Posts Tagged ‘ObamaCare’

Crowding Out a Solution

Crowding Out a Solution

As our researchers at Beacon have been anticipating, TennCare enrollment has skyrocketed due to Obamacare’s mandate to purchase insurance. We’ve been sounding the alarm about the “woodwork effect” of those who qualify for TennCare but had previously failed to enroll in the government-run insurance program. Now that Tennesseans will be fined for going without insurance, those who qualify for free TennCare are certainly starting to take advantage of it. Thus far in 2014, enrollment has grown by 120,000 people, and this is happening even without a Medicaid expansion in our state.

If we were to expand Medicaid as President Obama has pushed our state to do, this means even more people – at even greater costs – crowding onto the TennCare rolls. This is bad for those already on the program, it’s bad for those who would be enrolled, and it’s bad for taxpayers who can ill afford to cover the tab. It’s enough to grabble with the costly and unavoidable woodwork effect; it’s another to voluntarily submit to more pain. To learn more about the consequences of expanding the program, check out this new infographic we released along with State Budget Solutions and Federalism in Action.

-Justin Owen
December 8th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

We See Through Your Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam

We See Through Your Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam

President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, otherwise known as the education czar, is canvassing the South to take stock of how federal education programs and initiatives are faring in several states. Among Duncan’s visits was a stop at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Chambliss Center for Children, where he encouraged Gov. Bill Haslam to continue embracing Obama’s education agenda with the same enthusiasm that Haslam exhibited with the President’s “Race to the Top” program.

It seems that Duncan believes Haslam has drank the Obama education reform kool-aide and is ready for another glass. This time, Duncan hopes that Tennessee will compete for a portion of the $250 million in federal Pre-K grants available for select states. As TN Report’s Alex Harris explains, “The feds are holding [these] out as an incentive to encourage states to sign more kids up for early education programs.” Translation: The feds are bribing state governments with taxpayer dollars to push Obama’s agenda.

As with many other agenda’s the President deploys, this Pre-K scheme is both costly and ineffective. Here are the facts:

  • Vanderbilt University evaluated 1,000 Pre-K students across the state and found that the slight benefits these students had in math and language over peers not enrolled in Pre-K barely lasted past kindergarten and were completely gone by 2nd grade.
  • According to findings published in the Journal Science, the highest-rated publicly funded Pre-K classrooms’ results are no better than lower-rated classrooms.
  • Yet, Tennessee spent over $85 million on Pre-K in 2013, and the feds want us taxpayers to pony up even more.

Perhaps Duncan missed our Dr. Seuss-inspired poligraphic, “Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam” in January.

In any event, we hope he enjoys his time in the South, but suggest Duncan keeps his Washington-grown “solutions” where they belong. Between Obamacare that isn’t, and the so-called stimulus package that wasn’t, Tennessee will be seeking solutions elsewhere.

-Lindsay Boyd

September 15th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

Teachers Can Send Message to Unions

Teachers Can Send Message to Unions

Check out the letter to the editor written by Beacon CEO Justin Owen and J.C. Bowman from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

One of the biggest draws for businesses to relocate to and grow in Tennessee is our right-to-work environment. Unlike in many states, Tennesseans cannot be forced to join a union and pay dues in order to keep their jobs.

That’s why it is important to celebrate National Employee Freedom Week, which runs through Saturday. This week serves as a reminder that employees should be free to join — or withdraw from — a union. In fact, more than 80 percent of Tennesseans believe in employees’ freedom to join or leave a union when they see fit.

Here in Tennessee, the state teachers’ union has advocated for a state income tax, a measure that, if enacted, would have substantially raised its own members’ tax bills. Its national outfit — the National Education Association — has endorsed a complete government-takeover of health care. Whatever one’s position on these issues, what do income taxes and Obamacare have to do with representing teachers?

Tennessee’s teachers should take the time to review their dues deduction authorization. The teachers’ unions continue to make the process of opting out difficult and complicated. We believe opting out should be simple and transparent.

Teachers can use this week as the perfect time to send the message that unions should work to protect their members, not advance a radical, left-wing political agenda out of step with mainstream Tennesseans.

Justin Owen, president and CEO, Beacon Center of Tennessee, and J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, Nashville

August 12th, 2014 | Feature, Recent News