Government Bureaucrats Determine Payment Models in Medicare
Apr 28, 2016

Because of exploding costs in Medicare, Congress placed a wage-control on doctors as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. This so called Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) tied physician payments in the Medicare program to health care inflation and the overall growth rate of the economy. Each year thereafter, doctor payments should have decreased, but didn’t because Congress deferred the cuts.

Last year Congress finally addressed the SGR problem with a permanent “doc fix.” The fix, the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (MACRA), had bipartisan support and was hailed as a real Congressional accomplishment. The basic goal of MACRA is to link provider payments with quality measures as determined by government bureaucrats.

Labor union wants to tax Seattle employers—so unions can be paid to help workers file complaints against employers
Apr 27, 2016

One of the state’s most powerful labor unions is pushing a proposal that would increase taxes on Seattle employers, and a big chunk of those tax dollars would end up in union coffers.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has filed an initiative that would establish a per-employee “head tax” paid by every employer in the city of Seattle.  The revenue generated by the new tax on employers would fund the city’s newly created Office of Labor Standards (OLS), which is charged with investigating and enforcing the city’s ever-growing list of labor laws, which currently include the $15 minimum wage, mandatory paid sick leave, criminal background and wage theft laws.

Northshore School District considers holding back students eager to learn
Apr 26, 2016

Tonight Northshore school board directors will hear from a task force intent on cancelling the district’s learning Challenge Program for students. This popular program allows middle school students to voluntarily enroll in more rigorous courses in English, Science, Math and Social Studies. I learned of this controversy from the Eastside Education Network, which posts this description of the program by parent leader Nancy Chamberlain: