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”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”

– Back to Basics: An Economic Agenda for APEC

By Dana Robert Dillon, Balbina Y. Hwang,
John J. Tkacik, Jr. and Brett D. Schaefer

Backgrounder No. 1604, The Heritage Foundation

This year’s (2002) October 26-27 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
conference in Los Cabos, Mexico, presents a prime opportunity for
Pres. George W. Bush to help set the global trading system on a firm
footing for sustained economic growth, thereby strengthening the
international community in its campaign against global terrorism. The
President can pursue the critical issue of terrorism by devoting most of
his limited time at the conference to bilateral meetings with America’s
allies to demonstrate the United States’ appreciation for their efforts
and bolster their commitment to the fight against terrorism. Overall, to
take advantage of the opportunities presented at this year’s APEC
conference to promote America’s economic and strategic goals, President
Bush should (1) encourage economic reform in Japan and in Korea; (2)
support democratic Taiwan; (3) demonstrate appreciation for the
contribution of America’s Allies in APEC; 4) forge free trade
agreements; and (5) set the stage for WTO negotiations.

CONTACT: Publications, The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave.,
NE, Washington, DC 20002, 202/546-4400

Above article is quoted from The Heritage Foundation, The Insider
Nov/Dec 2002 http://www.heritage.org

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– States Tackle Medicaid

Author: Joe Moser
Published: The Heartland Institute 02/01/2003

Michigan’s state budget deficit could approach $2 billion in the next
fiscal year. Eleven other states are on pace to see deficits at or over
the $2 billion mark. In Illinois and Wisconsin, the budget gaps may be
closer to $3 billion. New Jersey’s is $4 billion, Texas’s as much as $8
billion, and California’s $25 billion.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL),
two-thirds of the states have reported revenue collections for the early
months of the 2003 fiscal year are below forecasted levels. New York,
for example, estimates a revenue shortfall of up to $10 billion over the
next two years.

While state revenues are slumping, expenditures on Medicaid are
increasing at a rapid pace. They are a driving force behind the budget
deficits most state legislatures are facing as they open their 2003
sessions.

Reducing Eligibility Benefits

Medicaid spending increased by 13.3 percent in fiscal year 2002 and 10.6
percent in fiscal year 2001. Total revenue growth over the same period
was just 5 percent, according to the National Association of State
Budget Officers.

The gravity of the problem becomes apparent when one realizes Medicaid
spending comprises more than 20 percent of all state expenditures. The
situation is not sustainable; to balance state budgets will require
tough decisions by governors and state legislators.

Forty-four states will consider measures to control Medicaid costs,
including freezing or reducing eligibility, benefits, and/or
reimbursement rates, according to the recent Health Policy Tracking
Service Survey conducted by NCSL.

Massachusetts has already taken such steps. Up to 50,000 people lost
Medicaid eligibility at the beginning of the year, and thousands more
had their benefits cut. Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran said
such steps were necessary because soaring Medicaid costs could soon
“bankrupt” the state.

But Medicaid cut-backs can be a double-edged sword. During an economic
downturn–when state revenues fall and policymakers might consider
Medicaid cuts to balance budgets–more workers can lose the health
insurance coverage they received through their employers. If state
actions deny Medicaid eligibility to those individuals or limit the
benefits available to them, states compound the problem of lack of
access to care. Overall health care spending might increase because
uninsured patients must rely on expensive emergency rooms for treatment.

– Above article is quoted from The Heartland Institute Health Care News
February 2003 http://www.heartland.org

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“To minimize conflicts in the future we should aim to create a world in
which people are free to buy what they want, live and work where they
choose, and invest and produce where conditions seem most propitious.
There should be unlimited freedom for individuals to trade within and
across national borders, widespread international division of labor, and
worldwide economic interdependence. Would-be traders should encounter no
restrictions or barriers to trade, enacted out of a misguided belief in
economic nationalism and the supposed advantages of economic
self-sufficiency. Friendships among individuals living in different
parts of the world would then be reinforced daily through the benefits
they reap from buying and selling with one another. Thus a sound basis
for peaceful international relations would be encouraged.” — Bettina
Bien Greaves

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached at (808) 487-4959 or by email at:”’ mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com ”’For more information, see its Web site at:”’ http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/

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