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Entries in Josiah Bartlett Center (132)

Friday
Jan242014

Josiah Bartlett Center - We Need to Insist on More Boring Stories 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

The most sensational stories make the news but the most important work of the legislature is too boring for anyone much to care. The sensational stories will have little or no impact on New Hampshire. The boring stories have a long lasting but not sensational impact for years to come. That fundamental conflict is the long term struggle good public policy faces and it will be on display this year.

Some issues are more fun than others. The state’s House of Representatives passed a law legalizing marijuana last week. Certainly the debate raises interesting issues about changing societal attitudes, whether a prohibition structure is effective, the government’s legitimate role in drawing a line between legal and illegal substances. But the media response to the issue is all out of proportion to the issue’s relevance to current affairs....Click here to keep reading

Sunday
Jan192014

Josiah Bartlett Center - What’s Noteworthy Here is the Governor’s Chutzpah 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire


What's Noteworthy Here is the Governor's Chutzpah
 

The governor would like to spend state revenues directly for scholarships to be used at any approved school, public or private in the state. At the same time, in the same term, she is arguing that legislation that does the same thing is an unconstitutional breach that must be stopped. Rarely has any leader been so directly and perfectly contradictory.

In her budget address just eleven months ago, Gov. Hassan proposed spending $4 million from the state treasury directly to pay for “need-based scholarships that can be used at both public and private colleges.” This is not an unreasonable program. To allow lower-income students access to greater educational opportunity, the governor wants to target limited dollars to them. Rather than dictate a list of specific providers, the governor believes students and their parents should choose from any licensed school, public or private, religious or secular, in-state or out-of-state to develop the best educational option for that specific student....Click here to keep reading

Saturday
Jan112014

Josiah Bartlett Center - The Rainy Day Fund & ER Usage Under Medicaid Expansion

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire


Demand that the Legislature Follow its Own Budget Law
 

The law requires that any surplus be automatically deposited into a Revenue Stabilization Account, commonly called a rainy day fund.  In theory, the money is a small reserve collected in good times and set aside for unexpected shortfalls (just as you might save at home in case your furnace dies).

Politicians, however, are not happy planning for the long term at the expense of their current needs. In this way, they are similar to small children who are still developing impulse control.

Saving money to avoid a crisis five or ten years from now is not nearly as politically fun as spending it now and making someone happy before the next election. As a consequence, politicians of both parties routinely enact a “temporary suspension” of the rainy day fund law as part of the budget. That way the leftover money from before can be spent rather than saved....Click here to keep reading

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  A few years ago, Oregon chose to expand Medicaid coverage to the population now under consideration for coverage here in New Hampshire. In Oregon’s case, state funds would cover the total cost of the program. The problem for Oregon policy makers was that there was only enough money available to cover some, not all, of those eligible. To remain fair, coverage in the expanded Medicaid program was chosen by lottery.

This lottery presented a unique opportunity for researchers. Given the nature of the process, it created a randomized sample that received Medicaid coverage, while those that did not became a de facto control group. Budgetary limits had created the perfect case study to analyze the effects of Medicaid Expansion.

So far the results have 
been mixed, but the recent data on emergency room (ER) usage is troubling. After 18 months, the study has found that ER usage among the newly covered Medicaid population was 40% higher than the control group. Not only is this a sharp increase in real terms, but keep in mind the control group; it is people with no insurance coverage at all, who often uses emergency rooms as their primary source of healthcare.... Click here to keep reading
Saturday
Dec142013

Josiah Bartlett Center - Tax Reform and NH Obamacare Exchange Enrollments

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

 
Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire


Changing Taxes Should Not Make the State More Money
 

Rep. David Hess wants to tax me but at least he’s going about it the right way. Too often tax reform is a sneaky way of raising taxes. New Hampshire’s history of recent tax reforms shows it doesn’t have to be. Tax reform, simplification, and loophole elimination often fail at the state and federal level because the politicians use reform as a guise to increase revenues. Rep. Hess isn’t and should be applauded for that whether you like his proposal or not...Click here to keep reading.

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November Obamacare Exchange Numbers Released

Only 1300 NH residents signed up

"The end result is that though Obamacare was designed to improve access to affordable healthcare, the majority of New Hampshire residents buying health insurance through the exchanges likely doing so either because their existing plan was canceled, or because they did not want to have insurance and are now required to have it."  Click here to keep reading.

Curious where your Tax Dollars Go?
NHOpenGov is the Center's government transparency project detailing every last transaction made by the state since 2008. We update our data on a regular basis and have more than 3.5 million transactions in our database. Help us to find government waste! Click here to start looking.
Wednesday
Dec112013

Josiah Bartlett Center - Grant's Greatest Hits 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

 
Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

 
 
For the last five years, Grant Bosse has been an important part of the Josiah Bartlett Center. First as an employee writing about things no one else was covering. In the last year, he’s been a senior fellow with a varied portfolio. As was inevitable, he didn’t stay forever and moved on to a new challenge exactly five years after we got him.
 
We wish him well in his new position with the New Hampshire State Senate but I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you what you already know: he did great things for the Bartlett Center and will be very difficult to replace. He had a rare ability to both understand the complicated issues of state government and to explain them in an understandable way to those of us who hadn’t researched the issue ourselves, read the bond statement, or sit through the hearing.
 
At its core, that’s the mission of the Josiah Bartlett Center.
 
We’re going to take this newsletter to remind you of some of Grant’s work – much of it still relevant – to tide us all over until perhaps he joins us again.
~Charlie Arlinghaus                                              

One of the reasons I like shopping at Market Basket is the huge selection. On a recent trip, I counted 51 different kinds of mustard. These days the condiment aisle is a lawless frontier, with horseradish and wasabi, and even relish, intruding on the very idea of what mustard is. The big yellow French’s bottle reminded me of childhood baloney sandwiches.Fussy little gourmet jars featured garlic and dill and white wine. I have to mention my personal go-to hotdog sauce, Gulden’s Spicy Brown. If the free market can provide such rich variety in something as mundane and trivial as mustard, why do we have just one choice for our kids’ school? Click here to keep reading.

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Meet the MET

How the Medicaid Enhancement Tax Works and Why it is so Important
 
This paper will outline the history of the Medicaid Enhancement Tax in New Hampshire, describe how the complex tax works in conjunction with the Disproportionate Share Hospital Program, and dispel some of the many misunderstandings that trip up budget writers trying to incorporate this brand new, 20-year old tax into the FY14-15 State Budget... Click here to keep reading

Do Certificate of Need Boards Reduce Costs or Hurt Patients?

Certificate of Need laws, or CONs, have been set up across the country under the assumption that rationing hospital construction and expansion would limit increases in health care costs. Four decades of experience have shown that CONs do not control costs, but do provide a significant barrier to entryClick here to keep reading

 
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RGGI: The First Two Years

 
The Northeast Cap and Trade program

In 2008, New Hampshire joined a ten-state regional compact designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program on electric generation facilities. This report examines how that program has been implemented in New Hampshire over the past two years, how much revenue has been generated from the sale of carbon allowances, and how New Hampshire officials have spent that money. Click here to keep reading

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