Writings and observations

First take: Private schools, insurance fraud

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PRIVATE SCHOOL CREDITS The Idaho House Revenue and Taxation Committee has voted (12-4) to extend tax credits to scholarship funds specifically aimed at private schools. From a news report: “Coeur d’Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini said this could actually save Idaho money, because reducing public-school enrollment would also cut Idaho’s per-student funding obligation.” This seems legally problematic, however – it has the look of back-door funding for private schools – and it effectively removes funds from public schools to be funneled to private.

INSURANCE FRAUD Oregon legislators are looking seriously at Senate Bill 686 which is aimed at allowing the state (and, depending on final versions, maybe others) to sue insurance companies for fraud – such as when they convey the impression something is covered, and then decline to pay. From a statement by sponsor Senator Chip Shields: “Too many businesses, medical providers, and consumers tell me that their insurance company is driving them to bankruptcy. If your insurance company blatantly won’t pay the reimbursement that their big premiums or contracts are supposed to cover, it’s wrong. It’s time the Legislature protects small businesses and consumers by removing the insurance exemption.” This would set up in law the concept of insurance fraud running in a different direction than the one we’re most accustomed to (and comfortable for insurers).

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