The State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) firmly believes that real government reform, innovative policy changes, and the big ideas that will solve America's problems are going to be found in state capitols and not Washington, D.C. As has been the case for several years, there is grid-lock in Washington, and Federal government spending and regulation are out of control, while our country's problems continue to be unaddressed by Washington.

Contrast this with the states, who are getting things done -- some better than others. America is at its most prosperous and productive when there is limited government, less spending, less taxes, less dictation from Washington, and less encroachment into the states.

SGLF will promote innovative reforms advocated by our conservative elected leaders and defend them when the special interest proponents of the status quo attack these elected leaders. SGLF is dedicated to educating policymakers and the public about the benefits of smaller government, lower taxes, balanced budgets, and efficiency in governing.

SGLF is a 501 (c)(4) social welfare organization and is a strategic partner to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) - home to the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association, Republican Attorneys General Association, Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, and the Republican Secretaries of State Committee.

Legislature approves billions in tax breaks for Boeing

Written by Andrew Garber for The Seattle Times on November 09, 2013Economic Prosperity
OLYMPIA — The state Senate moved first on Saturday, passing aerospace tax incentives and a measure aimed at boosting training for the aerospace industry. “This is a generational opportunity,” said Senate Ways and Means Chairman Andy Hill, R-Redmond. “This is about our aerospace economy.” The training measure, SB 5953, passed unanimously and the tax-incentive bill, SB 5952, was approved 42-2. Democratic Sens. Bob Hasegawa, of Renton, and Adam Kline, of Seattle voted no. Hasegawa was the only senator to raise significant objections during the floor debate. “I have a philosophical issue with putting this economic development strategy on the backs of the Machinists,” he said. “We’re asking them to sacrifice the future of the next generation of Boeing workers. That is not a sustainable  economic development strategy for the state.”

Boeing wants the Machinists union to accept a new eight-year contract with big cuts in future pension and health-care benefits to secure the 777X for Washington state. That union approval could prove troublesome, given the early reviews of the Boeing proposal. In addition, the company wants the Legislature to boost training for aerospace workers and approve tax incentives worth more than $8 billion. The company has also stressed that it wants lawmakers to approve a multi-billion dollar transportation package. Inslee called the special session, which started Thursday, to fulfill the state’s side of the bargain.
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Alaska Medicare beneficiaries targeted in Affordable Care Act scam

Written by Laurel Andrews for Alaska Dispatch on November 07, 2013Health Care
A nationwide scam targeting Medicare beneficiaries has been ramping up in Alaska, state officials report. The Alaska Medicare office has received seven or eight calls reporting a scam that revolves around the Affordable Care Act. Two of those reports were received on Wednesday, state Medicare fraud education coordinator Nila Morgan said. The reports come mainly from Anchorage, and one came from Southeast Alaska. Morgan added that for every person who calls and reports a scam, there are likely many more who are contacted and do not report it. “These scams kind of go in waves,” said Davyn Williams, assistant attorney general in the consumer protection unit, “but it sounds like it really picked up a lot.”

The increase prompted the department of law to issue a consumer alert Wednesday warning the public of the Medicare scam, along with a general overview of Affordable Care Act scams. Scammers call beneficiaries claiming they will need new Medicare cards due to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.  Scammers then ask for personal information, Medicare numbers and bank account information. Reports allege that scammers are bullying beneficiaries, “using harassment, abusive conduct, and false threats to cut off Medicare benefits,” a consumer alert issued Wednesday states. Some people have received multiple calls from scammers. One Alaskan "caught by surprise" by the scammers gave them banking information, Morgan said, and then realized something fishy was going on.
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TN leads nation in math, reading gains

Written by Joey Garrison for The Tennessean on November 07, 2013Education Reform
Tennessee claimed the title Thursday of fastest-improving state in academic growth after boasting the greatest leaps nationally in math and reading assessment scores by middle school students, a feat that drew glowing praise from the top U.S. education official. A celebration among state officials, Republican lawmakers and educators erupted Thursday inside a Mt. Juliet middle school auditorium after Gov. Bill Haslam — who has taken criticism for piloting controversial education reforms — unveiled historic results from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress report card.

The report, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, highlighted Tennessee as one of only three public school jurisdictions — and the only state — that made math and reading gains in the fourth and eighth grades from 2011 to 2013. In fact, Tennessee’s overall growth in these areas marks the largest collective test score jump in the federal assessment’s history. “If you look, it really wasn’t even close,” said Haslam, a Republican, who called the announcement perhaps his most significant during his nearly three years in office. “We literally blew away the other states when it came to education results.”
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Wyoming students outperform the national average in Math and Reading

Written by BOB BECK for Wyoming Public Media on November 07, 2013Education Reform
Wyoming’s fourth and eighth grade students outperformed the national average in reading and mathscores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAPE scores. The test is administered every two years. Wyoming did especially well in 4th grade math where it improved by three points from 2011 and five points from 2009.   State Education Director Rich Crandall is pleased. “It means we are getting a good return on our investment.  If you look at that 4th grade math category, we are outpacing the growth in the United States.  So what we as a Department want is to step back and say ok…how can we take that same kind of success we are getting in 4th grade math and apply it to every other category.”

Will Donkersgoed of the Wyoming Department of Education says there were other positive results.  For instance 4th grade girls increased their math scores by 4 points in the last two years. “That essentially eliminated any results between them and boys.  And there are similar types of stories for Hispanic students in grade 8 math and Native American students in grade 4 math increased their scores by nine points on the NAPE scale.”
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Walker signs crowdfunding bill

Written by The Associated Press for The Post Crescent on November 07, 2013Economic Prosperity
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill allowing crowdfunding for the online sale of stocks in fledgling companies. The proposal Walker signed Thursday passed unanimously in the Legislature and has broad support in Wisconsin’s business community. Popular online crowd funding sites like Kickstarter only allow for people to make donations to a certain cause, often in exchange for a token of appreciation like a T-shirt or bumper sticker. The new Wisconsin law will allow investors to purchase equity in a company. Backers say it’s a simple way to help small businesses by opening them up to a wide pool of potential investors. Wisconsin is one of the first states nationwide to allow for such investing through crowdfunding.
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Votes on Fracking Limits Show Mixed Results

Written by Jack Healy for The New York Times on November 06, 2013Energy & Environment
DENVER — The national debate over hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas drilling found its way to ballots on Tuesday in several communities in Ohio and Colorado, where voters considered proposals to ban or restrict fracking. With nearly all of the votes counted, unofficial results from county clerks showed the restrictions prevailing in three of four Colorado communities considering them, but failing in two of three Ohio cities.

Grassroots efforts to restrict fracking have put communities on a potential collision course with state officials and the energy industry. Ohio and Colorado say state officials – and not individual cities – are the ones with the power to regulate drilling. And industry groups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the measures, arguing the bans would harm businesses and are potentially illegal. “There’s no doubt that there are people concerned about being sued,” said Sam Schabacker, the Mountain West region director of Food and Water Watch, which is supporting the fracking restrictions in four Colorado communities. “It has a chilling effect. But the message I’ve gotten from people at the doors, is that this is worth getting sued over.”
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Delaware principals need to be tougher in evaluating teachers, state says

Only 1 percent of Delaware teachers were rated ineffective

Written by Matthew Albright for The News Journal on November 06, 2013Education Reform
Only 1 percent of Delaware teachers were rated ineffective during the first full year of the state’s evaluation system, according to new Department of Education figures. State officials say that shows school leaders aren’t making the tough evaluations needed to give honest feedback and weed out low-performing teachers. “Going forward, we need to ensure that school leaders implement the system well, so that our overall results reflect the reality of what’s happening in our classrooms,” said Secretary of Education Mark Murphy. “When only one in five of our students is graduating high school ready for their next step, we still have a long way to go.”

Principals, who make most of the evaluations, say they were hesitant to give teachers low ratings based on a big, brand-new system many still were learning and some don’t think is fair. Though there’s disagreement on how best to go about it, teacher evaluations are regarded widely as an important part of improvingschools. Many teachers are keenly interested in their scores, because good evaluations can qualify them for bonuses and career advancement, while bad ones can put them under scrutiny and even put their jobs in jeopardy.
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Washington special legislative session starts Thursday

Written by Jim Camden for The Spokesman-Review on November 06, 2013Economic Prosperity
OLYMPIA – The Washington Legislature will meet in a special session starting Thursday to consider a $10 billion transportation package and other legislation Gov. Jay Inslee said is key to landing the manufacturing plant for a new Boeing jetliner. Standing with legislative leaders, Boeing executives and union officials, Inslee said a combination of transportation improvements, extended tax breaks, faster permits for building and aerospace education programs would guarantee the company will build the new jetliner and a new carbon-fiber wing in Washington.

The current 777 facility supports 56,000 jobs, and the new plane will create thousands more, Inslee said: “These jobs are ours if we act now. ”While he contended the Legislature could agree to all the bills in seven days, legislative leaders cast some doubt on that time frame. There is no agreement yet on what taxes would be raised to pay for the transportation package, or how it would be spent among the state’s different needs for new roads and the maintenance of existing roads and bridges. Some legislators also want significant reforms in the way the state contracts and pays for major projects.
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CT Health Exchange Taking Bids To Work Around Federal Failure

Written by Dan Haar for The Hartford Courant on November 05, 2013Health Care
Access Health CT, tired of seeing its Connecticut Obamacare exchange held hostage by the balky federal system, is taking bids this week from outside contractors that would verify customers' identities — a key function within the federal system that caused two nationwide shutdowns last week. The move by Access Health CT, operator of the state marketplace for health plans, shows that the agency does not have faith in a glitch-free federal system going forward. "What we're looking for is a stronger contingency plan," said Jim Wadleigh, chief information officer at Access Health CT. "Our hope is to do this as quickly as possible." Wadleigh said the cost of the private outsourcing, not yet determined, will be part of the $45 million systems budget the federal government gave Connecticut to build its own system. So the feds are paying for a fix to go around their own questionable system.
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State health exchanges are showing mixed results

Written by PAIGE WINFIELD CUNNINGHAM for Politico on November 05, 2013Health Care
On the Obamacare racetrack, Washington, Kentucky and New York are leading the pack. Relatively free of the technical problems that have plagued the federally run insurance exchanges — but still encumbered by some glitches of their own — the 15 state-run exchanges tell a varied story. Some states are charging ahead on enrollment while others have run up against roadblocks. The leader on enrollments, so far: Washington state, with nearly 49,000 enrollees in exchange plans and Medicaid as of Monday. The state has been a leader in setting up its exchange all along, and officials say the swell of enrollments has allowed them to identify the biggest website problems early on.

The problems have ranged from error codes to difficulties reconciling state tax records with the federal government, said Washington exchange spokesman Michael Marchand. Those problems are being fixed through regular overnight weekend maintenance which will most likely continue through the beginning of December, he said. The state has set a goal of 130,000 enrollees in exchange health plans and a quarter-million new Medicaid enrollees by Jan. 1. But while things seem to be going well, officials aren’t celebrating too soon.
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Texans easily approve $2 billion water fund, other amendments

Written by DAVID BARER for The Dallas Morning News on November 05, 2013Energy & Environment
AUSTIN — Texans voted Tuesday to open the valves on water project spending for decades to come, approving a constitutional measure to create a revolving state fund for reservoirs, pipelines and conservation efforts. It was the most closely watched of nine proposed amendments on the ballot, all of which easily won approval. Proposition 6 will tap $2 billion from the rainy day fund to help finance water projects across the state. Advocates say the money should help solve the state’s water woes for the next 50 years. It capped a strong push by business and political leaders to address the issue, lest drought and booming population stall Texas’ economic growth.

“Small businesses, manufacturers, the energy industry, the conservation community, farmers and ranchers, agriculture, all came together very, very strongly,” said House Speaker Joe Straus, who headed the campaign to promote the amendment. He spoke at an Austin watch party after the posting of favorable early voting results. “The people of Texas today validated our good work with an overwhelming vote of support,” added Straus, R-San Antonio. The $2 billion will go into a new water bank that the Texas Water Development Board will control to aid in financing water projects across the state. The money will be crucial for large projects, such as reservoirs and pipelines, because they can take decades to build and cost billions of dollars, officials said.
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New voter ID law tested during Texas election

Written by Rick Jervis for USA TODAY on November 05, 2013Election Law
AUSTIN — Texas voters are going to the polls Tuesday to vote on a slew of constitutional and municipal issues, from funding water projects to granting tax breaks to aerospace companies. But a deeper question is how voters adapt to the state's new controversial voter ID law, which was enacted earlier this year and is seeing its first statewide test Tuesday. The law says voters must have a valid photo ID with a name that matches the name on the voting rolls. Those without ID could still vote using provisional ballots and have six days to return with correct identification. Texas is one of 34 states that have passed voter ID laws, though not all of have been enacted due to future implementation dates or court challenges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
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McCrory launches teacher advisory committee

Written by Lynn Bonner for The Charlotte Observer on November 05, 2013Education Reform
CARY Gov. Pat McCrory launched a teacher advisory group Tuesday that he charged with making recommendations on issues such as teacher pay, testing and technology. At a meeting at the SAS campus in Cary, he asked the group to keep in mind the needs of businesses looking for educated workers. “This is an issue that’s going to determine the future of our state and the future of our jobs,” he said.

McCrory said improving education was “not a Democratic or Republican issue,” but public education has become a flashpoint for McCrory and the Republican legislature. The first meeting of the advisory committee – 24 K-12 teachers from across the state – was held the day after teachers and parents around the state protested per-pupil spending that has fallen to near the bottom of national rankings and low teacher pay. Even SAS CEO Jim Goodnight, in his short welcome to committee members, said he hoped the legislature “will find some money to pay you a little bit more. Some of the salary data is not very good.”
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Maine has lots of businesses, and we can get them to grow

Published in Bangor Daily News on November 05, 2013Economic Prosperity
People may often wonder: How do you actually create jobs? Well, often it starts with an entrepreneur or two. Studies have shown economic growth depends on a thriving entrepreneurial foundation made up of small enterprises. Because they are more nimble and better able to generate a return with seed funding or research and development money, small enterprises serve as an engine for job growth and productivity. Indeed, the vast majority of new businesses start small. New companies with one to four employees account for 86 percent of new firms formed each year since the late 1970s. The tricky part is to ensure those firms grow and succeed.

The entrepreneurs of Maine — and it has many — are a resource, and they need much more attention and support. Maine — which Forbes Magazine ranked worst for business — actually ranks 29th for entrepreneurship, according to the University of Nebraska’s Lincoln Bureau of Business Research, which measures states based on the income of entrepreneurs, business formation rates, technological innovation and growth in the number of entrepreneurs. And it has gotten to that level with little investment. Maine spends $11.31 per capita in venture capital investment, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Massachusetts, which is ranked No. 1 for entrepreneurship, spends $432 per capita on venture capital.
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Young Avoid New Health Plans

Early Buyers of Coverage Are Older Than Expected, Raising Expense Concerns

Published in Wall Street Journal on November 04, 2013Health Care
Insurers say the early buyers of health coverage on the nation's troubled new websites are older than expected so far, raising early concerns about the economics of the insurance marketplaces. If the trend continues, an older, more expensive set of customers could drive up prices for everyone, the insurers say, by forcing them to spread their costs around. "We need a broad range of people to make this work, and we're not seeing that right now," said Heather Thiltgen of Medical Mutual of Ohio, the state's largest insurer by individual customers. "We're seeing the population skewing older."

The early numbers, described to The Wall Street Journal by insurance executives, agents, state officials and actuaries, are still small—partly a consequence of the continuing technical problems plaguing the federally run exchanges, experts say., the federally run marketplace serving 36 states, is suffering serious technical problems that have prevented many people from signing up. But the numbers demonstrate a real-world fallout from the digital snafus: Less-healthy customers are more likely to persevere through technical obstacles to gain coverage, insurers say. Younger, healthier customers who feel less need for insurance—but whose widespread participation is important to the financial success of the system—could be quicker to give up.
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Oregon's State Exchange May Be Worse Than

Written by Kristian Foden-Vencil for Oregon Public Broadcasting on November 04, 2013Health Care
As the federal government consumes humble pie over failures in the health insurance exchanges, some states that have set up their own exchanges are also struggling. Oregon has yet to enroll one single person, and it's been reduced to pawing through paper applications to figure out eligibility. When Cover Oregon opened Oct. 1, executive director Rocky King was excited. He’d been preparing for years. "Day one, we are accepting applications. And staff at the Oregon Health Authority and Cover Oregon are ready to process those applications," he said on opening day.

Back then, King conceded there were still glitches with the site, but he said that by mid-to-late October, they'd be worked out. Now it’s November, and it's clear a quick fix is not in the cards. So Cover Oregon has turned to old-fashioned paper applications. People can either download one off the website, or have somebody walk them through it. NPR made a request to visit a call center to see the process, but was turned down for security reasons. Instead, spokeswoman Amy Fauver explained how it’ll work. "We have on our website right now, a place where people who just want to wait, who just want do to it electronically, can give us their e-mail address, and we will e-mail them when the system is fully functional,” she said. “We also hear from a lot of people who are really chomping at the bit to get started. And they want to send in their paper application as soon as they can. Either way is fine with us. " Some consumers are frustrated.
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Health law leads to cancellation of N.D. policies

Published in The Bismarck Tribune on November 03, 2013Health Care
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Thousands of North Dakota residents who buy health insurance on their own will see their current policies canceled or changed beginning in January as new regulations take effect under the federal health care law. Health insurance companies have already sent out cancellation notices in North Dakota and other states, routing customers to new plans that comply with rules in the Affordable Care Act. Those rules make some previously optional coverage areas mandatory and set limits on out-of-pocket expenses. Plans that do not meet those new regulations will be canceled or upgraded.

About 42,500 North Dakota residents, or roughly 6 percent of the state, were covered by individual plans at the end of 2013, according to state insurance records. In North Dakota, the health care changes will wipe out virtually all the 2,500 individual plans carried by Medica and Sanford Health. Blue Cross Blue Shield North Dakota, the state’s largest insurer, covered more than 32,000 through individual plans last year, and would not disclose how many of its customers’ current plans will be discontinued. But Judd Wagner, chief marketing officer, said the changes would affect a very small percentage of its customers, including those enrolled through employer groups.
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Which Federal Appeals Court Vacancies Should Take Priority?

Written by Maggie Clark for Stateline on October 29, 2013Federal Overreach
Seven Republican attorneys general say President Obama is stacking the deck against states that sue federal agencies by filling vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit. The D.C. Circuit currently has three open seats, but also has the lowest workload of any circuit, according to data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The D.C.-based court hears all cases against federal agencies and is a frequent stop for state attorneys general challenging federal regulations. By filling the D.C. vacancies before filling vacancies in circuits with heavier caseloads, the attorneys general argued the president is packing the D.C. court with judges who share his political preferences and will support his agencies when they’re challenged by the states. “It's inappropriate for the Obama administration to inject politics into decisions about how best to allocate judicial resources by attempting to unnecessarily add judges to the D.C. Circuit when other circuits are in much greater need," said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
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Obama administration knew millions could not keep their health insurance

Written by Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye for NBC News on October 28, 2013Federal Overreach
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years. Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
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New Mexico agency pleased with Medicaid expansion enrollment so far; 13,000 apply in October

Written by BARRY MASSEY for Associated Press on October 27, 2013Health Care
SANTA FE, New Mexico — More than 13,000 New Mexicans have applied for health care services through Medicaid since enrollment opened earlier this month for an expanded program that will cover more low-income adults, according to state officials. Gov. Susana Martinez's administration and a health care advocate consider it a good start for a state with one of the highest uninsured rates in the country. Of those who submitted applications, about 79 percent, or nearly 10,500, were found to be eligible for Medicaid through Wednesday, according to the Human Services Department. Matt Kennicott, a spokesman for the department, said the pace of Medicaid enrollment since Oct. 1 is similar to what the state typically sees each month. There were about 19,600 applications for Medicaid in September. "As we pick up steam and more people become aware of it, then we'll get more people on the rolls. So I think it's fine as long we are making headway with these kind of numbers," said Barbara Webber, executive director of Health Action New Mexico.
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NM teachers unions want education department to slow implementation of evaluation system

Published in THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on October 26, 2013Labor Reform
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — New Mexico's two teacher unions want the state Public Education Department to slow its implementation of a new evaluation system for teachers and schools. The National Education Association is considering legal action, while the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico is threatening to withdraw support for renewal of a waiver that allows the state more flexibility under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Patrick Sanchez, head of the National Education Association in Las Cruces, told the Albuquerque Journal ( that teachers have reached a boiling point over the department's plan. "It's pretty fierce, close to nuclear," he said. The system has provoked protests and talks of a teacher strike in Albuquerque as well as criticism from teachers and others around the state. Critics say the system places too much weight on student achievement and allows for classroom observations to be done by someone other than the school principal or assistant principal.
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New Voter ID law causing few problems

Written by ANNA M. TINSLEY for The Star-Telegram on October 26, 2013Election Law
The state’s voter ID law doesn’t seem to be creating significant problems at Texas polls so far, but election officials worry that the worst is in store. This year’s Nov. 5 election, which features constitutional amendments and proposals such as school and park bond packages, is drawing a trickle of Texas early voters to the polls, a drop in the bucket of what is expected next year. “We’ve really had no complaints, concerns or issues,” said Steve Raborn, elections administrator for Tarrant County. “But it’s only a small test given the low turnout. “Voters who turn out for these constitutional amendment and bond elections are frequent voters. They know the drill,” he said. “Next year, we probably will get a lot more voters, first-time voters or infrequent voters, and maybe they haven’t received that message.” This is the first statewide election in which Texans must show a photo ID to vote.
Read original article fixes won’t be done until end of November, adviser says

Written by Sandhya Somashekhar and Lena H. Sun for The Washington Post on October 25, 2013Health Care
The Obama administration announced Friday that it was putting a private firm in charge of fixing its faulty health insurance Web site and set the end of November as a target date for working out all the bugs, the first indication of how long repairs may take. One day after contractors on the project publicly suggested that the federal government inadequately tested the site before its Oct. 1 launch, administration officials said that one of those contractors — Columbia-based Quality Software Services Inc., or QSSI — would take over management of Jeffrey Zients, a former administration official selected by the White House to assess the extent of the online marketplace’s problems, told reporters the site is “fixable.” But he offered a sobering picture of the problems left to tackle, saying there are dozens of issues on a “punch list” that need to be addressed. More than 100 items are on the list, according to a person who is knowledgeable about the project and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information is not public.
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State insurance boards frustrated with Obamacare technical glitches

Written by Reid Wilson for Washington Post on October 25, 2013Health Care
Commissioners responsible for overseeing insurance industries in states relying on the federal government to run health-care exchanges are hearing from consumers who can’t log into Web sites, and some aren’t hearing back when they call Washington for answers. At the same time, the Department of Health and Human Services says its Web site,, is working better every day. More than 700,000 applications have been completed, many through the Web site, according to a department spokeswoman. HHS is pushing to enroll the uninsured in person, as well as online. The department has held more than 500 events for the health insurance marketplace since Oct. 1, one source said. And HHS is relying on the more than 60,000 agents and brokers who have been trained to sign people up, along with 12,000 certified application specialists and 2,200 so-called “navigators.”

“People are getting online, they are getting enrolled, they are completing applications, and we are seeing improvement,” said Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. “We have made sure that people know that there are a number of ways to fill out an application, get it completed, go through the shopping experience and ultimately get enrolled.” But in a series of interviews with insurance commissioners in several states, many told GovBeat that they weren’t getting answers when they call HHS. States that declined to set up their own exchanges are worried that some of their citizens won’t be able to sign up in time, though states running their own exchanges have had more success.
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After Insurance Industry Pow-Wow, White House Delays Obamacare's Individual Mandate By Six Weeks

Written by Avik Roy for Forbes on October 24, 2013Health Care
Yesterday afternoon, chief executives of 12 major health insurers—including Aetna, Humana, WellPoint, and Kaiser Permanente—trudged to the White House to “discuss…ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” The meeting was off the record, but we have a pretty good idea of what happened. Insurers were likely to urge the White House to delay the implementation of Obamacare’s exchanges until the website,, gets fixed. And it appears they got their wish. Last night, the White House confirmed that it intends to delay the enforcement of the individual mandate by as much as six weeks. “The White House is meeting with insurance industry executives,” a consultant to insurers told Ezra Klein, “and I can tell you what they’re talking about. [They’re saying] you need to get this fixed, because you’re setting us up for a real fall with our customers. [Patients are] not going to blame Kathleen Sebelius if they walk into their doctor’s office and the doctor doesn’t know who they are. They’ll blame the insurance company. And I’m sure what the insurers are telling the White House today is we will not let you put us in that position.”

I recently spoke to one of those CEOs, Bruce Broussard of Humana, at the Forbes Healthcare Summit. Broussard expressed optimism that the website would eventually get fixed. But he was more cautious about whether or not healthy and young people will pay lots more for health insurance in order to subsidize other people. “The exchanges probably are a good thing,” says Broussard. “It’s expanding coverage for people, and we think that in the long run it will be the right thing to do. In the short run, it’s got some bumps, and the industry and the government expected that. But we are focused on fixing those bumps, and to work with the government to make it both a good experience [while] driving down health care costs and improving the quality.”
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