Carolina Journal Radio

Carolina Journal Radio No. 734: Blue Cross plans another double-digit Obamacare rate increase

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North Carolina’s largest health insurer wants to raise rates by 23 percent for policies tied to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Katherine Restrepo, the John Locke Foundation’s director of health care policy, analyzes factors contributing to the rate increase. Restrepo also offers ideas about ways the state and federal government could change policies to help reduce health care costs. The threat of natural disasters often prompts calls for government action. People often pay less attention to market forces that help communities prepare for disasters and other emergencies. But Ben Foster, Ph.D. student in environmental sciences and engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill, has researched the role of market forces in addressing problems linked to a 2012 drought and the Mississippi River. Foster shares key findings from his research and discusses their application to other emergencies. Some N.C. lawmakers hope North Carolina can learn valuable lessons from Texas when it comes to improving teacher training. Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, discusses proposed legislation that would allow this state to follow the Lone Star State’s lead in pursuing alternatives to current teacher training programs. The Raise the Age initiative reached a significant milestone when the N.C. House voted, 104-8, to approve the idea. The legislation would treat nonviolent 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders as juveniles rather than adults. You’ll hear highlights from the House’s debate on the topic. The nation’s largest teachers union recently ranked North Carolina No. 43 in average per-student spending among the 50 states. Dr. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, explains why the National Education Association’s numbers are not necessarily accurate, appropriate, or meaningful.