June 15-17: FEEcon, a three-day gathering aimed at the nation’s young freedom lovers (students and young professionals) takes place at the Omni Hotel Downtown Atlanta. It offers 10 distinct tracks, 70-plus sessions and speakers including Lawrence Reed, Glenn Jacobs (former WWE wrestler), and Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia). Full details on the schedule can be found at http://www.feecon.org/.
Quotes of note
“The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.” – Vaclav Havel
“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.” – Samuel Adams (1779)
“When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly.” – George Washington (1795)
Direct Primary Care: The governors of Virginia, Kentucky and Maine have signed laws specifying that direct primary care does not constitute health insurance. This frees doctors and patients from onerous, costly insurance requirements and regulations. “Before this bill was passed, the state Bureau of Insurance was empowered to potentially mandate that DPC practices have and maintain $1 million in capital reserves or undergo extensive and costly financial audits, which would not only crush most practitioners, but would disincentivize more physicians from pursuing this model,” the Maine Heritage Policy Center noted. Similar legislation in Georgia passed the Senate unanimously but – mysteriously – did not make it to the floor of the House this year.
Small change: From 1999 to 2015, Medicaid per-capita spending increased at an average of 2 percent per year. The metric proposed by the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as a cap increases at a rate of 3.7 percent per year, writes the Manhattan Institute’s Chris Pope in, “Why is this modest Medicaid reform so controversial?”
Criminal justice reform
Up, up and put away: The annual cost of imprisoning California’s 130,000 inmates is expected to reach a record $75,560 per prisoner in the next year, The Los Angeles Times reports. That’s more than double the 2005 cost. In fact, “That’s enough to cover the annual cost of attending Harvard University and still have plenty left over for pizza and beer.”
Dignity of work I: Oregon implemented a welfare-to-work demonstration project in Klamath Falls in the 1990s. Administrators found that when welfare applicants were informed they would have to work for their benefits, roughly a third would leave, saying if they had to work, they’d find their own job, writes Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation. “That opened up social worker time and resources to help those who really needed it.”
Dignity of work II: In 13 Alabama counties, the food stamp work requirement was enforced after three months on the program for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABWD). The food stamp rolls dropped 85 percent for the ABWD population in those counties. Georgia did the same in 21 counties this year; the number of ABWD recipients dropped 62 percent.
Letter to the Secretary: The Foundation joined a coalition of 13 state and national organizations this week in a letter to the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, urging her to champion education choice and return education to the states, local districts and parents.
Teacher quality: Colleges could improve student outcomes by paying more attention to who is teaching their classes, according to a study of more than 2,000 algebra instructors at the University of Phoenix. It found that college students with better instructors usually get better grades, and the effects continue into follow-on courses. Source: Education Next
Choice funds: Nevada’s ambitious program to give all public school students the option to take state money allocated to them and use it instead for private school tuition or other approved education-related expenses died after legislators refused to fund the program. In a compromise deal, $20 million in tax credits was approved for the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program but nothing went to Education Savings Accounts. Source: the74million.org
This month in the archives: In June 10 years ago the Foundation published, “Water: Balloons, Guns, Slides in Policy.” It noted, “Like transit, conservation is a ‘nice idea’ – for everyone else. But it backfires on utilities, which must rely on revenues to improve, expand and repair infrastructure. If customers use less water, there’s less money to repair ailing infrastructure, while costs balloon and efficiency suffers.”
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Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Get Real About the Federal Education Budget,” by Larry Sand.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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