Tag Archives: health care

Easing license burdens for the duration

I’ve got a new post at Cato on steps taken by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to ease licensing burdens for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. Baker announced that a state board would shorten to one day the approval needed for medical professionals licensed in good standing in other states to practice in Massachusetts. On the Maryland steps, I summarize thus:

Meanwhile, as part of a group of emergency measures in Maryland yesterday, Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order providing that all renewals of expiring licenses, permits, registrations and the like — including driver’s, business, and other licenses, not only occupational — would be extended to until 30 days after the state of emergency ends, whenever that is. The step will protect state employees and other users of public buildings from unnecessary contacts, as well as sparing many members of the public the fear that they will need to break isolation and social distancing in order to keep their licenses current.

Other states should follow on both measures.

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In miniature, November 17

  • State of Maryland is appealing, to Fourth Circuit, federal judge’s ruling that its law regulating political advertising on social media is unconstitutionally broad [Denise Lavoie, AP/WHSV] As I wrote at the time, “Social media trickery is bad. Chipping away at First Amendment liberties to stop it is worse.”
  • Some overdue national attention for the role of Maryland’s “red flag” gun law in the shooting death of Gary Willis at the hands of Anne Arundel police [Jacob Sullum, earlier]
  • This, from Baltimore musician Jonathan Jensen, had me laughing [Classic FM]
  • Maryland’s Brian Frosh was a key player in national campaign to embed privately paid environmentalist lawyers in state AG offices [Todd Shepherd, Free Beacon; Chris Horner (“Turns out Maryland actually has *two* Bloomberg-funded ‘Special Assistant Attorneys General’ to pursue Bloomberg priorities”); earlier and more here, here, here, and here]
  • “Coincidentally or not, current and former members of the Baltimore Orioles, which the Angelos family owns, were dispatched to the State House for a good will visit while the [Angelos asbestos] bill was under consideration.” [Josh Kurtz, Maryland Matters]
  • Hospital price regulation in Maryland is often depicted as an unqualified policy success. Is it? [Chris Pope, The Hill]

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In miniature, September 22

  • “Maryland Court of Appeals Will Hear Challenge to Baltimore’s Food Truck Rules” [Andrew Wimer, IJ press release]
  • Four of eight members of Maryland House delegation (Reps. Raskin, Cummings, Sarbanes, Brown) would eliminate private health insurance [Allison Stevens, Maryland Matters]
  • A view from the Left: “Why I support single-member districts” [Richard DeShay Elliott]
  • Maryland legislature should address outcome of Court of Appeals case in which 16 year old girl was brought up on child pornography distribution charges for “sexting” video of herself engaged in sex that was both consensual and legal [David Post, Volokh Conspiracy]
  • Ban on foam packaging “did not encourage” staying around: Dart Container closing Carroll, Harford County warehouse and distribution centers [Jon Kelvey, Carroll County Times, earlier on polystyrene bans here, here]
  • Looking for an alternative to the pro-secessionist lyrics in “Maryland, My Maryland”? There’s a competing Unionist version [Todd Eberly, Free Stater last year]

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In miniature, November 10

Midterm campaign edition:

  • An issue in some races: “Critique of Maryland Congestion-Relief Plan Rests on Very Bad Logic [Austill Stuart] So much for the “Lexus Lanes” epithet: “Congestion pricing is not just slanted toward the elite” [Tyler Cowen]
  • Brian Frosh is part of a state-AG task force that subpoenas and investigates private groups and individuals for having promoted erroneous opinions on environmental questions. Which should have been more controversial during the campaign [Mark Uncapher]
  • Republican mailers assailed Dems on this issue, yet “supervised injection facilities save lives” [Jacob Sullum, Reason]
  • Sen. Ron Young (D-Frederick), at 12:55: stop saying we raised taxes 46 times, I counted and we only raised them 15 times [FNP podcast debate with Craig Giangrande]
  • In Maryland as elsewhere, “single payer in one state” is more of a political stunt than a practical program [Todd Eberly]
  • Poor showings at Tuesday’s polls for many lawmakers rated highly by Maryland Business for Responsive Government could spell trouble ahead on business issues [MBRG]

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In miniature, March 27

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In miniature, Aug. 28

  • “Auditors from the federal government are delving into the debacle of Maryland’s health insurance exchange, The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday. All we can say is, good.” [Frederick News-Post] Catalogue of state ObamaCare exchange debacles, of which perhaps only Oregon’s outdoes ours [Peter Suderman] Role of departing health commissioner Sharfstein [Maryland Reporter] Role of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, earlier;
  • More details on GOP poll finding governor’s race almost neck-and-neck [Maryland Reporter, earlier]
  • Police militarization: Frederick News-Post runs a letter from me about vote by Reps. Van Hollen, Delaney to preserve Pentagon-surplus-to-cops program. Choicest comment: “The liberal left is never happy.” (Referring to me!) Related Baltimore Sun coverage of 1033 program in Maryland; earlier post here.
  • Conveniently, privacy laws conceal identity of official in the O’Malley/Brown administration accused of inside dealings [Baltimore Sun] My little crony: Mark Newgent traces energy subsidy flow to firm run by O’Malley sidekick [Red Maryland]
  • Truly discouraging that legislature would discontinue reporting through which we learn that law enforcement agencies in Maryland have conducted more than 6,500 SWAT raids since 2010, the great majority over execution of search warrants [Newgent]
  • Dems launch StopPeroutka.com [Len Lazarick, Barry Rascovar; earlier] His affinities with Anne Arundel sheriff nominee [StopPeroutka.com]

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Anthony Brown and the health exchange fiasco: You Had One Job

YouHadOneJobFrie

I have my differences with Maryland Reporter columnist Barry Rascovar, but his latest column correctly identifies the central issue in this year’s Maryland election: the failed rollout of the state’s Obamacare health exchange, which Rascovar calls an “immense fiasco,” a “monumental disaster that should have been foreseen,” even “the costliest debacle in Maryland state history.” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is now the Democratic candidate for governor, had been assigned to oversee the rollout as his big project, having few other duties attached to his position. The results could be summed up in a
now-classic Internet meme: You Had One Job.

As if this were not enough, Lt. Gov. Brown and Gov. Martin O’Malley sat back while state health secretary Josh Sharfstein loyally fell on his sword to take blame that was far from his alone. Rascovar:

Even worse, they [Brown and O’Malley] connived with legislative leaders to cover up the true story by avoiding an in-depth accounting of what went wrong until mid-2015. This intentional lack of transparency and accountability will remain an indelible blot on the O’Malley-Brown administration. It will haunt both of them in the years ahead.

Sharfstein took the fall at legislative hearings. He was the only one connected with this ill-fated project to apologize and take responsibility for a truly screwed-up rollout.

It’s a devastating episode because, for all the state’s general leanings toward the Democratic Party, swing voters in Maryland still place a premium on competence and independence. After watching his performance in the health exchange debacle, who could be confident that Anthony Brown will display either?

YouHadOneJobRail

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O’Malley must stop forced dues collection from home carers

Seven years ago, Gov. Martin O’Malley by executive decree ordered the unionization of state-subsidized home health carers and child carers in Maryland, even though the General Assembly had refused to enact legislation to do that. Maryland is now one of about a dozen states to herd home health carers into unions, an enormous dues bonanza for unions that include the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a major source of political support for O’Malley’s Democratic Party.

In June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Harris v. Quinn that it is a violation of home health carers’ First Amendment rights to force them to pay dues for representation they may not want or welcome. (It applied this analysis to the category of “partial public employees” like the home carers who may have some characteristics of public employees but lack many others.) Since then, advocates at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation have sought to make sure states and unions comply with the decision by ceasing the collection of mandatory dues. They have already gotten pledges of compliance in Illinois (where the Harris case arose), Minnesota, and Massachusetts.

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration needs to make clear immediately that it intends to comply with the Supreme Court decision and will not attempt to prolong the unlawful mandatory collection of dues. This would also make a good time for O’Malley to apologize for railroading through an executive order that led to the violation of the constitutional rights of thousands of Marylanders, and an even better time for him to revoke the executive order. If he declines to do so, the next governor should revoke it.

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Supreme Court: mandatory union dues violate rights of home health carers

The high court’s ruling in Harris v. Quinn is a rebuff to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who in 2007 handed down an executive order meant to herd the carers into unions. Now they can assert their constitutional right not to pay dues if they object to the union and its message [Marc Kilmer, Maryland Public Policy Institute] More on Harris v. Quinn in a new podcast I’ve done at Cato, and at Overlawyered.

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