The Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to the State’s charter schools last Thursday. The question before the court was whether those charter schools were violating the State’s constitution by receiving funding from the State’s lottery facilities. Writing for the court, Justice Mary Yu wrote in plain words,
Charter schools are not rendered unconstitutional just because they do not operate identically to common school[.]
She expanded on that in addressing the plaintiffs’ argument that the charter schools lacked voter control, holding that, as The Seattle Times paraphrased her,
The Wall Street Journalwrote in its Thursday edition that the US was “refusing” to resume trade negotiations with the PRC until the latter made a formal offer to us. That’s a bit of a misnomer, though, since there’s nothing about which to negotiate until the PRC makes an offer. Absent that, any discussion about trade would be just idle musings over an afternoon tea, a whiling away of some time between more important things.
A couple of other things jumped out at me in that article, too.
Alexander Acosta, Steven Mnuchin, and Alex Azar, respectively Secretaries of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, are in the process of offering one. They’re putting together a rule that would expand HRAs, Health Reimbursement Arrangements. These are plans that allow employers to reimburse employees for certain qualified health expenses. Their expansion consists of two parts:
permit[ting] employers to offer HRAs to reimburse employees for health insurance purchased in the individual market—allowing employers to provide a contribution as significant as they would have made for the premiums of a traditional employer-sponsored plan.
The Trump administration has proposed a rule that would require companies advertising drugs to provide the list prices of those drugs in their advertising—including their television advertising. Big Pharma is opposed, and wants instead to be left to voluntarily provide pricing information by having links in their advertising that would guide folks to a separate Web site.
I sympathize with Big Pharma on this. Government regulation already is out of hand; the Trump administration is reducing that, and this is an unnecessary addition.
Exxon Mobil Corp is throwing $1 million at the move to produce a national carbon tax.
Exxon’s move is an attempt to manage what it sees as the risk of a similar movement in the US, in ways that it hopes will simplify requirements on its industry….
Exxon sees a carbon tax as an alternative to patchwork regulations, putting one cost on all carbon emitters nationwide, eliminating regulatory uncertainty….
On the contrary, Exxon is looking for short-term competitive political advantage at the expense of long-term economic—real—advantage. That’s unfortunate.
With a Mexico-US trade agreement in nominally in hand (our two nations’ legislatures have ratify it, and our own Progressive-Democrats in the Senate are already saying #NO, #RESIST, and too many Republicans are acquiescing, though), Mexico wants Canada to join the agreement. Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, after speaking with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
There is still time to achieve a trilateral agreement[.]
We hope they reach that understanding so that it will be a trilateral agreement.
Here’s an illustration of why one is badly needed. The Wall Street Journal‘s article is centered on health coverage plans, but the underlying problem is in health care provision and the monopolistic nature of both provision and coverage.
Last year, Cigna Corp and the New York hospital system Northwell Health discussed developing an insurance plan that would offer low-cost coverage by excluding some other health-care providers, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It never happened.
The problem was a separate contract between Cigna and NewYork-Presbyterian, the powerful hospital operator that is a Northwell rival. Cigna couldn’t find a way to work around restrictive language that blocked it from selling any plans that didn’t include NewYork-Presbyterian, according to the people.