TOP POLICY STORIES
Oregon’s $1.9 Billion Medicaid Slush Fund, Benjamin Domenech, The Heartland Institute
In keeping with the Obama administration’s solutions when it comes to policy problems in other areas, its latest response to the challenge of health care costs is simple: Spend more money. The latest example comes in the form of a major bet by the White House on Oregon’s proposed Medicaid alterations, approved last week in a surprising decision. The cost to taxpayers? $1.9 billion:
“It all, however, does hinge on a very big “if”: No other state has ever tried what Oregon is about to try. It is, however, an approach many health care payers are thinking about: It’s how Massachusetts wants to bring down health costs in private insurance, and the federal government’s plan [to] rein in Medicare spending. Oregon could, in many ways, serve as a test case for other cost control efforts.” (read full article)
Alaska Attorney General Stands Up Against EPA, James M. Taylor, The Heartland Institute
Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty has written a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promising the state will employ “all available legal options” if the federal agency blocks development of Pebble Mine, a gold and copper mine opposed by environmental activist groups.
Activists claim the mine will diminish water quality in nearby Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska. Geraghty contests those claims, and warns EPA that it does not have authority under the Clean Water Act to block the mine. (read more)
Illinois Governor Ties Medicaid Reform to Higher Cigarette Tax, John Skorburg, The Heartland Institute
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) has announced a plan to “stabilize Illinois’ Medicaid system and prevent collapse of the program” that includes a$1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax. This would more than double the Illinois cigarette tax.
State budget officials project the tax increase would bring in $337.5 million annually. With federal matching funds the total revenue increase would be $675 million to plug a $2.7 billion Medicaid budget hole. (read more)
Wednesday’s School Reform News Roundup, Joy Pullmann, The Heartland Institute
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie named a tax-credit scholarship for kids in the state’s worst schools his top priority in the current legislative session. He then went on the warpath against the state’s largest teachers union, which opposes the voucher-like program, calling them ”bullies” with a “$130 million slush fund.” (read more)
Research & Commentary: Pet Insurance as a Policy Model, Deborah Bailin, The Heartland Institute
According to 2011–12 statistics from the Humane Society of the United States, U.S. residents own approximately 78.2 million dogs and 86.4 million cats. Insurance industry experts estimate, however, that only between 1 and 5 percent of these companion animals have insurance policies for their health care purchased by their owners. (read more)
NC Among Tops Nationally for Warrantless Cell-Phone Tracking, Alyssa Carducci, writes from Tampa Florida
Local law enforcement agencies commonly track cell phones as a surveillance tool without a warrant or court oversight, according to ACLU documents released in March. Documents from more than 200 local law-enforcement agencies obtained by the ACLU through Freedom of Information Act requests revealed many sheriffs and local police track cell phones associated with criminal activity without a warrant. (read more)
Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly: Multi-Tasking, Maureen Martin, The Heartland Institute
An Illinois judge is suspected of trying to access 243 adult sites while hearing cases. The list of sites, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, includes “chubbyparade.com, hugeheavybreasts.com, bigbras-club.com,portofdebauchery.com, andteenagesextape.com.” Many other sites “have names that can’t be printed in a family newspaper. Several suggest an interest in masturbation and large breasted women, the paper said.” (read more)
Subscribe to iTunes to get the latest podcasts as soon as they are produced! Just search for “Heartland Institute” in the iTunes store. (listen here)
Your steadfast support of The Heartland Institute, its mission, and free-market ideas helps change public policy and America!