Capitol Comments

2010 Toll Fellow Tre Hargett shared his thoughts as he looks ahead to next week's elections. Hargett is currently Tennessee's Secretary of State.

The 2009 election cycle was a much quieter one than the one we’re experiencing now if you’ll recall. Whereas this year, the U.S. will elect or re-elect 39 Governors, last year there were just two high-profile gubernatorial races. But the year since the 2009 election has been anything but quiet for the men elected governor in New Jersey and Virginia last November. And just as it played a role during last year’s campaign, transportation has been a key issue for both chief executives during their first year in office. As we wait to see who will occupy governors’ mansions next year, it may be worth pondering how the experiences of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell could shape how their future colleagues tackle transportation challenges in the years ahead.

With the costs of providing healthcare benefits to employees and dependents continuing to soar, state governments across the country are looking for ways to minimize cost increases but also encourage better outcomes for the employees and their families. Research has shown that the state government employee population with higher than average healthcare utilization.

In recent years, states have continued to evaluate plan design changes with the traditional PPO and HMO plans offered and have coupled them with initiatives...

2004 Toll Fellow Trey Grayson shared the following thoughts as he looks ahead to next week's elections.  Grayson is currently serving as Kentucky's secretary of state.

At a Saturday, December 4, session at the CSG 2010 National Conference policy experts from around the country will discuss how some states have implemented innovative comprehensive programs to address this elusive policy goal.  Presenters include Vernon Smith, consultant to NGA and other national groups, and Jason Helgerson, Wisconsin Medicaid Director.

2009 Toll Fellow Matthew Dunlap shared his thoughts as he looks ahead to next week's elections. Dunlap is currently Maine's Secretary of State and President of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS).

The country is buzzing as we close in on the 2010 midterm elections.  How many seats will change hands? Will the Republicans take the House and/or Senate?  How many governor's mansions will change hands? These questions are especially relevant to several Toll Fellows.

According to American Medical News, early indications are that relatively few employers are dropping mental health coverage as they go into open enrollment for the 2011 calendar year.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, passed in 2008 but fully in effect in 2011, requires companies that offer mental health benefits to restrict them no further than they do physical health coverage.

According to the 2010 Employer Health...

Jon Kingsdale will be the featured speaker in a session on health insurance exchanges on the first day of the 2010 CSG National Conference in Providence, RI, in December. Kingsdale is the former director of the Massachusetts Connector, created in 2006 and a model for the new health exchange requirement in federal health reform.

High-speed rail is one of the Obama administration’s major transportation priorities. Last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set aside $8 billion aimed at developing high-speed intercity passenger rail service along 13 new corridors and this year Congress added an additional $2.3 billion. But the outcome of some key state elections next week could determine how fast that train arrives, if at all.