by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
1. NC has 8th highest beer tax in the nation
The tax foundation has just published a report analyzing the various excise taxes levied on beer in all 50 states. North Carolina comes in the 8th highest, levying a $.62 per gallon tax on those who enjoy having a couple of cold ones on a hot Saturday afternoon after mowing the lawn. North Carolina is part of a cluster of states in the southeast that make up 6 of the top 8 highest taxed states. Geographically the 2 outliers are Alaska and Hawaii, which are numbers 2 and 5 respectively.
2. Obamacare leads to fewer ER Visits!!! Whoops–never mind
Since it was passed back in 2010 we have been told that the Affordable Care Act would lead to fewer emergency room visits because more people would be covered by either private insurance or Medicaid. The headline from this article from CBS News states what has been the party line that has been delivered to the American people for the last five years–Obamacare could be a tonic for overtaxed ERs.
Well it seems that after more than a year of expanded coverage under Obamacare ER visits are on the rise. And interestingly we are told by the Asheville Citizen Times that it’s because of Obamacare.
Visits to hospital emergency rooms are on the rise in the Carolinas and around the country, with experts pointing to the physician shortage and Obamacare as possible reasons.
It goes on to point out that:
Nearly three in 10 ER doctors in the survey said visits have increased significantly since the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, took effect. More than half also said the number of Medicaid patients being seen in the ER has grown, according to the report released this month.
Hmmm. We all thought that being covered by Medicaid was going to get people out of the ER and into the doctor’s office.
Since the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, took effect, about 16.9 million Americans have gotten insurance, either through the state and federal marketplace set up under Obamacare, through expanded Medicaid coverage, or other insurance, according to RAND. That might account for at least part of the increase in states that expanded Medicaid coverage, experts say.
Could the Citizens Times be telling us that Obamacare is actually having an effect that is the opposite of what we were told and what was originally intended? Well, I just can’t believe that.
3. NC ozone report
The 2015 ozone season began on April 1 and, as I have been doing since this newsletter was started, each week during the ozone season this newsletter will report how many, if any, high ozone days have been experienced throughout the state during the previous week, where they were experienced, and how many have been recorded during the entire season to date. (Note: ground level ozone, which is what we are reporting on, is often called "smog.") According to current EPA standards, a region or county experiences a high ozone day if a monitor in that area registers the amount of ozone in the air as 76 parts per billion (ppb) or greater. The official ozone season will end on October 31. All reported data is preliminary and issued by the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, which is part of the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Thus far this season there have been no high ozone days recorded on any of the state’s 42 monitors.
The table below shows all of the North Carolina’s ozone monitors and the high reading on those monitors for each day of the 7-day period, May 18-24.
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