The Weekly Wonk – July 22, 2011

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk is dedicated to this week’s events, publications, and blog posts.

This week at OK Policy, we blogged about why Medicaid matters for those who may be too poor or too unhealthy to buy coverage in the commercial insurance market.  A path-breaking new study found that Medicaid was crucial to the health and economic security of covered families.  CapitolBeatOK quoted OK Policy analyst Kate Richey about the state’s systemic shortage of primary care providers, a problem that will become increasingly evident as the new health reform law expands Medicaid coverage and prompts thousands in the state to buy private insurance.

Also this week, we did a quick-take of basic facts about the Rainy Day Fund and pointed out flaws in the fund’s trigger mechanisms, which rely on the state making inaccurate revenue projections.  Our marquee presentation on the state budget, The State Budget Outlook: A New Fiscal Reality is now updated to include appropriations for the year ahead and revenue collections for the year just ended, as is our Budget Trends and Highlights fact sheet.  For all our latest publications and resources on the state budget click here for the current budget information page on our website or here for all our blog posts on the budget.

On yesterday’s blog, our summer intern Courtney Baker assessed the pros and cons of managed competition, a process in which government employees bid against private sector firms to perform public service contracts.  OK Policy Director David Blatt reacts to new Census data on the changing face of Oklahoma in stories by the Associated Press and The Oklahoman.  Lastly this week, watch a round-table discussion about Sharia law on our blog, hosted by the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice.

In the Know, Policy Notes

Numbers of the Week

  • 29 percent – Percentage of the United States that is currently experiencing drought; 12 percent of the country is in exceptional drought, the largest extent on record
  • $108 million – Amount the legislature cut appropriations to the Department of Education for this fiscal year compared to FY ’11
  • 78 percent – Percentage of persons killed in motorcycle crashes each year in Oklahoma who are not wearing a helmet
  • 12th – Oklahoma’s rank nationally for watermelon production in 2010; Watermelon is also the state’s official vegetable
  • $1.5 billion – Amount allocated by the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, for programs that address shortages of primary care providers


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.