February 22, 2013


Study: Privatizing Medicare Spikes Overhead Costs

The traditional Medicare program allocates only 1 percent of total spending to overhead compared with 6 percent when the privatized portion of Medicare, known as Medicare Advantage, is included, according to a study in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.  EurekAlert

College Lets Students Cheat, Prof Says

To “maximize revenue” by ensuring that students don’t flunk out, profit-seeking Carrington College posts test questions online so students can memorize them, and it fired a nursing professor for complaining about it, the nurse claims in court. Courthouse News

Attendance ‘scrubbing’ tempts low-ranked schools

In Columbus, a student’s father alleges in a lawsuit that a series of improper withdrawals of low-performing students caused his daughter’s home school to rise in academic status, making her ineligible for a state voucher that allows students in failing institutions to attend better schools. Losing the voucher meant that 15-year-old Kailey Beard’s $9,000 tuition to a nearby private school was no longer covered — and that she couldn’t play sports. BusinessWeek

GA: Lawmakers make step toward privatization at MARTA

MARTA, the backbone of public transit in metro Atlanta, on Thursday moved a step closer to privatization in an effort to put the troubled agency on a firmer financial footing. Legislation was passed by state representatives that required the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to privatize major functions — from payroll and cleaning to paratransit services. Atlanta Journal Constitution

WI: Critics say Scott Walker’s plan to sell heating plants will cost taxpayers

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to put the state’s 37 power plants up for sale to fund road projects might bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, but it would short-change taxpayers in the long run, critics of the plan say.  “The whole idea of selling has to do with short-term money gain because we sell the right to bleed the taxpayer in the future,” says Peter Carstensen, a professor at the UW Law School who specializes in utilities regulation. Capital Times (blog)

TX: Internal review rejects idea of privatizing county jail

Privatizing the Harris County jail would be risky and may not result in savings, according to an internal county memo recommending that Commissioners Court keep the state’s largest lockup in Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s hands. The confidential Feb. 11 memo, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, comes after more than a year of study by staff from the county budget office, purchasing office and County Attorney’s Office. Commissioner Steve Radack had suggested the county consider privatizing the jail in 2010, and the court voted to accept proposals in April 2011, when the county had begun laying off scores of staff in a lean budget year. Houston Chronicle

AZ: Rally against toll roads at Arizona Capitol

Arizona is one of a dozen states that have no toll roads. But this is no time to fall asleep at the wheel, warns the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council. That could change in the near future, taking a big bite out of Arizonans’ pockets and our freedoms, a council spokesman said. “A little bit of tolling is like a little bit of pregnancy. It’s only going to get bigger and more expensive,” said Bill Gilmore, a legislative liaison for the council, which has championed the interests of the collector-car and hot-rod community for 40 years. To blow the horn about possible tolls and user fees on Arizona roads, the council has called a rally at the state Capitol for next Wednesday. Arizona Republic

KY: Bill would permit public-private partnerships

A bill filed in the Kentucky General Assembly would permit unique arrangements between private companies and state government to pay for roads and bridges. Courier-Journal