Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Podcast #10 Tips for College Graduates<p> IWF Senior Policy Analyst Hadley Heath Manning sits down with IWF Managing Director Carrie Lukas to discuss transition from college to the workplace. Carrie wrote an article for Forbes titled &quot;Seven Things College Women Should Know For Life After Graduation,&quot; where she offered advice to young women who are entering the work force.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/media/2797267/Hadley HeathTue, 26 May 2015 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCommon Core: Federal Overreach Into A State Issue<p> The words &ldquo;education,&rdquo; &ldquo;schools,&rdquo; and &ldquo;curriculum&rdquo; do not appear in the U.S. Constitution or any Amendments. &nbsp;This is not to say the Founders were not supportive of public education. Many of them, most notably Thomas Jefferson, wrote in support of the concept because they believed that, &ldquo;an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.&rdquo;</p> <p> Importantly, the Founders envisioned that the states would promulgate and implement policies related to public schools, which is why many state constitutions lay the groundwork for education policy. But today our education system is very different from the one the Founders imagined.&nbsp; Despite the limits of the Constitution, the federal government has a heavy hand in education policy. This overreach is harmful to state autonomy, and impedes the flexibility of students and educators.</p> <p> First, it is important to understand the Founders&rsquo; motive in keep education within the realm of the states. The American founding celebrated (and indeed much of American culture today still celebrates) individualism. We understand that each child&rsquo;s mind is unique and the process of learning may be different from child to child. Not only that, but each state&rsquo;s population is unique. Some states may see fit to include more agricultural classes; others may have little need for such a curriculum.</p> <p> The Founders understood that the fewer decisions the federal government makes, the more decisions are left to states, local government, teachers and students.</p> <p> But this principle has slowly eroded. The federal government&rsquo;s role in education expanded incrementally during the second half of the twentieth century. The federal government led the way in desegregating schools in the 1960&rsquo;s.&nbsp; In 1965, President Johnson created the federal Head Start (preschool) Program. In 1979, President Carter established the Department of Education.</p> <p> More recently, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed by President George W. Bush, tied federal Title I dollars to state education policy decisions, and non-participating states stood to lose millions of education dollars. This is the main mechanism for federal involvement in education policy.&nbsp; The Spending Clause has allowed the federal government to manipulate state policies through conditions upon federal money.</p> <p> The Spending Clause, found in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1, states, &ldquo;The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.&rdquo;</p> <p> Today perhaps the most influential (and most controversial) education policy matter is the Common Core Standards Initiative. It is a set of math and English standards for each grade level. Like many other education policy ideas, Common Core is a well-intentioned effort to raise expectations for students and provide a higher quality of education for them.</p> <p> Defenders of the Common Core will say that it is not a federal program; it is state-led. Indeed, states do have the freedom to opt out of the common core standards. So far, 45 states have opted in, and five states have opted out.</p> <p> The Common Core Standards Initiative is related to the federal Race to the Top program, introduced in 2009. Race to the Top is essentially a competition among the states for federal cash, $4.35 billion in total. In order to even participate in this competition, states must implement college and career-ready standards and assessments.</p> <p> Most states clearly understood this to mean acceptance of the Common Core Standards. Only Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia and Minnesota opted not to adopt the standards (and MN only opted out of the math standards). Even these opt-out states are required to develop other standards to participate in Race to the Top.</p> <p> There has been much heated debate about the standards and their educational content. Criticisms include: The Standards are not rigorous enough. The English standards do not include enough classic literature. The content is politicized, favoring labor unions and universal health care. The content is not age-appropriate.</p> <p> But a review of the curriculum is beyond the scope of this essay. It should suffice to say that all of this debate is evidence that the Founders were right: People from various states, cultures, and backgrounds should not have to agree on one-size-fits-all educational standards or assessments. Taking away this flexibility from states, even if only by bribing the states with federal cash, has taken us far from the vibrant and diverse educational system the Founders envisioned for American children.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.iwf.org/about/hadley-heath"><em>Hadley Heath Manning&nbsp;</em></a><em>is director of health policy at the&nbsp;<a href="http://iwf.org/">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</a></em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2797265/Hadley HeathFri, 22 May 2015 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSmaller percentage of women started businesses in 2014/Etsy creator fights for property rights • Stacy Petty Showhttp://iwf.org/media/2797192/Hadley HeathTue, 19 May 2015 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHealth analysts react to ObamaCare-is-awesome study<p> Not surprisingly, conservative analysts are dissecting the study. &nbsp;</p> <p> The study, done by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, points to language in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurers to spend a certain percentage of premiums on medical expenses or refund the difference to consumers.</p> <p> According to the study, this resulted in $5 billion in savings for consumers in 2011 and 2012, the only two years of data available.</p> <p> &quot;The $5 billion figure is way off. It&#39;s more like $300 million in actual reductions,&quot; says Ed Haislmaier, a senior fellow for the Center for Health Policy Studies at <a href="http://www.heritage.org/">The Heritage Foundation</a>.</p> <p> He tells OneNewsNow the $5 billion figure is &quot;a pure extrapolation of, <em>Well, if nothing else had changed, what would premiums have been?</em> There&#39;s no way of knowing that.&quot;</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">OneNewsNow also sought comment from Hadley Heath Manning, director of Health Policy at the </span></span><a href="http://www.iwf.org/"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum.</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> She says the refund tells her about the insurance market before ObamaCare became law.</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;If indeed there was a lot of room for insurance companies to cut down on overhead, to cut down on administrative costs, then it wasn&#39;t a very competitive market before we had ObamaCare,&quot; Manning observes.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">On the other hand, she says, there&#39;s also the possibility that this particular provision, and the reduction in administrative expenses, is not the full story.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Manning further explains: &quot;Typically, when money gets moved around from one part of a business to another, there may be benefits on one side, like it appears that some larger insurers and some insurers participating in ObamaCare are reducing their administrative costs. But then that makes me ask the question, </span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Where is that money coming from</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">?&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">That makes Manning question what the downside is to this, because it does not appear that insurance companies would have this much room to reduce their overhead, unless they were protected from market competition before ObamaCare.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Meanwhile, one of the study&#39;s authors <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obamacare-making-insurers-more-responsive-efficient-study-2015-05-13">has told MarketWatch</a> that the new spending requirements forced few if any insurers out of business.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2797214/Hadley HeathMon, 18 May 2015 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSmall Businesswoman Stands Up for Her Intellectual Property Rights<p> Last week, Melissa Lay, a mom and small businesswoman in Oregon, raised concerns about a shirt for sale at Target. What was her problem with the shirt? Well, Lay is a designer and owns her own Etsy shop, and the design on the shirt was <em>hers.</em>&nbsp;Target didn&#39;t have her permission to copy it. The black tank top has a silhouette American flag and the word &quot;Merica&quot; on the front.&nbsp;</p> <p> Now <a href="http://www.today.com/style/target-pulls-shirts-after-stay-home-mom-claims-her-design-t21036?cid=par-sm-people-facebook&amp;xid=socialflow_facebook_peoplemag">Target is responding as it should</a>, by taking the shirt off of its shelves and stopping all future sales of the shirt. The retail giant issued a statement saying it didn&#39;t mean to sell something that was stolen. It&#39;s certainly plausible that Target didn&#39;t know; it contracts with many different designers and third-party vendors and would normally have no reason to doubt that each vendor&#39;s work is original. Still, the design belongs to Lay, and Target cannot and should not sell the shirt without her permission.&nbsp;</p> <p> Lay sells her tank top for $25 on her Etsy shop. Target was selling the similar tank top for $12.99. It would be easy to see how Target and other national retailers could push small businesspeople out of the market simply because of the scale of business that they do.&nbsp;</p> <p> But importantly, they can&#39;t do that. Americans like Melissa Lay have a right to their own intellectual property, like their ideas, their designs, their artistic creations. Good for this mom and businesswoman for standing up for herself. Surely Lay could have filed a lawsuit over this matter, but she has told the media that her main concern is bringing attention to the intellectual property issue that is so important to her business and many others.&nbsp;</p> <p> Etsy has become a great outlet for small business owners, including many women, to market their products widely, outside of the local area where the business owner lives. I order products from Etsy often. We should celebrate that so many women have the opportunity to start and manage their own enterprises through this marketplace. But we should also keep in mind that the diversity of products and options available to us are in part due to our legal protections for intellectual property.</p> <p> Way to go, Melissa Lay, for standing up for your IP and for many other business people like you.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2797172/Hadley HeathMon, 18 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCongressional "pig book" uncovers $4.2 billion in gov pork • Bulls and Bearshttp://iwf.org/media/2797184/Hadley HeathSat, 16 May 2015 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPut the Brakes on High Speed Rail? • Bulls and Bears http://iwf.org/media/2797181/Hadley HeathSat, 16 May 2015 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew showdown erupts over closing GITMO • Bulls and Bears http://iwf.org/media/2797180/Hadley HeathSat, 16 May 2015 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumACA Merely Shifts Costs from One Set of Consumers to Another<p> <em>This letter was in response to the editorial &quot;<a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article20538723.html">Health-care law spurring progress.</a>&quot;</em></p> <p> The Observer editorial on the Affordable Care Act only tells part of the story. Many people have suffered personal harm from canceled health insurance policies, broken doctor-patient relationships, increased costs, and decreased choices in drugs and hospitals.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s unfair to judge the law&rsquo;s economic effects when the delayed employer mandate won&rsquo;t fully take its toll until 2016.</p> <p> We should pray that the Supreme Court soon gives us a chance to transition away from the ACA to a market-driven system that uses price transparency, competition, and consumer choice to lower costs &ndash; not subsidies that simply shift costs from one set of consumers to another.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2797137/Hadley HeathThu, 14 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEntitlement spending push • Cavuto http://iwf.org/media/2797134/Hadley HeathThu, 14 May 2015 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumA $12-minimum wage mandate threatens entry-level workers<p> A&nbsp;$12 minimum wage proposed by congressional Democrats would hurt the workers lawmakers are trying to help &mdash; those lacking experience and education.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Wage mandates&nbsp;&ldquo;can destroy existing jobs, and they can result in fewer future jobs being created,&rdquo; </span></span><a href="http://www.iwf.org/about/hadley-heath"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning,&nbsp;</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">of&nbsp;the free-market Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, told Watchdog.org.</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s harder to see the effect of the latter, but it&rsquo;s just as important,&rdquo; Heath said in an email. &ldquo;This job-loss effect is particularly hard on teenagers and low-skilled, entry-level workers.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Heath&nbsp;pointed to several sources, including&nbsp;<a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/24/smallbusiness/seattle-minimum-wage-franchisees/">a CNN Money story</a> about Seattle business&nbsp;owners grappling with a local&nbsp;$15 minimum wage being phased in over several&nbsp;years.</p> <p> A $12 minimum wage would be imposed nationally by 2020.</p> <p> The <a href="http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/newsreleases?ContentRecord_id=f7121681-bcd5-425b-9e73-76e33f5123bc">Raise the Wage Act &mdash; introduced</a>&nbsp;by Washington Sen. Patty Murray and Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott &mdash; would be a huge leap from the existing $7.25 minimum,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/state-minimum-wage-chart.aspx">topping all but the highest state mandates</a>.</p> <p> The Raise the Wage Act would limit options for people&nbsp;willing to work for less and employers forced to pay low-skill workers more,&nbsp;Heath explained. Layoffs and reductions in hiring are just&nbsp;two of several likely outcomes.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;When labor costs go up, that money has to come from somewhere &mdash; consumers will find that prices go up or stockholders will find that they are getting less returns,&rdquo; she said.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Few may be crying over the idea of lower returns for stockholders, but lots of stocks are held by people who aren&rsquo;t rich and receiving pensions,&rdquo; Heath continued. &ldquo;And lower profitability discourages investment, which is important for all of us in terms of job creation.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Small businesses &mdash; from restaurants to bookstores to coffee shops &mdash;&nbsp;are especially ill-equipped for&nbsp;costly government mandates.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facesof15.com/">The Faces of $15</a>, a project&nbsp;of minimum wage critics at the&nbsp;Employment Policies Institute, tracks negative consequences&nbsp;small businesses&nbsp;face in&nbsp;Seattle and elsewhere.</p> <p> If <a href="http://watchdog.org/212325/union-fast-food/">the $15 minimum wage demanded by labor unions</a> is too much, might $12 be the magic number? Or was President Obama on track when he began <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/12/obama-raise-minimum-wage-1010-hour-federal-contrac/?page=all">pushing a $10.10 minimum wage</a>?</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;The $12 by 2020 plan is more incremental but more permanent, as it would tie minimum wage to median wages and would also harmfully phase out the lower subminimum wage for tipped jobs,&rdquo; Heath said.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;So, in the short run, perhaps the president&rsquo;s plan is worse. In the long run, the $12 by 2020 plan is worse,&rdquo; she opined.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;We shouldn&rsquo;t aim to get minimum wage &lsquo;just right.&rsquo; There should be no minimum wage at all,&rdquo; Heath said, citing economist Milton Friedman&rsquo;s point that the real minimum wage is always $0: &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what jobless workers earn.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Although it&rsquo;s&nbsp;not $15, union officials&nbsp;see Murray and Scott&rsquo;s $12 by 2020 plan as progress.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.seiu.org/2015/04/seius-henry-minimum-wage-bill-would-boost-economy.php">Mary Kay Henry</a>, president of Service Employees International Union, and <a href="http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Statement-by-AFL-CIO-President-Richard-Trumka-on-Introduction-of-12-an-Hour-Minimum-Wage-Bill">Richard Trumka</a>, president of union coalition AFL-CIO,&nbsp;endorsed the bill&nbsp;the day it was unveiled.</p> <p> Their&nbsp;endorsements were accompanied by a lengthy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/we-can-afford-a-12-00-federal-minimum-wage-in-2020/">Economic Policy Institute defense of the Raise the Wage Act</a>&nbsp;&mdash; hardly a surprise, since&nbsp;Henry sits on <a href="http://www.epi.org/about/board/">EPI&rsquo;s board of directors</a>,&nbsp;and Trumka is chairman of the board.</p> <p> Wage mandates are a boon to labor bosses because they&nbsp;hamper&nbsp;competition from non-union businesses and often mean contractually obligated raises for union workers, which increase union dues taken as a percentage of wages.</p> <p> Employers&nbsp;can afford a mandated $12 minimum wage, EPI explained, because wages haven&rsquo;t&nbsp;kept up with productivity gains. EPI used data from 1968, the year the minimum wage peaked&nbsp;relative to overall wages, as a benchmark.</p> <p> EPI economist David Cooper told Watchdog.org, &ldquo;We believe the economy could support a $12 minimum wage by 2020 without any negative effect on employment.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Phasing-in the increases to $12 over a five-year period would be a pace consistent with the increases the US has done in the past two decades, which have been studied extensively and found to have had little to no effect on employment,&rdquo; Cooper said in an email.</p> <p> &ldquo;Shifting more income into the pockets of low-wage workers would likely put those dollars right back into the businesses facing higher labor costs, as workers go out and spend their increased earnings,&rdquo; he&nbsp;explained.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But Heath noted&nbsp;the&nbsp;argument that minimum wage mandates cycle money back into the economy is flawed because&nbsp;&ldquo;the money that is going to wage earners has to be taken from someone else.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;If you want to help the poor, then the focus should be helping low-skill workers get a job in the first place,&rdquo; she said.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;The good news is that some employers &mdash; like (Walmart), for example &mdash; are deciding to raise wages on their own.&nbsp;But a government mandate to force all employers to follow suit could end up harming the very people that they want to help.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> http://iwf.org/media/2797127/Hadley HeathWed, 13 May 2015 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCover Oregon Uncovered: More Revelations from Kitzhaber's Communications Director<p> Last month in the <a href="http://www.iwf.org/news/2796706/Adding-Corruption-to-ObamaCare-Incompetence">Washington Times</a>, I wrote about the corruption surrounding Oregon&#39;s state ObamaCare exchange (called &quot;Cover Oregon&quot;). Although the (former) governor at the center of the debacle is better known for scandals involving his fiancee and unethical green-energy deals, his misconduct extends to healthcare policy: Former governor John Kitzhaber put a campaign consultant in charge of the state&#39;s exchange, a project that ultimately failed and cost federal taxpayers approximately $350 million.&nbsp;</p> <p> The bottom line is that the disgraced former governor put his own re-election campaign first, and the people of Oregon second. He unethnically mixed his re-election campaign with state business, using the Cover Oregon project to make his administration look like a success, when really, behind closed doors, it was clear that the project was headed for failure.&nbsp;</p> <p> Now there are new revelations about what was happening in the Kitzhaber administration. His former director of communications, Nkenge Harmon Johnson, has gone public about her termination, which happened in February of this year. It turns out Johnson was fired immediately after she started raising concerns about &quot;myriad improprieties&quot; within the state administration. Here&#39;s an excerpt from the report from <a href="http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/former_kitzhaber_communication.html">Oregon Live</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p> In her letter, Johnson wrote that Kitzhaber&#39;s key state staffers met weekly with his re-election campaign advisers, and Johnson witnessed improprieties.</p> <p> &quot;I was directed to engage directly with the campaign team, and to conform my work to the needs of the governor&#39;s campaign for re-election,&quot; she wrote. &quot;I repeatedly voiced my concerns to Mr. Bonetto, who iterated that he was neither concerned nor willing to address the issues raised.&quot;</p> <p> Johnson said she then sought advice from the governor&#39;s legal counsel.</p> <p> &quot;Immediately after this consultation, I was asked to resign &ndash; then terminated,&quot; she wrote.</p> <p> The letter&#39;s details flesh out an opinion column&nbsp;Johnson wrote for The Oregonian/OregonLive in November.</p> <p> &quot;During my tenure, I was adamant that the governor&#39;s office and his closest advisers not blur the lines between state interest and other matters,&quot; she wrote then. &quot;My concern was seen as disloyalty.&quot;</p> <p> ...Johnson wrote in an email that &quot;After my time in the Kitzhaber administration, I am mending personally and professionally, and I want to make it crystal clear that I will not be bullied or embarrassed into silence by the powers that be. We are all equal under law. In order to heal the injuries that have been widely reported- and to reduce the odds that anyone else will face a similar crisis- people and organizations must be held accountable. That is why I filed the notice. &quot;</p> </blockquote> <p> Although I imagine Johnson and I might disagree on a lot of policy matters, I salute her courage in speaking up against wrongdoing in the Governor&#39;s office. It cost her her job, but she was doing the right thing. She is right that we are all equal under law, or at least we all should be. It shouldn&#39;t be within the power of any state&#39;s leadership to manipulate a government program simply to make themselves look good. That&#39;s what Kitzhaber and his campaign consultants attempted to do with Cover Oregon. And then they vengefully fired anyone who would raise an objection.</p> <p> This story reveals not only corruption in government, but specifically a problem with ObamaCare itself. The law has had so many logistical problems, has run over budget and behind schedule so often in so many cases... it was too easy for Kitzhaber and his team to pass off the failure of Cover Oregon as just another technical difficulty. The fact is this was not just another technical difficulty. Those charged with implementing the state exchange communicated time and time again to the governor&#39;s office that there were serious red flags and warning signs that the exchange would not work. But there was no accountability.</p> <p> It&#39;s hard for the voting public to hold leaders accountable under complex schemes like ObamaCare. Supposedly, only bureaurats are smart enough to understand all the red tape and complicated requirements. The public is supposed to just trust that technocrats and advisory boards can make our decisions for us. What happens when those in public office act in their own self interest instead? &nbsp;Well, then you get something like Cover Oregon: a failed state exchange, $350 million wasted dollars, and yet another reason not to trust government with our health care.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2797066/Hadley HeathThu, 7 May 2015 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumER visit spiking under Obamacare & Carly Florina jumping into 2016 race • Garrison http://iwf.org/media/2797060/Hadley HeathThu, 7 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHospital closings blamed on gov't red tape<p> <strong>A health policy analyst sees the closing of rural hospitals as part of a bigger trend in the U.S.</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The Associated Press</em> <a href="http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2015/Q-A-Why-have-rural-hospitals-been-closing-and-can-anything-be-done-to-keep-them-open-/id-9731b3abe28e46ae8466463a8e4b7cd5">reports</a> that rural hospitals are struggling to stay open amid changing medical practices and government policies. At least 50 hospitals in the rural U.S. have closed since 2010, and the pace has been accelerating with more closures in the past two years than in the previous 10 years combined. Meanwhile, nearly 300 rural hospitals in 39 states are vulnerable to shutting down, and 35 percent of rural hospitals are operating at a loss.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Well, this is part of a bigger trend,&quot; says Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the </span></span><a href="http://www.iwf.org/"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">. &quot;What happens when government puts so much red tape on a sector like the healthcare sector is you do see a lot of consolidation &ndash; and we&#39;ve seen that in health insurance, we&#39;ve seen it in healthcare.</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;And these small businesses, whether they&#39;re selling health insurance or they&#39;re private practice or if they&#39;re a small rural hospital, often are being bought up by bigger healthcare companies.&quot;</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> As a result, Manning says consumers get less choice.<span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> &quot;And some of these stories [are just tragic] about people in rural areas left without a choice where to go for immediate and desperate healthcare situations ....&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Manning adds that another aspect of this involves states and &quot;certificate of need&quot; laws that are aimed at reducing healthcare facility costs and allowing coordinated planning of new services and construction, providing a mechanism for state governments to reduce overall health and medical costs.</p> <p> <strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;People demand healthcare regardless of whether they live in a big city or a rural area,&quot; she explains, &quot;but the state really has no business in saying whether or not the market can support another hospital or another private practice. I would suggest the states that do have trouble keeping rural hospitals open to get rid of those certificate of need laws.&quot;</span></span></span></strong></p> <p> Manning acknowledges changes are needed in the way healthcare is provided, such as through urgent care centers. Still, she believes nothing can really replace a hospital with an emergency department when people have a very immediate need.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2797045/Hadley HeathWed, 6 May 2015 11:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAre politicians job creators? • Stossel http://iwf.org/media/2797018/Hadley HeathFri, 1 May 2015 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum