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Politics, Law and Policy Blog

Bipartisan policy insights and political intelligence

Scotty Greenwood to Moderate CABC Panel on September 17

Posted in Canada-U.S. Relations

 

Updated 9/17  -  Please see the complete CABC YouTube video here.

 

MLA’s Scotty Greenwood will serve as moderator at the September 17 Canadian American Business Council (CABC) event with Industry Minister James Moore.

The event will be streamed on YouTube and at cabc.co/live tomorrow (9/17) at 12:30pm. See the below for more details.

Industry Minister Moore to Visit Washington, D.C., to Promote Canada’s Economic Record

Washington, D.C., Tuesday, September 16, 2014—Industry Minister James Moore will travel to the U.S. capital this week where he will highlight Canada’s strong record of attracting investment and why Canada continues to be the number one country in the world to do business.

The Minister will participate in two days of meetings and events with representatives from the U.S. government, including Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, as well as representatives and senators at the Capitol building.

Minister Moore will deliver a keynote luncheon address during an event hosted by the Canadian American Business Council. Following his remarks, the Minister will participate in a moderated question and answer session.

For more information, please click here.

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up  is our weekly look at developments affecting health care at the federal and state levels.

This week, the Government Accountability Office released a report critiquing the approval process used by the Department of Health and Human Services for Arkansas’s Medicaid expansion waiver while a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that employer sponsored insurance premiums grew slightly from 2013 to 2014.

Stefan Passantino and Jeremy Berry Mentioned on Political Insider

Posted in Campaign Finance, Government Ethics

MLA’s Stefan Passantino and Jeremy Berry were mentioned on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Political Insider blog.

Stefan Passantino and Jeremy Berry, both of McKenna, Long & Aldridge, have sent word that the state ethics commission, despite the chaos within one half of the Twin Towers, has quietly put out some rule changes that will come up for a vote later this month. Click here to see them all.  Among the changes:

Regulates lobbying expenditures on behalf of a public official’s family member by stating that “Any money spent on a member of the family of a public official is deemed a lobbying expenditure on behalf of the public official and must be reported as such. For purposes of this Rule, a members of the family means a spouse and all dependent children.”

Adds a rule (consistent with the existing statute) that lobbyists cannot spend more than $75 per lobbying expenditure “per individual public officer.” The proposed rule permits one or more lobbyists to “split pro rata a lobbying expenditure” provided that a single lobbyist does not “exceed $75 per expenditure per individual public officer.”

In other words, a ratio of one lobbyist to one lawmaker would result in a $75 dinner. A ratio of two lobbyists to one lawmaker could produce a $150 dinner, and so on.

Click here to be directed to the post. 

Mark Burkhalter Authors Article on North Fulton.com and ZPolitics.com

Posted in Georgia, Tax Policy

MLA’s Mark Burkhalter‘s article, “Unemployment, tax reform should top 2015 legislative agenda,” was featured on NorthFulton.com and Zpolitics.com. 

Unemployment, tax reform should top 2015 legislative agenda

This spring, the business network CNBC ranked Georgia the No. 1 place to do business in the country for 2014. Unfortunately, as we wind down summer, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has posted shocking data. Our state’s unemployment rate not only worsened in July but is now the second worst in the country.

When ranked with the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Georgia falls only behind Mississippi in the number of citizens out of work and now looking for jobs.

We have an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent while the national rate is 6.2 percent. Some regions of the state have an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent.

Click here to read the complete article.

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States update is our weekly report on Health Insurance Exchange developments.

This week, CMS disclosed that a hacker penetrated a server that houses one of the test environments for HealthCare.gov and the board for Cover Oregon discussed the future organizational status of the exchange, but adjourned before taking a vote.

Scotty Greenwood Authors Article on iPolitics

Posted in Canada-U.S. Relations

MLA’s Scotty Greenwood authors article, “Hack-a-thoning our way out of the border backlog,” featured on iPolitics.

Hack-a-thoning our way out of the border backlog

Three years ago, the president of the United States and the prime minister of Canada personally launched what they called the Beyond the Border Initiative. This week, Obama administration officials will meet with counterparts in Ottawa to discuss progress to date on that initiative.

It’s worth asking whether this effort to reinvigorate the economy and address long-standing frustrations with the inefficiencies associated with doing business across the 49th parallel is actually working.

At the time they created BTB, the president and the PM recognized that, after NAFTA’s initial surge of success, our common border has become a competitive disadvantage for business. The cumbersome paperwork and resulting delays at key crossings meant that the billion dollars per day in bilateral trade was at risk. It is easier, in terms of border hassles, to import a car into North America from Germany or Korea than to manufacture the car jointly at facilities in Windsor and Detroit where the component parts cross the border five or six times (with all the resulting inspections, paperwork and delays) before reaching market.

Click here to read the full article.

Dan Caprio Authors Article on Reboot Communications Ltd

Posted in Cybersecurity

MLA’s Dan Caprio authors “The Internet of Things” featured on Reboot Communications Ltd.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a broad term that describes the ecosystem of sensors that interact with each other, persons, and services in computer-aware environments supported by analytics. The complexity of this ecosystem includes sensors that will only interact with each other, sensors that will interact with the broad ecosystem through local area networks (LANs) as well as sensors that may be in direct contact with the Internet.

The IoT represents transformative 21st century technology that promises to revolutionize homes, cars, health care and industry in general. The IoT presents the opportunity and the challenge of protecting privacy and security and encouraging innovation. The IoT is also sometimes viewed as being synonymous with “smart” systems, such as “smart homes,” “smart buildings,” “smart appliances,” “smart health,” “smart mobility,” “smart cities,” and so on. Whether we call it the Smarter Planet, the Internet of Everything, or the Industrial Internet–the IoT is about innovation and the future of the Internet ecosystem itself.

Click here to read the full article.

The Long Term View: An MLA Public Policy Update on Long-Term Services and Supports

Posted in Health Policy

By Dennis Smith

Two hundred years ago last month, President Madison fled Washington as British troops invaded the Nation’s Capital. The White House and the Capitol were burned on August 24. A few weeks later, the bombardment of Baltimore would inspire Francis Scott Key to write the “Star Spangled Banner.” Because our young nation further removed itself from British and French influences, the War of 1812 has been called our second war for independence.

The push for independence is underway today in the long term services and supports (LTSS) part of Medicaid. One of the purposes of Medicaid is enable “… each State, as far as practicable under the conditions in such state, to furnish … rehabilitation and other services to help such families and individuals attain or retain capability for independence or self-care …”.[1]

Properly understood, Medicaid is not “a” program, it is several programs serving different populations with very different needs. Most individuals enrolled in Medicaid today are healthy (children represent about half of the Medicaid population) and millions, in a better economy, would not be on the program because they would be enjoying a higher level of income. Millions are on Medicaid because of an unexpected turn of events – divorce, loss of a job, loss of income, or an unintended pregnancy. Many families who are on Medicaid today will not be on Medicaid five years from now.

But a senior citizen on Medicaid or an individual with a disability on Medicaid, will likely rely on the program for the rest of his/her life. The LTSS part of Medicaid is, in large part, about how and where that senior or individual with a disability will live. Approximately two-thirds of Medicaid spending is made on behalf of low-income seniors and citizens with disabilities.  Approximately one-third of Medicaid spending is for LTSS, which goes nearly exclusively to people with disabilities and seniors.

As states struggle with the cost of their Medicaid programs and seek to improve how to deliver services, two models are emerging in the delivery of LTSS. One model relies on health plans to merge LTSS with acute care benefits, now referred to as “managed” LTSS or MLTSS. According to the June 2014 Report to the Congress on Medicaid and CHIP by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), 16 states now employ a MLTSS model, covering 389,000 individuals.  Earlier this month, the Center for Health Care Strategies released Key Attributes of High-Performing Integrated Health Plans for Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees, which describes “… a framework [that] can help guide states and health plans in defining essential elements for high-performing integrated health plans …”.[2]

The other model allows the individual to “self direct” his/her LTSS services. The National Council on Disability (NCD) calls self-direction a “game changing strategy.” Last year, NCD released, The Case for Medicaid Self-Direction: A White Paper on Research , Practice, and Policy Opportunities, which, among other things, “… recommends strategies for improving the accessibility and quality of self-directed Medicaid services and supports.”[3]  As the report explains, self-direction has also been called consumer direction or participant direction.  The role of the consumer may be as comprehensive as taking complete authority over a budget under which the consumer purchases LTSS goods and services and acts as the employer. At a minimum, self-direction means that the individual is allowed to hire and fire individuals who provide personal care services.

These two resources will be helpful to states, individuals, and their families as together they explore the future of their Medicaid LTSS programs. The LTSS part of Medicaid is about personal independence, liberty, and freedom as much as it is about access to medical care.