Category: Commentaries

By Ben Scafidi BENJAMIN SCAFIDI Cuts to family budgets have been significant since the Great Recession began in late 2007. Likewise, cuts to public school budgets in Georgia – and nationally – have been significant as well. That said, the economic challenges facing public schools during the Great Recession need to be put in historical context. A recent Georgia State University policy brief reported an 18.9 percent increase in the state’s public school teachers between 2001 and 2012, and a 28 percent increase in school-based administrators.  The report did not mention the increase in students during that same period: 16.6 percent. Thus, in 2012 public school students in Georgia had proportionately more staffing than students had in 2001. Put differently,… View Article

With Health IT, Familiarity Breeds Content

By Greg Scandlen Health Affairs recently announced its top 15 articles for 2013, and has made them available to nonsubscribers. The top article was by a pair of RAND researchers updating what is known about the health information technology (HIT) roll out from the 2009 HITECH law, appropriating $20 billion to upgrade information technology throughout the health care system. It doesn’t take long ― like just the abstract ― to figure out that people haven’t learned a blessed thing from flushing $20 billion down the toilet.  A team of RAND Corporation researchers projected in 2005 that rapid adoption of health information technology (IT) could save the United States more than $81 billion annually. This original “study” was horrendously flawed. They… View Article

Fostering Better Care of Georgia’s Children

By Tarren Bragdon and Benita M. Dodd For a child who is being abused and neglected every day, every hour, every minute counts. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and State Sen. Renee Unterman are leading the charge to improve Georgia’s child welfare system, building upon proven reforms that are right for children who enter the foster system.   As individuals touched by the system – Tarren Bragdon is an adoptive parent; Benita Dodd has foster sisters – the authors understand all too well the clarity of the goal. From personal experience, these authors understand the need for Georgia’s child welfare system to be quick to respond to allegations of abuse, to allow families to remain together when possible through strong support services… View Article

Georgia Should Maintain its Leadership in Charity Care

Regardless of Georgia’s decision on Medicaid expansion, hundreds of thousands of Georgians will remain uninsured. One immediate way to help the uninsured (and save money) is to provide access to primary care clinics instead of expensive and unnecessary trips to emergency rooms. Thanks to leadership and private support, Georgia is a national leader in charity care. Leveraging this great asset should be the first step to helping the indigent and uninsured. In 2004, the Sutherland Institute of Utah, a state-based think tank like the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, published a study titled, “To the Least of These – A Moral Case for Providing Authentic Charity Care.” The study, and a later study in 2008, outlined a charitable health… View Article

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

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been a catalyst for common sense proposals—and elected officials are listening and reacting.

U.S. Senator Bill Frist more quotes