Some States Consider Ending Medicaid for the Poor
The Wall Street Journal reports that a handful of states facing enormous budget shortfalls are discussing some extreme measures to help their economies, including ending Medicaid insurance programs for the poor. Officials in states including Washington, Texas and South Carolina have publicly suggested the idea of dropping out of the program; Wyoming and Nevada have conducted studies on the potential results. Medicaid is paid for by a combination of state and federal dollars, with federal funds paying an average of 57 percent of the costs, and some states have begun to complain that they don't have the flexibility in their budgets to cover their share.
Pittsburgh Bans Natural Gas Drilling
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, implemented the country's first ordinance against corporations drilling for natural gas last week, Yes! Magazine reports. A unanimous vote by the Pittsburgh City Council also banned the practice of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing. Fracking involves injecting water mixed with sand and chemicals underground to create explosions that release gas. Pittsburgh, which sits on top of the Marcellus Shale, is prime real estate for drillers.
Analyst Warns TSA Methods "Will Kill More Americans on the Highway"
Transportation economists Steven Horwitz and Clifford Winston, who have studied the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) controversial new security processes, believe that the public's distaste for the image screenings and pat-downs will cause more people to drive their cars in lieu of air travel, according to The Hill. Horwitz, an economics professor at St. Lawrence University, said that the likely increase in road travel could also lead to more car-related deaths. "Driving is much more dangerous than flying, as you are far more likely to be killed in an automobile accident mile-for-mile than you are in an airplane," Horwitz said.
Gates Speeds Up Release of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Report
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has moved up the release of a Pentagon report on a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) repeal by one day to November 30, Politico said. The report examines the effects of a DADT repeal and incorporates the opinions of service secretaries and chiefs of staff. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said in a statement, "December 1st was already an aggressive deadline by which to complete the report," but the Human Rights Campaign and Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) had been urging Gates to release the report ahead of schedule. According to press leaks, the report will indicate that about 70 percent of service members support a DADT repeal.