On August 9, The Heartland Institute held its 2012 Emerging Issues Forum in Chicago, Illinois. More than 140 people attended, including more than 85 legislators from at least 32 states.
One of the most talked-about panels at the event was the health care panel, which featured Georgia state Sen. Judson Hill, Dr. Jill Vecchio from Docs4PatientCare, Christie Herrera from the Foundation for Government Accountability, and Benjamin Domenech from Heartland’s Health Care News.
The panel discussed in depth why states should avoid implementing exchanges and expanding Medicaid. Here are just two highlights:
Judson Hill on Medicaid expansion: “It’s a bait. They give you money and then gradually pull it away and then they say politically let’s see what you are going to do now. You’ve got a new entitlement or an expanded entitlement in your state and you don’t have the political will or the capability to reduce that expansion.”
Benjamin Domenech on health exchanges: “All it really does is cede control and power to Washington while leaving you holding the bag in terms of the administrative costs and the actual burden of running it. … As of this moment only 13 states have actually submitted their applications in time in order to create an exchange.”
The take-away from the panel was that states should resist implementing these costly provisions and focus their efforts on restructuring their Medicaid programs with consumer-driven health care reforms that make it easier and more affordable for people to get quality health insurance.
You can see the video of the panel here. If you have any questions about these issues please contact Heartland’s manager of external relations, Kendall Antekeier, at [email protected] or 312/377-4000.
This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary addressing health care legal challenges, broadband reclassification, education property tax reform, e-cigarettes, Fannie and Freddie, and renewable portfolio standards in Michigan.
In an article published in Right Side News and Health Care News, Kendall Antekeier discusses potential lawsuits against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Though the Supreme Court ruled the individual mandate constitutional, Kendall says the legal challenges to the federal health law will continue.
“The case taken by the Supreme Court, NFIB v. Sebelius, contained a broad challenge to the law’s constitutionality, including challenges to the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion created by the law,” she writes. “Future lawsuits will focus on specific parts of the law which may violate other constitutional rights. Though these lawsuits are more defined in nature, these challenges could still put the future of the federal health care law at risk.”
What We’re Working On
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines broadband reclassification, the proposed “Third Way” reclassification, and possible effects on the telecom market. The Obama administration’s Federal Communications Commission has undertaken several efforts to increase its regulatory power over the Internet by reclassifying broadband access services from their current status as an informational service to a Title II telecommunications service.
The Internet has thrived because of its open, market-based nature. Imposing a vast new array of government regulations under Title II would stifle what has made the Internet one of the biggest growth sectors of the economy.
In this Research & Commentary, Research Fellow Joy Pullmann discusses reforming the property tax structure to pay for education in several states. While progressives want to see the tax burden shifted more to people with higher incomes, free-market proponents favor taxing people in the least complicated and most equal manner possible, thus reducing tax barriers to economic opportunity.
Joy writes, “Education spending has increased far faster than student enrollment in almost every state, yet research shows tax-and-spend education policies do not improve student outcomes. Offering families school choice is a demonstrated way to reduce state education expenditures—and thus burdensome taxes—while creating better education opportunities and outcomes for students.”
In this Research & Commentary Matthew examines electronic cigarettes, tobacco harm reduction, and various proposals to regulate e-cigarette use. Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” have quickly become one of the most popular nicotine replacement products and a key building block in tobacco harm reduction strategies. An e-cigarette vaporizes a solution of either propylene glycol or glycerin with a weak concentration of nicotine; this simulates the act of smoking and gives smokers their nicotine fix while eliminating the harmful compounds found in tobacco smoke.
In this article from the Heartlander digital magazine, Research Fellow Steve Stanek, managing editor of Budget & Tax News, speaks with legislators and economic experts on the new agreement and what it means for the future of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The Obama administration, without action by Congress, has restructured terms of the federal government’s bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the government-sponsored mortgage behemoths that went into government conservatorship in 2008.
The restructured agreement will end the quarterly dividend payments. Instead, the government will take any profits Fannie and Freddie earn. However, if their financial performance again turns bad and profits do not materialize, the government will receive no payments.
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Taylor Smith examines renewable energy portfolio mandates, how they are applied, and their economic effects. Critics of renewable energy portfolio mandates argue they raise energy costs for a state with already high electricity prices and divert significant resources from entrepreneurs in other sectors to produce a relatively small amount of “green jobs.” Michigan currently has the largest reserves of natural gas in the Great Lakes region, and thus is in a unique position to avoid renewable energy standards and take advantage of its own natural energy resources.
Taylor explains, “Experiences and evidence from other states show that increasing Michigan’s renewable energy mandate will unnecessarily raise electricity prices, destroy jobs, and distort and destabilize resource allocation. Instead, Michigan should allow the private sector to develop the state’s abundant natural gas reserves and other competitively priced energy resources.”
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Heartland’s Emerging Issues Call
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The August issue of Environment & Climate News reports on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement of plans to hold a fire sale of unused trains purchased by the state as part of a failed high-speed rail project. The state is hoping to recoup half a million dollars from the sale of the trains, a far cry from the $70 million the state invested in the project.