Category: Commentaries

By Benita M. Dodd Georgia’s uninsured rate was 13.4 percent in 2017, the fourth-highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau. People without health insurance who need ongoing medical care have few options. Their frequent decision to use the emergency room for non-emergencies is financially overwhelming for all involved and imposes a heavy burden on a health-care delivery system not intended for that purpose. Heightened awareness of this challenge led to the creation of the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett 13 years ago. It grew out of an eye-opening experience for several Gwinnett County physicians who volunteered in 2003 at a free health fair in the parking lot of a low-income housing complex. Expecting to see mostly healthy… View Article

Opportunity Lost Now that Congress is Divided

By Ryan Young A divided Congress probably means the status quo will reign on regulation. This is a mixed bag from a free-market perspective. President Trump made some positive reforms upon taking office, but they were via executive order, and can be easily overturned by a future president – Congress needs to pass legislation to give reforms any staying power. Barring a lame-duck miracle, that won’t happen now. Republicans blew a rare opportunity. President Trump’s executive order reforms include a one-in-two-out rule for new regulations, and a requirement for agencies to add zero net regulatory costs – a de facto regulatory budget, which the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been advocating for more than 20 years. Agencies are not… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman The purpose of insurance is to purchase protection before the onset of a problem. You can’t buy hurricane insurance when a named storm is headed your way; an imminent claim from a known “pre-existing condition” precludes the purchase of coverage. Health insurance is different. Pre-existing conditions are prevalent. Some are born thus; many acquire chronic conditions and others deal with the normal disabilities of aging. By analyzing medical records and policy application information, health insurance companies determine whether individuals or groups seeking health coverage have a pre-existing sickness or illness. This is called “risk selection.” Insurers have the power to exclude anyone from purchasing needed health coverage. In the past, many abused this power, “cherry picking”… View Article
Reporter Newspapers published an op-ed on October 26, 2018, solicited from Benita Dodd, vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: ‘Marsy’s Law is a solution in search of a problem.’  Access the op-ed online at  www.reporternewspapers.net/2018/10/26/commentary-marsys-law-is-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem/; the op-ed is reprinted below in its entirety. The Nov. 6 ballot includes, as Question 4, a proposed state constitutional amendment that “provides rights for victims of crime in the judicial process.” The Reporter Newspapers asked two advocates to explain the pro and con arguments on the question, which is commonly known as “Marsy’s Law.” For the commentary supporting the amendment, click here. Commentary: ‘Marsy’s Law is a solution in search of a problem’ By Benita Dodd November ballots… View Article

The 5 Amendments Explained

By Kyle Wingfield If you’re confused about the five proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot, you’re not alone. The brief, vague descriptions on the ballot offer little explanation what exactly the amendments will do if approved by a majority of voters. The following is the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s interpretation of the amendments; voters should conduct their own research and come to their own conclusions. Amendment 1: Creates the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund The idea is to dedicate up to 80 percent of the sales-tax revenues from outdoor sports and recreation equipment to protect and preserve green space. State officials estimate more than $50 million per year in tax revenues from these sales, so some $40 million… View Article
Jeffrey H. Dorfman Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle and sustained major, hurricane-force winds as it entered southwest Georgia’s agricultural heartland. It appears the losses to Georgia agriculture alone will exceed $2 billion. This unprecedented hit may require similarly unprecedented responses from the private sector and government. As of this writing, I estimate Georgia cotton growers suffered $550 million in losses. Worse, Georgia pecan growers suffered $560 million in lost crop, damaged and destroyed trees, and lost future income while waiting for replanted orchards to mature. Georgia vegetable farmers also suffered heavy losses, perhaps over $400 million. Topping even that, Georgia timber owners may have lost $1 billion, with 250,000 acres completely lost and 750,000 acres with varying… View Article
By Evgenia Sidorova  The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia alarmed legislators and stakeholders when it requested over $588 million in increased contributions in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions combined, largely the result of missed actuarial assumptions. Given such a steep rise, the relatively small $25 million budget increase requested for 2019 may have signaled to some that things might be turning around for the troubled pension plan. But this would be mistaken, according to a new report published by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation that finds the Georgia TRS has several shortcomings that could further degrade its long-run solvency. The pension system currently has $24.8 billion in unfunded pension liabilities,… View Article

Medicaid Expansion, ‘Free’ Money That Costs a Lot

By Dave Emanuel “The federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for Medicaid expansion through 2016. After that, it will drop to 90 percent by 2020.” How can you beat a deal like that? Apparently, policymakers in 33 states don’t think you can. They have expanded Medicaid coverage under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for Medicaid expansion, virtually anyone with annual earnings at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible. What is left unsaid is that it is anybody’s guess what options are available to a Medicaid recipient whose income rises to 139 percent of the qualifying level. Consequently, the specter of losing coverage or having… View Article

Georgia Benefits from Nuclear Plant Expansion

By Steven Biegalski The nuclear reactor expansion project at Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, near Augusta, has been plagued by troubles: Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy, construction delays and cost overruns. Fortunately, completion of the project is still commercially viable. Moreover, it will have numerous benefits to the citizens of Georgia and to the nation as a whole. The price tag for Vogtle Units 3 and 4 has ballooned. As a reminder, costs also soared for Vogtle’s Units 1 and 2, initially estimated at $1 billion and ending up costing about $9 billion during an extended construction period of about 13 years. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy led to the scuttling of a similar project in South Carolina last year. Given the three-decade gap in U.S.… View Article

FBI Releases 2017 Uniform Crime Report

(September 24, 2018): The FBI has  released its Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for 2017, a compilation of the volume and rate of violent and property crime offenses for the nation and by state. In Georgia, violent crime declined 8.5 percent overall in 2017 compared to 2016, but the murder rate was up nearly 2 percent. Some Georgia details from the FBI database: Violent  crimes declined 8.5 percent Rape crimes declined 20.5 percent Robbery declined 18 percent Aggravated assault declined 2.3 percent Property crime declined 4 percent The murder rate increased 1.9 percent Among Georgia’s metro areas, Albany had the highest rates of violent crime, murder and aggravated assault. Columbus was worst for rape and robbery. Macon was worst… View Article

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