Month: September 2010

Owls and Grouse and Wolves, Oh My!

Karla Kay Edwards

Cascade Commentary

Owls and Grouse and Wolves, Oh My!
by Karla Kay Edwards

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State and federal endangered species listings have greatly influenced the economies and culture of Oregon’s communities for decades. Ironically, they have had relatively little success in actually influencing the species they want to recover. Still, government agencies refuse to abandon their monocular vision of individual species recovery. Broader policy objectives and market-oriented approaches would allow the integration of management decisions which address multiple species and other surrounding issues that hinder recovery. This can be achieved by returning the power of conservation to local and private entities that are more effective stewards of the environment.

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A Thousand Paper Cuts

Karla Kay Edwards

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by Karla Kay Edwards

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Oregon businesses face death by a thousand paper cuts. When taken independently, individual government regulations might seem fairly innocuous. But when layered with the cumulative regulatory burdens they face, businesses find themselves buried alive by paperwork and fees.

Two cases in point:

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Unemployment Accounts: A True “Benefit” for Most Oregonians

Christina Martin
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By Christina Martin

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Owning assets is a powerful key to getting ahead and staying ahead. Assets provide stability and allow individuals opportunities for investment. They also change the way people behave. According to research, people tend to think in longer time frames and to have more hope for the future once they acquire something significant that they can call their own.

Unfortunately, government safety nets help low-income citizens primarily through income transfers. These programs discourage people from building assets, penalizing participants who save too much.

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John Charles testimony for the 9/22 TriMet board meeting

John A. Charles, Jr.
Subject: TM Resolution 10-09-44

Members of the Board:

I will not be able to attend the board meeting tomorrow. Therefore I wish to enter the following comments into the record today regarding TM Resolution 10-09-44:

There is considerable risk in purchasing this property because it is unlikely that the Milwaukie LRT line will ever get built.  Notwithstanding the oft-made claim by Mr. McFarlane that TriMet is considered to be “an A student” by FTA officials, TriMet has clearly been defrauding the federal government by taking capital grants for rail projects without operating them successfully for 20 years, as required by law. In May 2009 TriMet announced that service on the Green Line would be cut before it ever opened. Service was cut again earlier this month. Cuts have also been made on other federally-subsidized rail lines. Until TriMet restores service on those lines, they remain out of compliance with past funding agreements. Why would FTA spend even more money on TriMet under these circumstances?

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The Oregon Health Plan: A Policy Placebo

Cascade Commentary

The Oregon Health Plan: A Policy Placebo
By Eric Fruits, Ph.D

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The Oregon Health Plan has been called a “bold experiment” designed to expand health insurance to Oregon’s low-income residents. Initially, the experiment had bipartisan support. The plan’s chief architect was John Kitzhaber, a Democratic state senator turned governor who is currently running for a third term as governor. The plan’s chief advocate in Washington, D.C. was Republican Senator Bob Packwood. Its promoters promised the impossible: To expand health insurance coverage while simultaneously controlling costs and fostering provider participation. These promises would be met by the explicit rationing of care through a prioritized list of conditions and treatments. The rationing plan generated international headlines, and the rollout of the plan prompted physicians and politicians from around the world to visit Oregon to see the bold experiment in action. However, like the experimental drug that performs no better than a placebo, Oregon’s bold experiment has produced results that are not significantly different from the outcomes seen by the U.S. as a whole. In this way, the experiment has failed.

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The Failure of the Oregon Health Plan

Steve Buckstein

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by Steve Buckstein

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A new report by Cascade Policy Institute looks at how well the Oregon Health Plan met its promised goals. Launched in 1994, the Oregon Health Plan sought to use a prioritized list of conditions and treatments to simultaneously expand coverage, control costs and foster provider participation in the state’s Medicaid system for low-income residents. By explicitly rationing care, the plan was called a “bold experiment” and was supported by political leaders of both major parties.

Now, sixteen years later, the report’s authors find that:
“[L]ike the experimental drug that performs no better than a placebo, the Oregon Health Plan has produced results that are not significantly different from the outcomes seen by the U.S. as a whole.”

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Unemployment Accounts: A Saving Opportunity

Christina Martin

Cascade Commentary

Unemployment Accounts: A Saving Opportunity
 

by Christina Martin

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After multiple extensions by Congress, many unemployed workers now can receive unemployment benefits for nearly two years. These extensions may bring some individuals a sigh of relief, but they are a cause for concern for the larger economy. A recent JPMorgan Chase study claims that unemployment insurance extensions actually have raised unemployment by 1.5 percentage points. Dr. Robert Barro, a Harvard professor, recently claimed that the extensions have raised unemployment as much as 2.7 percentage points.

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The Oregon Health Plan: A “Bold Experiment” That Failed

For immediate release

Contact Steve Buckstein
(503) 242-0900
steven@cascadepolicy.org

The Oregon Health Plan:  A “Bold Experiment” That Failed (download here)

Cascade Policy Institute has released a new report on how well the Oregon Health Plan met its promised goals.

Conceived in the late 1980s, the Oregon Health Plan has been called a “bold experiment” designed to expand health insurance to Oregon’s low-income residents. It relied on explicit rationing of care through a prioritized list of conditions and treatments.

Launched in 1994, the OHP sought simultaneously to expand coverage, control costs, and foster provider participation.

Sixteen years later, report author Dr. Eric Fruits concludes that:

“[L]ike the experimental drug that performs no better than a placebo, the Oregon Health Plan has produced results that are not significantly different from the outcomes seen by the U.S. as a whole.”

Dr. Fruits makes three major findings about the goals of the Oregon Health Plan:

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Back to School with the Children’s Scholarship Fund

Kathryn Hickok

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by Kathryn Hickok

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This week 29,000 lower-income children nationwide start classes in private and parochial schools, thanks to the Children’s Scholarship Fund. Since 1999 the Children’s Scholarship Fund has empowered more than 111,000 children to receive a quality education in schools chosen by their parents or guardians.

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