Friday Facts: August 18, 2017

It’s Friday! 

2015 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum panel discussion.
2015 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum panel discussion.

Mark your calendar: The 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum will take place October 13 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. Details to follow! 

Quotes of note

“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” – Thomas Jefferson (1808)

“We hate some persons because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them.” – Charles Caleb Colton (1820)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (1963)


Education poll: The 2017 EdNext Poll on School Reform shows a 12 percent decline in support for public charter schools, but opposition to other school choice policies has lessened. A year ago, 29 percent of respondents opposed tax credit–funded scholarships that allow low-income students to attend private schools. That approach is used by 16 states, including Georgia, and rumored to be under consideration by the Trump administration. In 2017, the opposition has fallen to just 24 percent; 55 percent of respondents favor the approach. Opposition to vouchers also declined.

Energy and environment

Solar eclipse: To view the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States in 38 years Monday you must be in the “path of totality,” a 70-mile-wide ribbon that will cross the country from West to East. The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Ore., at 9:05 a.m. PDT. The shadow of the moon will first touch Georgia at 2:34 p.m. and leave the state at 2:40 p.m. The northeastern corner of Georgia is in the path of totality. The shadow of the moon passes by quickly, at about 1,800 miles per hour, according to NASA.

Health care

Subsidy distraction: The real health care problem is not the end of the ObamaCare “cost-sharing” subsidy, which has been ruled unconstitutional for making payments without appropriation by Congress. In fact,  The Wall Street Journal notes the Congressional Budget Office says “choking off the payments would produce no significant change in the number of insured individuals, at least not any time soon.” Of greater concern are the skyrocketing premiums in Georgia, the lack of insurers, struggling rural hospitals, high numbers of uninsured, and massive wasteful spending. As the Foundation noted this week, the state needs to act.

Calling for care: Telemedicine is making quality care a reality for people in underserved areas of Georgia, Georgia Trend reports. This can provide important specialty care and, in some cases primary care, in rural Georgia. The Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals notes that 79 of Georgia’s 159 counties have no obstetrician, and six are without even a primary care physician. We’ve been saying this for a while, including in a 2015 study that shows how telehealth can improve quality and reduce costs. Source: Georgia Trend  


Problem: On the heels of an article by American City Business Journals detailing the downturn in public transportation ridership, The Wall Street cites a 13 percent decline in city bus ridership in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter in 2007 and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports MARTA ridership is down more than 2 percent this year, “part of a long-term decline that has only occasionally been interrupted by fits of growth.”

Solutions: Efforts around the nation to reduce the decline in transit ridership include redrawing bus routes, partnering with ride-share services to offer subsidized rides in areas with few transit options or developing in-house on-demand services. MARTA is planning rail line expansion. As the Foundation has noted before, we’d like to see a future embracing the promise in autonomous vehicles.

Managing transit: A new study finds managed express lanes are a cheaper, better option for mass transit, using express commuter bus service from all parts of a metro area to all major job centers. Tory Gattis of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism suggests commuters would go to their nearest Park-and-Ride center by car or transit to board the express bus. The express toll lanes provide a high-speed, point-to-point ride and circulate through the destination job center to help eliminate transfers. Commuters could also use first-mile/last-mile ride-share services. This is promising for metro Atlanta as the toll lane network expands.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In August 10 years ago the Foundation published, “Transportation Solutions For a Transit-Challenged Region.” It noted, “Instead of trying to get people out of their cars, why don’t we try solving the real problems caused by cars?”  


Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kelly McCutchen in an article on Medicaid waivers and state health care reforms. Kelly was also interviewed about health care for WABE’s Morning Edition. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Benita Dodd in an article on MARTA’s declining ridership. The Bryan County News published Gerard Robinson’s commentary on the importance of literacy.

Social media: The Foundation has 3,234 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,752 followers at Follow us on Instagram, too!

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Free Speech Must Persevere on Campus,” by Eric Wearne.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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