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Posts Tagged ‘States’
October 30th, 2017 at 11:52 am
Image of the Day: More Freedom, More Growth
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We’ve often highlighted the direct statistical relationship between economic freedom and prosperity, but typically the comparison is between countries.  Courtesy of Adam Millsap of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, however, we can visualize the same freedom/prosperity relationship among individual U.S. states.

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More Freedom, More Growth

More Freedom, More Growth

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To paraphrase Dr. John Lott, more freedom, more growth.

May 4th, 2015 at 7:59 pm
ObamaCare Exchanges Are Losing Money

The reason 35 states chose not to build a local ObamaCare exchange – even though the federal government made billions of dollars available to do so – is pretty simple: After an initial burst of funding the a state must foot the bill to maintain it.

That’s turning out to be a very costly proposition.

Consider Oregon.

“The case of Oregon is the most extreme,” explains an editorial in the Washington Examiner. “After spending $200 million to develop its own health insurance exchange, the Beaver State was forced to abandon it altogether because of pervasive and intractable technical problems.”

It gets worse.

“Tiny Vermont spent roughly $4,000 for every uninsured Vermonter to develop its exchange – more than enough to buy a pre-ObamaCare policy for everyone for an entire year,” says the editorial. “And yet after spending so much, the Green Mountain State may soon follow Oregon’s lead in abandoning its creation. Minnesota faces a similar situation.”

Recall that ObamaCare’s upfront establishment grant money was designed to make it seem like the controversial health law didn’t add to the federal deficit by enticing states to take on the legacy costs of operating the exchanges. With Healthcare.gov becoming the de facto nationwide ObamaCare exchange, that gamble has backfired, but not before wasting lots of taxpayer money.

April 29th, 2015 at 5:58 pm
IG Warning: States May be Illegally Using ObamaCare Grants

At least 37 states have received a total of $4.8 billion to implement ObamaCare, but under the terms of the “establishment grants” those monies cannot be used to pay for overhead costs like rent, software maintenance, staffing and utilities.

That hasn’t stopped some states from trying, apparently.

“We have concerns that, without more detailed guidance from [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid], [State-based ObamaCare exchanges] might have used, and might continue to use, establishment grant funds for operating expenses after January 1, 2015, contrary to law,” writes the Inspector General at the Health and Human Services Department.

“In media reports and during our review of [states’] budget information, we have observed that some [states] face uncertain operating revenues in 2015 and future years. Because operating revenues are uncertain, there is a risk that [states] might use establishment grant funds to cover operational expenses,” warns the IG’s letter.

The IG points to evidence that the Rhode Island exchange does not have a dedicated funding source, and the Washington exchange is short $125 million unless the state legislature steps in.

In other words, ObamaCare gave seed money to start expensive new state agencies that are now supposed to be self-sustaining. At least two are not, and the tone of the IG’s letter implies that many more are suspect.

If an enterprising conservative committee chairman wants to protect taxpayers while exposing one of the failures of ObamaCare, following up on the IG’s warning letter with a detailed investigation would be a good strategy.

H/T: The Hill

March 10th, 2015 at 5:33 pm
Lessons from Britain in Repealing ObamaCare

Daniel Hannan, a British conservative serving in the European Parliament, warns Americans about the danger of propping up ObamaCare long enough for it to get entrenched in everyday life.

“ObamaCare isn’t a precise copy of the British health system. But there is one parallel on which its exponents are relying, namely the conflation of their healthcare model with the people who work in it,” writes Hannan. “The chairman of the body in charge of overseeing care quality in Britain recently put his finger on the problem: ‘The NHS became too powerful to criticize. When things were going wrong, people didn’t say anything. If you criticized the NHS – the attitude was how dare you?’”

Something similar seems to be happening now. Some states are getting ready to install ObamaCare exchanges if the Supreme Court strikes down the IRS subsidies as unlawfully distributed to people using the federal Healthcare.gov website.

Others are suggesting the creation of an “off-ramp” from ObamaCare that would keep the subsidies flowing until the 2016 presidential election, but would also extend the health law’s life span.

These kinds of half-measures do nothing to help move health reform in a more sustainable, market-oriented direction. All they do is put a bipartisan face on ObamaCare, albeit in an altered form.

Part of what makes repealing ObamaCare a realistic option is the steadfast resistance from state and federal Republicans in implementing it. If even a significant minority of GOP leaders start to go along with saving ObamaCare – in whatever form – then the United States runs the risk that Hannan in Britain knows all too well.

Socialized medicine will be here to stay.

March 10th, 2015 at 2:49 pm
States Should Resist Push to Start Exchanges, Save ObamaCare

If the U.S. Supreme Court (correctly) interprets the health care law as disallowing insurance subsidies for citizens using the federal Healthcare.gov website, some states are preparing to fast-track the process for creating their own ObamaCare exchanges.

That process won’t be easy.

“The first step would be enactment of a law authorizing a state agency, nonprofit or public-private entity to run the exchange. Next, the state would have to build or acquire a website to enroll residents, take over contracts with insurance carriers, develop a consumer assistance program and create a bureaucracy to operate the exchange,” says a summary published by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Nor will it be cheap. States that opted to build their own exchanges had almost three years to get them up-and-running, and there were still a number of expensive failures. Trying to accelerate the process into a matter of months will only invite more wasted taxpayer money.

States that refused to sink money into an ObamaCare exchange were right to resist adding another layer to their health care bureaucracies. Citizens don’t need another government program with costly administrators. We need a simplified system of health care delivery that frees up more money for treatment and prevention.

January 22nd, 2015 at 8:50 pm
Doctor Pay Raise Increases Medicaid Access

Think rationing health care spending has an effect of which patients doctors see?

A new study released by the New England Journal of Medicine found that Medicaid beneficiaries enjoyed a 7.7 percent bump in the number of appointments doctors scheduled with them when government reimbursement rates increased.

Unfortunately for the poor who use Medicaid, once ObamaCare’s temporary subsidy phased out, states didn’t have the extra money to continue the higher reimbursements to doctors.

And so, it’s likely that doctors will respond to the new (lower) price signal and cut back on the number of Medicaid patients they schedule.

From a policy perspective this study confirms that doctors respond to economic incentives, and that if we as a society are going to help the poorest of the poor get adequate health care Congress and the president need to start prioritizing federal spending so that there’s more money available to help those who need it.

If the folks in Washington, D.C. are looking for a place to start trimming, former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) “Wastebook 2014” is a good place to start.

December 11th, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Now, 24 States Are Suing to Stop Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty

Nearly half of the States in America are now suing the Obama administration to stop the president’s unilateral and unconstitutional directive to grant temporary amnesty and work permits to as many as five million illegal immigrants.

Current Texas Attorney General and incoming Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, announced four new states joining the coalition he assembled that is seeking to have the federal courts halt a Department of Homeland Security directive that violates both the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The latest roster includes: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

If this trend keeps up, it won’t take much longer for a majority of states to oppose what to all reasonable observers is an unprecedented power grab by this president.

Hopefully, the federal courts are listening.

February 16th, 2013 at 6:19 pm
Deadline Passed, 24 States Refuse ObamaCare Exchange

Unless the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decides to once again bump back the deadline that passed yesterday, as of right now 24 states have told the Obama Administration they will not create a state-based health insurance exchange.

Under the terms of ObamaCare, this means that HHS will now take over the process in these states, adding hundreds of millions in new costs to federal taxpayers.  Moreover, the short time horizon between now and October when the plans must be available on the exchanges (they’ll be effective next January), means that there is likely to be an enormous push to hire more HHS bureaucrats to get the job done.

It’s been said that when it comes to something being fast, accurate, and cheap, you can have any two but not all three.  If history is any guide, the feds will go oh-for-three.

H/T: Washington Times

October 23rd, 2012 at 5:56 pm
Want to Keep More of Your Income? Move to a Red State
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In keeping with my recent focus on the fruits of federalism — the divergence between states based on public policy — I thought I’d pass along the Tax Foundation’s newest numbers on state and local tax burdens. Here are the 10 most confiscatory locales in the nation (as reported by CNS News), represented in terms of the tax burden as a percentage of state income:

  1. New York, 12.8 percent
  2. New Jersey, 12.4 percent
  3. Connecticut, 12.3 percent
  4. California, 11.2 percent
  5. Wisconsin, 11.1 percent
  6. Rhode Island, 10.9 percent
  7. Minnesota, 10.8 percent
  8. Massachusetts, 10.4 percent
  9. Maine, 10.3 percent
  10. . Pennsylvania, 10.2 percent

And here are the 10 lowest:

  1. Alaska, 7.0 percent
  2. South Dakota, 7.6 percent
  3. Tennessee, 7.7 percent
  4. Louisiana, 7.8 percent
  5. Wyoming, 7.8 percent
  6. Texas, 7.9 percent
  7. New Hampshire, 8.1 percent
  8. Alabama, 8.2 percent
  9. Nevada, 8.2 percent
  10. . South Carolina, 8.4 percent

Notice a trend? All of the top 10 high-tax states are consistently blue (Wisconsin and — less likely — Pennsylvania may be in play this year, but those are exceptions to the historical trend). Meanwhile, all of the top 10 low-tax states are reliably red, with the two exceptions of New Hampshire and Nevada, both of which are in play this year, but both of which, regardless of party affiliations, also boast very libertarian political cultures.

The upshot: if you want to increase your take-home pay, move to a red state.


October 5th, 2010 at 9:52 am
Arthur Laffer: States With Lower Income Taxes Enjoy Higher Growth, Income
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Arthur Laffer brought us the famed Laffer Curve, which plotted how higher tax rates can paradoxically reduce incoming revenues by inhibiting economic growth.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Laffer adds to his legacy by showing how state income taxes lead to lower economic growth, personal income and population growth.  The impetus for Laffer’s analysis is ballot Initiative 1098 in the state of Washington, which would impose a new 5% income tax on individuals earning over $200,000 or couples over $400,000 per year.  An additional 4% would be heaped upon individuals earning over $500,000 or couples earning over $1 million.  Laffer crunches the real-world economic numbers, which clearly demonstrate that this is a destructive idea.  He shows that the nine states without a personal income tax enjoy 26.5% higher economic growth, 13.1% higher personal income growth and 9.4% higher population growth than the nine staes with the highest personal income tax rates. The highest-tax states also suffer 22% lower tax revenue growth and underperform in standard of living.

As Laffer neatly summarizes, “Each and every state that introduced an income tax saw its share of total U.S. output decline.”  He can’t stop states from descending into economic self-destruction, but he provides a great service by providing this warning beacon.