2021 Policy Solutions
DMV ACCOUNTABILITY AND INNOVATION
The DMV is the poster child of government inefficiency because it faces no competition and no financial incentive to change. The DMV Modernization Act creates private competition for DMV services and rewards public branches for improving key metrics like wait times. Bringing the DMV into the 21st Century through competition and financial incentives will make residents’ lives easier and save taxpayer dollars.
HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING
Even with states spending 100 billion dollars a year on higher education, graduation rates remain strikingly low and the financial return from a college degree continues to fall. The Rewarding Workforce Readiness Act allocates public higher education funding based on the value colleges provide their students—namely how much they increase graduate earnings. Aligning colleges’ incentives with students’ success will make higher education a better, more equitable investment.
Permitting street sleeping increases violence and deprives cities of a valuable tool to encourage homeless people to engage with treatment. The Reducing Street Homelessness Act prevents street homelessness by banning street sleeping, creating alternative criminal justice pathways, reforming mental health admission criteria, and providing affordable alternatives to street sleeping. Ending street homelessness will save money, improve communities, and help the homeless get back on their feet.
As COVID made clear, America’s physician shortage can be a matter of life and death. The Expanding Rural Healthcare Act allows qualified internationally-trained physicians to practice without having to spend years redoing their residencies. States can increase healthcare access, particularly in rural counties and primary care, and fix rising physician shortages by allowing additional skilled physicians to bring their skills to underserved areas.
State governments regularly guarantee and thus encourage local government debt, adding billions in taxpayer liabilities. The Government Lending Accountability Act requires the state to measure and properly account for these “off-the-books” liabilities. Real accounting will allow policymakers and taxpayers to make informed decisions about state-supported local government spending.
PAROLE AND PROBATION
Conditions on parole and probation set people up to fail, contributing to a vicious cycle of crime and higher prison populations. The Community Rebound Act shares part of the savings from lower incarceration costs with parole and probation offices that reduce the percentage of individuals on community supervision programs who are reincarcerated. Effective parole and probation systems keep communities safe, save money, and help people start new lives.
Policing is a very difficult job, which is why data-driven improvements are critical to safer communities. However, without reliable use-of-force data, it is harder for law enforcement leadership to make improvements and the public is left with misleading information from mainstream and social media. The Police Use-of-Force Transparency Act requires police departments to collect and report department-level use-of-force data to a state and federal database. Just as data on criminal activity is necessary to fight crime, data on police use-of-force incidents is required to improve law enforcement.
Excessive limits on law enforcement accountability undermine community support for and trust in law enforcement, leading to dangerous calls to defund the police. The Strengthening Trust in Policing Act reduces heavy limitations on internal investigations and law enforcement leadership’s disciplinary decisions that are found in statute and collective bargaining agreements, respectively. Holding the few cops who abuse their authority accountable will help good cops keep Americans safe.
HEALTHCARE SHARED SAVINGS
States waste millions of dollars by not adopting best practices for employee health plans, taking resources away from COVID relief, education, and other priorities. The Shared Healthcare Savings for State Employees Act utilizes reference-based pricing to decrease spending at high priced providers and shared savings to reward patients directly when they choose lower cost providers. When state employees get paid for choosing care options based on value, states save money and market-based pricing expands across healthcare providers.
HEALTHCARE PRICE TRANSPARENCY
Hospital and other provider prices are often opaque or calculated in ways that mask the true costs of procedures. The Price Transparency for State Health Plans Act insists on bottom-up, exact pricing on medical goods and services, and forces disclosure of insurer claims data rather than misleading “chargemaster” rates and discounts.