Friday Facts: December 20, 2013

It’s Friday!

It’s nearing year’s end, and we’d like to remind you: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Friday Facts, our most popular product, exist thanks to your support and contributions. Please help us continue “Changing Georgia Policy, Changing Georgians’ Lives,” with your tax-deductible end-of-year contribution at

Quote of Note

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge


January 28, 2014: Join the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and education experts Eric Wearne, Jim Kelly and Ben Scafidi at Cobb County’s Georgian Club for an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast and panel discussion celebrating National School Choice Week: “School Choice and Georgia: An Update.” The first 50 people to register for this event will receive their very own school choice woobie – and you can wear it to the School Choice Rally at the Capitol that day! This event is $25 to attend. Register by Friday, January 24, 2014, online at

The Five Most Watched Foundation Videos of 2013

Taxes and spending

Fiscal Responsibility: If Santa looks at states when making a list of who’s naughty or nice, he will find Georgia was one of seven states that most improved the condition of their pension funds since 2009, according to the Institute for Trust in Accounting.

Midlife crisis: As Americans age, more and more of the tax burden will be borne by older taxpayers. In 1997, 61 percent of all income taxes were paid by taxpayers over age 45. Today, that burden has jumped to 74 percent. The biggest increase has been in the tax share paid by taxpayers between 55 and 65. In 1997, this group paid 18 percent of all income taxes. Today, they are paying 27 percent of all income taxes. Those over age 65 are now paying nearly one-fifth of all income taxes. Source: Tax Foundation

Economic Opportunity: “The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00” — not the headline you would expect on a New York Times editorial, but well written!

Georgia Medicaid Expansion

Fewer uninsured than reported: A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation points out that since federal subsidies will be available to assist the purchase of private insurance for families with incomes above the Federal Poverty Level, the number left uninsured if Georgia does not expand Medicaid is 409,350 instead of the 650,000 most news organizations have reported.

Costs may be higher than expected: Even if Georgia does not expand Medicaid eligibility, the state could be facing a $385 million annual increase in Medicaid costs. This comes on the heels of the provider fee increase this year that raised $689 million to fill a shortfall in the Medicaid program. The Urban Institute estimates there are 159,000 adult, low-income Georgians eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled. The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) projections assume less than 25,000 of these Georgians will sign up for Medicaid. But what if they are wrong, especially with millions of dollars being spent around the nation to encourage individuals to sign up for health insurance? The DCH estimates these new Medicaid enrollees will cost more than $5,800 per person. For comparison, the average cost of charity care for the uninsured is approximately $1,500 per person.

Crowd Out: According to the Census Bureau, 275,000 adults with income below the Federal Poverty Line are currently covered by private insurance. Even if their policies are not cancelled by ObamaCare regulations, these individuals would be tempted to drop their private insurance in favor of “free” Medicaid coverage.

Media and social media

YouTube: We have more than 36,000 views on our YouTube channel already. View Foundation events at

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The Forum: Thirteen months after work began, the state released a new Digital Learning Task Force report that is full of details but short on vision and goals. Foundation Editor Mike Klein wrote, “Nothing is specifically required of anyone and there is no single goal that is identifiable to anyone.” By unanimous vote, the Council on Criminal Justice Reform gave preliminary approval to several prisoner re-entry and other policy recommendations. One idea known as “Ban the Box” would take a question about whether an applicant had ever been convicted of a felony off most but not all state government employment applications.

Visit to read our latest commentary, “School Choice: Study Shows It’s About More Than Scores” by Benita Dodd.

Have a great weekend and a blessed Christmas!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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