mechanism to generate highway funding, given the rise in more fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as electric and other vehicles that minimize or eliminate gasoline use altogether. Having been the first state to adopt a gas tax to fund transportation infrastructure nearly a century ago, Oregon has in recent years taken the lead among states with regard to advancing the concept that may ultimately replace the beleaguered gas tax—mileage-based road user charges.” In “Pioneering Road User Charges in Oregon,” Gilroy, Director of Government Reform at the … View Article

America’s Longest War: The War on Poverty

  BENITA DODD By Benita M. Dodd Fifty years ago this month – on January 8, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson announced an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” Considering the money spent on poverty-related programs in the ensuing half century – $16 trillion, according to the Cato Institute – and the percentage of Americans still listed as poor, it’s time to concede defeat, change strategy or redefine poverty. Conceding defeat against poverty is unacceptable, of course. But redefining poverty means building a better safety net, not opening a bigger umbrella, as President Obama is expected to propose in his State of the Union Address this month. He’s expected to dramatize income inequality – the gap between the… View Article

Singapore’s Welfare Model

In transitioning away from the failed federal “War on Poverty” and its massive entitlement programs, the United States could examine the Singapore model of social welfare as a transition. This model replaces high taxes and large entitlement spending with mandatory savings where the government serves as a safety valve. NCPA’s John Goodman on the subject: In 1984, Richard Rahn and I wrote an editorial in The Wall Street Journal in which we proposed a savings account for health care. We called it a Medical IRA. That same year, Singapore instituted a related idea: a system of compulsory Medisave accounts. Through the years, my colleagues and I at the National Center for Policy Analysis have kept track of the Singapore… View Article

School Choice: Study Shows It’s About More Than Scores

By Benita M. Dodd         BENITA DODD The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice recently released an eye-opening analysis of why and how parents choose private schools. The analysis by the national nonprofit organization is worth the read for Georgians especially. It is Georgia-based, undertaken by Georgia Public Policy Foundation senior fellows Jim Kelly and Dr. Benjamin Scafidi, and uses the results of a survey of Georgia parents of K–12 private school scholarship recipients. The study, “More than Scores,” is available at www.edchoice.org. It addresses what parents focus on in choosing a school; what information schools should provide, and whether school choice – public or private – would provide a more “spontaneous education order.” The authors of the study say they addressed… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Benita DoddVice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Money talks, especially at the Georgia General Assembly, where the state’s ongoing funding challenges and growing needs inspired separate Senate committee hearings this week, one investigating public-private partnerships (PPPs) for Georgia infrastructure and the other working on integrating metro Atlanta’s public transportation services. Several challenges are encouraging governments to think outside the box. There continues to be talk about “federal” funds – otherwise referred to as taxpayer dollars – coming to the states, but the partisan divide in federal budget negotiations has left states pessimistic. In addition, it’s increasingly evident that states’ needs outstrip federal largesse, that federal largesse is shrinking and that local governments have to do more… View Article
By Ross Mason Ross Mason, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation When the governor paints the state’s financial picture as “daunting” and Medicaid is at least $700 million in the red, you know it’s time to get serious about the state budget. Such is the task before Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly when the Legislature convenes in January to adopt a 2014 fiscal plan that not only is in balance but meets all the state’s critical needs. With less revenue and a lingering recession, the state could reduce its health care costs by more than $700 million annually if it scrapped its broken medical malpractice system and replaced it with a no-blame, administrative compensation system that gives… View Article
By Joanna Shepherd-Bailey Jennifer Shiver knows what it means to not only be a young widow, but a widow with two young boys to be raised on her own. The Cumming mother is among thousands of silent victims of medical malpractice each year who are either harmed by a doctor or lose a family member due to medical negligence. When Jennifer’s husband died from complications from a botched bariatric bypass surgery, her life only got worse when no lawyer would take the case. As a result, she received no compensation from her husband’s death and has struggled to raise her family. The lawyers said they just couldn’t make enough money off the case. Many know the current medical liability system… View Article

As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.

Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes