Five months ago I requested hard copies of the textbooks and reading lists given to students in Tucson Unified School District's "Raza Ethnic Studies" Program. That program exists in three high schools in TUSD. It consists of a formal class plus an after school MeCHA (Movement of Chicano Students) Program sponsored largely by the same teachers who teach the class. MeCHA posters fill the formal classroom; so it is clear that the programs are tied together. After two or three months of effort, I was finally told that I had to file a request under Arizona's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to receive such copies. Over two months after I had done THAT I still had not been supplied the books. It was only after I wrote threatening to file suit that the books were supplied. I have now reviewed the books and materials I was supplied. I have... Read More »
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Under the auspices of Rep. Ted Vogt (R-Dist. 30), and with his strong support, ImagineArizona will be introducing real Tort Reform in the legislature this next session. Our proposal is simple: It will provide that the "loser" in a medical malpractice, products liability, or other type of tort action will be subject to paying some portion of the prevailing partys' attorneys fees. This "loser pays" or "English" rule has been in effect in England for centuries, and even has been applicable in Contract Actions in Arizona for decades. Our Bill simply applies the same reasoning to ALL tort actions in Arizona.Read More »
In our most recent Blog, entitled "Election Is Over -- It Is Time For Action!" we outlined five keys to growing investment and jobs again in Arizona, reforming K-12 Education, and "cleaning up" "Clean Elections." Since then, several folks have asked what else needs to be done. The above five items are just the first steps to making Arizona great again. But ImagineArizona is also working on several other projects.Read More »
The elections are over. Now it is time to quit the talk and start walking the walk. There is so much to do to return Arizona to the fullness of everything it CAN be. ImagineArizona suggests the Governor and Legislature immediately support a proactive, pro-growth agenda of real reforms:1. SPUR INVESTMENT AND NEW JOBS WITH REGULATORY REFORM-- Any investor/job creator will tell you that amongst Arizona's biggest job killers are our arcane and ambiguous regulatory schemes disincentivize investment and job growth. With the wonderful help of STATE REPRESENTATIVE TED VOGT (R-Dist. 30), we are introducing a key regulatory reform, which will require that ALL GOVERNMENT RULES AND REGULATIONS MUST BE WRITTEN CLEARLY. If government wants to regulate, it should be required to tell investors EXACTLY what is being regulated and exactly how. Lets finally make Government rules and regulations clear and straightforward so that job creators can navigate efficiently through our regulatory processes. Lets not lose any more investors/job... Read More »
Democrat candidates keep asking Republican candidates where the latter might cut the Federal Budget, as if this question posed some kind of difficult dilemma. But there are so many potential places to cut the Federal Budget that the question leaves one realing about where to start. Too bad the Dems have to ask.Read More »
By: John F. Munger
August 28, 2009 - 4:22PM
Regardless of federal actions, Arizona can be a national model for health care reform.
By simply fixing what needs to be fixed, and not creating huge bureaucracies, bankrupting the state, or intervening between doctors and patients, we can solve the principal problems of rising costs of care and accessibility of care for all.
First, to finally control costs we must reinvigorate consumer cost decision-making, which is the most fundamental pressure favoring lowering costs. Medical consumers make few cost decisions and simply pass the medical bill to their insurer. Yet, in medical procedures for which consumers are compelled to make cost decisions for medical care that is not generally covered by insurance, such as for corrective laser eye surgery or cosmetic surgery, costs have dropped drastically in the last 20 years because of competitive forces.
The first steps
Arizona should empower consumer decision-making and competition in medicine. First, on the supply side we should allow Arizonans to competitively select any health insurance program available in any state, rather than limit Arizonans' choices to a few programs selected by our regulators. On the demand side, we should invigorate consumer decision-making by requiring that all medical and pharmaceutical providers quote their prices on a public Web site each month for public comparison.
Just as insurance companies give safe driving discounts and nonsmoking discounts, they will soon start to provide hot lines to help people select several reasonably priced alternatives for medical care or products as well as "good decision-making" discounts for insureds who act rationally in selecting reasonably priced care. Consumer choice will be enhanced. Prices will begin to decline.
In addition, Arizona should adopt a simple tort reform measure that, as with contract-related litigation today, requires that parties losing medical malpractice actions pay at least some reasonable portion of the winners' attorney's fees. Used by the English for centuries, this creates risk and causes all players to carefully analyze their case before they file, and would substantially reduce the number of frivolous medical malpractice actions, and medical costs, in Arizona.
Finally, Arizona could reduce medical costs by requiring that medical insurers give discounts to consumers who allow their medical records to be transmitted electronically via a secured system, thereby reducing costs of care. Again, no requirement - just a consumer option.Reform the coverage
Adopting these three simple measures would drastically reduce medical costs. In turn, that would improve accessibility of medical care to more people. But we can easily do more.
Arizona should require that all insurance policies be portable and not tied to employment. We must allow individuals and associations to create groups in order to negotiate favorable health insurance not tied to employment.
We should require that all persons with pre-existing illnesses be accepted into medical insurance pools. Persons with pre-existing problems caused by their own lifestyles, such as obesity, smoking, dangerous activities or hobbies, or who repeatedly did not follow medical recommendations of their doctors, could be required to pay a limited additional premium for their lifestyle choices and the burden they cause to the health care system. But persons with pre-existing illnesses not based on lifestyle choices, and who follow reasonable medical directions, would not incur any additional premium.
Finally, we must assure that all those remaining who still cannot afford health insurance have easy access to our state Medicaid program and KidsCare for children. With both programs, the main problem is that people simply do not sign up until they need medical care - but, in reality, most do have coverage once they need it. But we must constantly re-evaluate our entry levels to assure fairness.
Arizona can solve the problems of rising health care costs and accessibility by simply fixing the problems that need to be fixed. Let's do it now!
John Munger of Tucson is the chairman of ImagineArizona.com, a public policy organization that promotes solutions to Arizona's public policy issues.
Policy Overview Radio Spot-1
Policy Overview Radio Spot-2
Radio Spot-4 Education Reform
John Munger on the Mike Broomhead Show 4-18-2009
John Munger on America's Fabric with John McElroy 2-28-2009
John Munger on the John C. Scott Show 1-28-2009
John Munger discusses ImagineArizona's mission in detail on Inside Track. (MP3)
Listen to John Munger on KFYI's "Mike Broomhead Show" 1-24-2009 (MP3 file).