Friday Facts: March 16th, 2012

It’s Friday!


 Tuesday is the deadline to register for the Foundation’s March 22 Leadership Breakfast! Just days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments regarding the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Georgia anticipates the aftermath, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and health care expert Ronald E. Bachman will provide a timely, “Georgia Health Care Update,” at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 22, 2012, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Find out more at online by Tuesday, March 20, at This Leadership Breakfast will cost $25 to attend.


Quotes of note
“We believe that parents should have the freedom to choose whatever education is best for their kids. Government absolutely should provide funding for public education, but once that funding is provided there’s no reason why parents shouldn’t be able to pick from a whole range of choices.” – John Carson, president, Douglas County (Colo.) school board


– Is it speculation? “Why are gasoline prices so high and what can be done about it?” is the title of an article in The American magazine by Kenneth Green that offers some realistic solutions. “When explaining gasoline price hikes, policymakers point first to things like oil company profits, but lately, more attention has been paid to so-called ‘speculators:’ people who buy oil futures as an investment, never intending to actually take possession of the oil that they have contracted for.” Green cites a Forbes report that, “while speculation has been shown capable of causing short-term price spikes in the past, there is little evidence that speculation is a cause of oil price hikes since 2005.” Read more at



– EduFactPrivate companies profiteering? In a proposal being debated in the Georgia Legislature, state-chartered schools would be funded at an amount equal to the average of the lowest 3 percent of school systems in the state. If private companies can make millions of dollars on Georgia’s lowest funded schools, then this state has bigger problems than charter schools!

–  The Foundation’s Benita Dodd responded to criticism of charter schools by a Cobb County school board member with a letter to the editor of the Marietta Daily Journal in which she notes, “Until the money follows the child, student achievement will get the short end of the stick while bureaucrats quibble over whether it’s local or state money, and local or state control.” Read the letter here


Health care

 “Health Care: A Roadmap to Innovation,” by Ross Mason, is the Foundation’s newest Issue Analysis, proposing a partnership with the U.S. Military as the first step in establishing Georgia as a leader in health innovation. In a related event, we are proud to join with several other nonprofit sponsors to announce the creation of the Georgia Warrior Alliance. The Georgia Warrior Alliance Inaugural Summit will be held at Calloway Gardens on April 14. Click here for more information:  Read the Issue Analysis here:

– Cost transparency: Kudos to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia’s new program that will help members in Atlanta and other urban areas compare the price and quality of imaging services, like MRIs and CT scans. With costs varying radically depending on the facility – some charge as low as $400, others as high as $2000, shopping around can result in large savings. The program will also be rolled out in other major cities, including Savannah, Macon, and Augusta. Source:

– Food for thought: “When we expand a public insurance plan for low-income patients, we are spending billions of dollars in a way that doesn’t increase their access to care,” John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis points out in his blog.  “At the same time, we forbid the enrollees to do the one thing that would expand access to care. Contrast this foolishness with the Food Stamp program. Low-income shoppers can enter any supermarket in America and buy almost anything the market has to offer by adding cash to the “voucher” the government gives them. They can buy everything you and I can buy because they pay the same price you and I pay. But we absolutely forbid them to do the same thing in the medical marketplace.” Read more here: (Something for Georgia to consider as the state looks to reform Medicaid.)

– From bad to worse: New cost estimates show the federal health care legislation will cost up to $2 trillion, double the original estimates, and 4 million Americans will no longer get their insurance through their employers. Read more here: Source:


Taxes and spending

– Fee debate: Not using supposedly dedicated fees for their intended purpose would be fraudulent and unethical if it were a business, but the State of Georgia has been diverting fees for years. Diverting fees may be better than raising taxes during a recession, but when this occurs the state should at the very least issue an IOU then pay back the funds in full when the economy recovers.

– Regulation strangulation: Some 10,215 new federal regulations from the Obama administration are costing consumers, businesses and the economy overall $46 billion annually, more than five times the regulatory price tag of former President Bush in his first three years in office. Worse: just implementing those regulations had a one-time additional cost of $11 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis. Ironically, George W. Bush instituted more regulations, 10,674, but they cost just $8.1 billion annually, said the Heritage report, titled “Red Tape Rising: Obama and Regulation at the Three Year Mark.” Read more here:



– Private sector moves in on transit: In response to cuts to Detroit’s late night public bus service and even some earlier routes, one entrepreneur hopes he can pick up where the city’s bus system has left off. In January, Andy Didorosi bought three buses and began to organize the Detroit Bus Co., a private transit operation that is completing its regulatory papers now and expects to start service in late April, according to an Atlantic Cities report. Read more here:


Social media

– This week in The Forum: With less than two weeks until the start of U.S. Supreme Court hearings, Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd writes about legal and media strategies that are developing as the Court prepares to hear the constitutional challenge to President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Read more in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at  Forum Editor Mike Klein wrote about the anticipated new criminal justice reform legislation at The Forum also dusted off pages from a 10-year-old Georgia sentencing commission report that describe almost exactly the same challenges we face today. Read more at A criminal justice reform commentary written by Kenneth L. Shigley, president of the State Bar of Georgia, is posted here: And Foundation Senior Fellow Eric Wearne describes the Stanford University professor who left behind bricks and mortar so that his online instruction could reach students around the world. Read more at Read these and other recent Foundation articles at

– Twitter update: The Foundation gained 78 followers in the past week. Are you among the nearly 600 following us at

- Facebook: Join the more than 5,500 Foundation Facebook fans at and get your policy news first!

– Visit to read our commentary today, “An Uncommon Approach to Costly Common Core Education Standards,” by Sherena Arrington.

Have a great weekend.


Kelly McCutchen


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