2017 Legislative Policy Forum: Transforming Education, Health Care

By Benita M. Dodd

John Goodman, "the Father of Health Care Savings Accounts," discussed health care reforms with Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen at the 2015 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. This year's Forum focuses on state options amid Congressional deadlock.

John Goodman, “the Father of Health Care Savings Accounts,” discussed health care reforms with Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen at the 2015 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. This year’s Forum focuses on state options amid Congressional deadlock.

Education and health care are two of Georgia’s biggest challenges. Effective – and cost-effective – solutions have been state goals since long before the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established in 1991.

Through events and publications such as the Guide to the Issues, the Foundation has offered Georgia-specific, limited-government, market-oriented policy solutions and alternatives. In 2010, the Foundation followed in the steps of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, then in the eighth year of its annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature, and the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum was born.

At the first daylong conference, state and national experts shared the “best ideas for Georgia in crime, education, transportation, health care and tax and budget reform.” That first conference planted the seeds of Georgia’s criminal justice reform initiative; today Georgia is a national leader. Except for a break in 2016 (for the Foundation’s 25th anniversary), the Forum has brought experts to Atlanta annually to offer innovative ideas.

The 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum takes place Friday, October 13, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. This year’s theme is “Wisdom, Justice, Transformation.” It’s a take on Georgia’s motto, “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.”

The keynote speaker is Dr. Tim Huelskamp, three-term Congressman and the new president of the renowned Heartland Institute, one of the world’s leading free-market think tanks: “the pipeline between the freedom movement’s leading writers and thinkers and the nation’s 8,400 national and state elected officials.”

Sessions focus on real-world successes in Georgia and across the nation in health care and education – successes that can be replicated by Georgia:

Success Across the State: Examples of Health Care Transformation in Georgia,” highlights companies from EmployersLikeMe.org, a vendor-free network of 125 Georgia employers aware that, “Employers pay for much of the current health system costs but often must depend on advice from others who have conflicting vested interests.” Moderated by Don Betts of EmployersLikeMe, panelists Barbara Barrett of Langdale Industries (Valdosta) Lisa Evans of Southwire (Carrollton) and Kim Johns of Mohawk (Calhoun) will share how their businesses are national models for improving quality and lowering health care costs. The state provides health care for about one-quarter of Georgia’s population; these experiences and lessons learned are invaluable as lawmakers explore cost-effective solutions without compromising quality.

For “Laboratories of Democracy: Health Care Transformation through Federal Waivers,” few match the knowledge of Rea Hederman, Executive Vice President of Ohio’s Buckeye Institute. A national expert on the federal waivers available to states under Medicaid, he has worked on Medicaid reforms with the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and the State Policy Network. Before joining the Buckeye Institute, Hederman was Director of the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation. 

For “Education Transformation: Unleashing the Teacherpreneurs and Edupreneurs,” the panelists are from Georgia but their reputation is global. They will discuss how teachers and school leaders can prepare Georgia’s children for a world dominated by artificial intelligence, and how to create the policies and ecosystems necessary to provide quality education across Georgia.

The moderator is Michael Dudgeon, Chief Technology Officer of Hi-Rez Studios and former Vice Chair of the Georgia House Education Committee. Panelist Vicki Davis is a Camilla teacher and blogger named to the 2017 Edtech 20 (a ranking of the top 20 global edtech influencers) and Forbes’ list of Top Five Edupreneur Voices. Gordon Rogers is co-founder and president of Edevate, an Atlanta-based company that leverages the potential of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and combines them with educational credentials and vocational training.

Practical proposals, accessible experts and Georgia-focused ideas. Not much gets closer to transforming Georgia than the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.

This event is open to the public and includes breakfast and lunch. Find out more here; register here by September 25 to save $25 off the registration rate of $125 or send your check by September 25 for $100 to Georgia Public Policy Foundation (Forum), 3200 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Suite 214, Atlanta, GA 30339.

For media attendance or event sponsorship opportunities, contact Benita Dodd at benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org.

Benita Dodd is vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, an independent, nonprofit think tank that proposes market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians. Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the view of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before the U.S. Congress or the Georgia Legislature.

© Georgia Public Policy Foundation (September 22, 2017). Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and her affiliations are cited.