Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens (R) has a message for the estimated 57.2 million Americans suffering from diabetes, asthma, cancer, genetic disorders, and other pre-existing medical conditions: it’s your fault.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered video of Hudgens from a November meeting at the CSRA Republican Women’s Club in Evans, Georgia in which he makes the case against the Affordable Care Act’s mandated coverage for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. In fact, Hudgens compares requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions to requiring auto insurers to pay claims to any reckless drivers without comprehensive auto insurance who crash their cars.
Major League Soccer hopes to place its next two expansion teams in Miami and Atlanta.
"We’re making progress in both of those markets. I wouldn’t say we’re close," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s championship game between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City.Former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham is leading the Miami effort and has the right to an expansion team at a discount fee of $25 million
"We are very excited about the opportunity of David putting together an ownership group and finalizing a stadium site in downtown Miami," Garber said. "We can’t go to Miami without the right stadium solution. David understands that. The city understands that. That is an indisputable fact."
New teams have been announced for 2015 in New York City and Orlando, Fla., increasing the league’s total to 21, „,
Falcons owner Arthur Blank heads the Atlanta venture, which would play at a new stadium for his NFL team, a venue scheduled to open in 2017.”We’ve been working on a downsizing technology that we think would be unique, would be the only one of its kind anywhere in the world,” Garber said. “We’ve got to continue to work hard with Atlanta to see if this whole project makes sense for them. But I am encouraged by the discussions and hope to be able to finalize something.”
Kentucky is the only state in the South to build its own insurance exchange and also expand Medicaid — two elements of the health care law that are critical to its aim of insuring millions of Americans. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear ordered Kynect’s creation without legislative action, circumventing any roadblocks from the state’s Republican Senate. Opponents and tea partiers tried but failed to pass a law barring the move and also sued, unsuccessfully, in federal court.
Providing the Bluegrass State’s 640,000 uninsured residents with coverage is a moral obligation, Beshear told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a September interview. He also saw implementing the law as something the state couldn’t afford not to do. Expanding Medicaid alone is expected to produce $15.6 billion in economic impact and create nearly 17,000 new jobs for the state, according to an independent study by the University of Louisville.
An Atlanta Braves fan — or we should say a former fan — reacted to the news that the team is abandoning the city and moving to suburban Cobb County by tossing his baseball cap in the trash.
Well, that was fast. Fifteen days after the Atlanta Braves announced a partnership with a suburban government to build a new ballpark in time for the 2017 season, the Cobb County Commission approved $300 million in funding for the $672 million project Tuesday night.
The measure passed 4-to-1, with commissioner Lisa Cupid voting against chairman Tim Lee, Bob Ott, JoAnn Birrell and Helen Goreham. Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cupid says the speed of the process worried her:
“I believe this could’ve been a win-win for so many more people … if we only took more time,” she said.
Government — working too fast. Get a load of that!
Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO writes:
Us vs. them.
Those words are behind a bevy of problems in U.S. culture and politics. They sum up how companies and labor unions too often position themselves, especially in the South. But labor relations just across the Georgia border at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant may be poised to break through that mindset.
Volkswagen has made “co-determination” an integral part of its business model. It means workers and management recognize their stake in the company’s success and work together. At Volkswagen’s plant in Germany, employees have a voice through a works council and voluntary representation by IG Metall, a union of 2.2 million auto, steel, electrical, textile, wood and plastics industry workers. Every major Volkswagen assembly facility in the world has union representation, except the Tennessee plant.
Volkswagen has opened the door to introducing this model of labor relations in Chattanooga and set a model for other companies moving to the South. In partnership with the UAW, the collaboration would form the first-ever works council in the U.S.
A works council with local representation gives workers a voice in the company’s success. It sets a new tone — swapping “us vs. them” for “we’re all in this together.”
Smokers’ days may be numbered on many of Georgia’s college campuses, as the state Board of Regents considers a total tobacco ban for all 31 institutions in the university system.
The ban is being pushed by Regent Thomas Hopkins, an orthopedic surgeon from Griffin who wants it to apply to students, staff and visitors.
The proposal, which he would like the regents to discuss early next year, follows a national trend of similar bans — promoted as health initiatives — implemented at schools, parks, around hospitals and in restaurants. Last September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a national tobacco-free college campus initiative to promote bans like Hopkins is proposing. The initiative counts more than 1,100 colleges and universities in its smoke-free fold.
Merrell Williams Jr., a one-time Kentucky paralegal who took on Big Tobacco as a whistleblower who leaked internal documents exposing health risks and the addictiveness of cigarettes, has died in Mississippi, decades after he joined the fight that forever changed perceptions of smoking.
Williams died last week of a heart attack in Ocean Springs, Miss., his daughter, Jennifer Smith, said Monday. He was 72.
He worked for a Kentucky law firm representing the then-Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. and leaked thousands of pages of internal memos and studies concerning smoking and health that provided newfound ammunition to tobacco opponents.
The information made national headlines. News organizations reported the information showed Brown & Williamson executives knew decades earlier that nicotine was addictive and that they funneled potentially damaging documents to lawyers to keep them secret.
A few years later, the tobacco industry agreed to a massive settlement with the states over smoking-related health costs.
Mike Moore, who as Mississippi’s attorney general during that era, was at the forefront of the legal fight against the tobacco industry. He remembered Williams on Monday for making a significant contribution to the effort that put cigarette makers on the defensive.
"The now famous Brown & Williamson documents that Merrell was able to provide us, under extraordinary circumstances and threat, changed the course of our litigation," Moore said in an email. "We got on a plane and took those documents to Congress and the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)."
"The three big lies — cigarettes don’t cause cancer, nicotine is not addictive and we don’t market to kids — were all refuted by the B&W documents Merrell obtained."
Orlando City Soccer has become Major League Soccer’s next expansion franchise.
MLS commissioner Don Garber announced the franchise agreement with Orlando City on Tuesday at a community celebration near the site where a new downtown stadium will be constructed.
Cheers, chants and dancing created a carnival-like atmosphere inside a venue in the heart of Orlando’s downtown for the official announcement.
Congratulations to Orlando on becoming Major League Soccer’s 21st franchise. The team begins play in 2015. Two earlier Florida-based franchises folded, and no other team from the South currently plays in the league.
Jefferson County, Ala., which just became the first municipality to tap the public bond markets while bankrupt, will go to court on Wednesday to seek approval for its plan to exit bankruptcy by the end of this year.
But there is a catch: Even if Jefferson County does emerge from bankruptcy soon, it will not fully sever its ties to the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Birmingham for 40 more years.
The county’s unusual exit plan, which could offer a possible template for other bankrupt municipalities, calls for the court to retain jurisdiction for the life of $1.8 billion in sewer-revenue debt that it sold over the last few days. If the county falters at some point, even decades from now, the bankruptcy court is supposed to have the power to enforce rate increases to produce the cash needed to pay back the $1.8 billion on schedule, with interest.