Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

House Committee scheduled to hear several minimum wage bills; Medicare billing data released; New analysis of Paul Ryan Medicare proposal; and Community Colleges and Public Schools partner in “Jump Start”. 73 — The percentage of Louisiana adults who support raising the wage from the current minimum of $7.25 per hour.  (Source: LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab)

House Committee scheduled to hear several minimum wage bills
The House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations is scheduled to hear several bills today, all dealing with the minimum wage.  Currently, Louisiana has no state minimum wage law and follows the federal minimum. Agenda items include bills that would establish a state minimum wage, establish a minimum wage for certain municipalities and set a minimum wage for federal contractors and subcontractors.

Polling data released as part of a report from the Louisiana Budget Project shows that a majority of Louisianans favor establishing a state minimum wage of at least $8.50 an hour that would keep pace with the cost of living. “While some politicians make the minimum wage a partisan issue, the verdict from everyday Louisianans is clear and bipartisan: it’s time to give workers a raise,” LBP Director Jan Moller said. Moller and Erika Zucker, with the Workplace Justice Project at Loyola University, will be testifying about the need for a livable minimum wage in Louisiana.

Medicare billing data released
“A tiny fraction of the 880,000 doctors and other health care providers who take Medicare accounted for nearly a quarter of the roughly $77 billion paid out to them under the federal program, receiving millions of dollars each in some cases in a single year, according to the most detailed data ever released in Medicare’s nearly 50-year history.”

While some of this can be explained by doctors performing extremely specialized and costly procedures, the Washington Post reports that fraud may potentially be playing a role in exorbitant billing: “Indeed, three of the top 10 earners already had drawn scrutiny from the federal government, and one of them is awaiting trial on federal fraud charges.”

New analysis of Paul Ryan Medicare proposal
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has released a new analysis of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposals. The plan seeks to transition Medicare to a “premium support” model, similar to a health care voucher. This could end up shifting costs to retirees. Also significant, by pushing Medicare eligibility back to 67 and repealing Obamacare, this proposal would lead to an increase in the number of uninsured 65 and 66 year-olds, worsening health conditions and costing more money in the long run.

Community Colleges and Public Schools partner in “Jump Start”
“Louisiana’s career education initiative has drawn interest from 52 of the state’s 70 public school systems, according to the state Education Department. Called Jump Start, the program seeks to give high school students more opportunity to pursue career education instead of general or college-preparatory education.”

Participating school systems will receive state funds to implement the program in the 2014-15 school year.  “Through this program, high school students may take classes at community colleges and work as apprentices to prepare for a career.”

73 — The percentage of Louisiana adults who support raising the wage from the current minimum of $7.25 per hour.  (Source: LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab)