Research: How Medicare Could Save Millions

Medicare has long struggled with the most efficient way to reimburse hospitals for the care they provide. Professor Ryan McDevitt, an economist at The Fuqua School of Business, studied stays at long-term care hospitals and found on average they discharge patients based on when they get federal payments rather than for medical reasons. His research also shows an alternative payment system could save Medicare millions of dollars without affecting standards of care.

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High Corporate Debt Loads Could Crimp Spending

Optimism is up and there are widespread predictions that U.S. companies will crank up investment in 2017, but research from The Fuqua School of Business suggests corporate debt is the elephant in the room that could squash those plans. Also, interest rates have started to increase, and tax reform proposals put forth by President Donald Trump and House leader Paul Ryan could also make using debt less attractive.

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Former Affordable Care Act Chief Offers Health Care Prescription

Andy Slavitt was the point person in the Obama administration for the federal Affordable Care Act. He’s now trying to save it. “He’s both a good communicator and a technical expert, as well as a committed supporter of improving health care,” Dr. Mark McClellan, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services now director of Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke, says of Slavitt. “So, all that’s a good combination for having an impact.”
Read More in the Star Tribune

Questions Multiply Over Bannon’s Role

President Trump’s elevation of his chief political strategist Stephen Bannon to a major role in national security policy differs from past presidents. President George W. Bush barred his political strategist from National Security Council meetings; President Obama allowed his strategist to attend. “It’s also true that we Republicans, myself included, sharply criticized them for doing it, precisely on the grounds that you are feeding the image that politics drove the decision,” says Peter Feaver, a political science professor who served on the Bush NSC staff.

Read More in The Washington Post

Obamacare on the Ropes

Is the unraveling of the Affordable Care Act imminent, as many Republicans predict? “The Affordable Care Act is fundamentally stable in most states. Enrollment has been increasing and insurers are projecting better results. Insurers with effective strategies tailored to local demand for high-quality, low-cost health care have been able to show profitability on the exchanges,” says David Anderson, an analyst at Duke’s Margolis Center for Health Policy.

Read More in The Huffington Post

Diplomats: Not My State Department

Five diplomats in the senior management team at the U.S. State Department have stepped down. “This is not normal procedure. It’s not coincidence,” says Bruce Jentleson, a professor of public policy and political science and a former senior adviser at the State Department. “If it wasn’t coordinated, it’s even more significant.”

Read More in VOA

‘Lawfare’ Could Become Trump Tool Against Adversaries

Use of the law as a weapon of war may find favor with the Trump administration, according to some scholars and attorneys. “I don’t know what plans the Trump administration may have to incorporate lawfare into its foreign policy strategy, but if we have an opportunity to use law instead of more traditional weapons to address foreign policy issues, I’m all for it,” says law professor Charles Dunlap, executive director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security.

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NC Lawmakers, Governor Ready for Showdown

“I’m not optimistic, at least at first,” says Pope “Mac” McCorkle, a professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy. “It seems like a very poisonous atmosphere. … Neither side can withstand for too long a growing perception that Raleigh’s just one big mess.”

Read More in The New York Times

Behind Trump Pipeline Orders, a Pledge to Deliver Energy Jobs

President Trump has issued executive orders backing pipelines, and wants to open federal lands and loosen regulations. All that may add jobs in the industry, but market forces are in driver’s seat. Opening up federal lands “won’t necessarily lead to more wells if natural gas prices are low,” says Lincoln Pratson, a professor of earth and ocean sciences. For oil, Pratson says that demand from car drivers and truckers looks more stable than poised for big increases.

Read More in the Christian Science Monitor

The View from the Republican Sideline

“For now, we observe that the dominant lesson of the last 100 years has been just this: When America led in the effort to rally friends and partners from around the world to confront global challenges, it went better for American interests in the long run. And when America retreated in the pursuit of short-term and parochial calculations of national interest, it went much worse for our nation in the long run,” writes political scientist Peter Feaver and a colleague.

Read More in Foreign Policy

A Novel Way to Help Readers Spot Fake News

Jack Zhou, an instructor in environmental politics, says some occupants of so-called “news bubbles” may prefer to accept fake news as truth. “The state of fragmented media may dull the potential practical impact of inoculation messages, particularly in terms of the audiences serviced by those media,” says Zhou, who has researched the identity politics of climate change.

Read More in the Christian Science Monitor



Looking For Bipartisan Consensus in North Carolina Politics

A bipartisan panel of political leaders and activists expressed optimism about the possibility of North Carolinians – and the country – working more across the ideological spectrum. But a key challenge is that the median Republican is more conservative than 20-30 years ago and the median Democrat is more liberal than 20-30 years ago, according to panelist John Hood, president of the Pope Foundation.

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