Capitol Comments

Negative and misleading ads seem to be the norm in political campaigns these days, but they sometimes backfire, leaving voters feeling like they have to choose between the lesser of two evils instead of voting for a candidate they feel proud of supporting. How do you strike a balance in your political messaging and make sure your message is effective?

Chad Gallagher, a 2006 Toll alum and campaign adviser to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, lead a panel discussion on crafting political messages in a Sunday afternoon...

There may have been a lot of people in the room looking at all sides of health care reform through different colored glasses, but there was one central message no matter their position.

Clement Cypra, deputy vice president for State Affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), summed it up when he said, “Everybody knew that some fundamental changes had to be made and it was waiting for a political solution.”

And even though federal health care reform provided that solution—or at...

While states may be facing a tremendous challenge with the economic impact of spiraling Medicaid rolls, they can take the lead and make true changes in the cost and quality of health care.

In Saturday’s session, “Public Policymakers’ Guide to Reducing Health Care Costs,” former Michigan Medicaid Director Vernon Smith said the Great Recession has added huge numbers of people to Medicaid rolls across the country; more than 50 million people are now served by the federal-state health care program.

“Under the radar,...

If you’re taking antibiotics for a sore throat, earache or bronchitis, you might as well be taking sugar pills. That’s according to Dr. David Newman, emergency room doctor and director of clinical research at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Ilya Shapiro worries about the ultimate impact of the federal health care reform law—he calls it Obamacare—Congress passed this year.

“Without exaggeration, if Obamacare, especially the individual mandate, is allowed to stand, there will be no further principled limits on federal power,” Shapiro, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, said Saturday morning during the opening session of The Council of State Governments’ 2010 National Conference.

States must begin operating health insurance exchanges by Jan. 1, 2014.

But for states, “January 1, 2014, is tomorrow,” said Jason Helgerson, Medicaid director for Wisconsin and principal project sponsor for the state’s BadgerCare Plus.

States must start planning now for implementation of that portion of the federal health care reform, Helgerson and other panelists of a Saturday afternoon session focusing on “The Future Health Care Marketplace: Understanding Health Insurance Exchanges said.

Need a job? Changing careers? Need help caring for a frail family member? These are just three of the topics addressed by the 2010 CSG Innovations Award winners. Given the budget situation facing many states, the need for states to learn from each other is more important than ever, whether that means doing more work with less resources, or doing something better than before. CSG Innovations Awards have played a key role in making that happen for more than 20 years. Here are the 2010 Innovations Award winners. 

The CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation will convene Saturday, December 3, 2010 and Monday, December 6, 2010 at the 2010 CSG Annual Conference to consider 100 bills on the first docket in the 2012 Suggested State Legislation cycle.

A national assessment of 12th-grade math and reading taken in 2009 shows student scores improved compared to tests taken by high school seniors four years earlier. However, the tests still show high percentages of students are scoring below even a “basic” level in those subjects, and reading scores are lower than levels in 1992.

The new policy option on the block for spurring renewable energy (RE) expansion is the feed-in tariff – or FIT.  Feed-in tariffs offer a price per kilowatt-hour to producers of certain electricity sources, most notably solar and wind.  Feed-in tariffs have been successful in Europe for quite some time, but are only beginning to break into the United States, where the dominant policy tool for advancing renewable energy generation has been the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).