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National commentator, best-selling author to address Pioneer Institute supporters at annual ceremony on September 24th

BOSTON, MA – Michael Barone, best-selling author and respected political commentator, will deliver the keynote address, “Election 2012 and the American Experiment,” at Pioneer Institute’s 2012 Better Government Competition Awards ceremony on Monday, September 24th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Boston. Tickets go on sale today.

“Michael Barone is one of the country’s most informed and highly considered political observers,” said Pioneer Executive Director Jim Stergios. “As the presidential election approaches, he combines an unparalleled knowledge of campaigns and political trends with expertise in policy and history.”

Barone is senior political analyst at The Washington Examiner, a Fox News contributor, and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, which is published biennially by National Journal. He has held senior positions with U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, and Reader’s Digest, and is the author of numerous books on American politics and history, including Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Competition for the Nation’s Future (Crown Forum, May 2004).

Pioneer Institute’s Better Government Competition, founded in 1991, is an annual citizens’ ideas contest that rewards some of the nation’s most innovative public policy proposals. The 2012 competition focuses on responsible reforms that devolve federal programs to the states in order to lower the cost and improve the quality of public services.

The winner of the 21st annual Competition is “Coordinating Medicare and Medicaid to Improve Care,” a proposal to integrate acute and long-term care benefits for those eligible for both into a single, comprehensive system, Medicaid Advantage, managed by the states. The new program would save hundreds of billions of dollars by streamlining the cumbersome, siloed rules and processes for individuals receiving both Medicaid and Medicare services. Authors of the winning entry are GraceMarie Turner of the Galen Institute, and Robert Helms, Ph.D., of the American Enterprise Institute.

2012 Better Government Competition Compendium of Winning Ideas

“The winning idea is a practical reform adopted by several states already and in a timid way by Massachusetts,” said Stergios. “Over ten years, the commonwealth could save $1 billion, and the country $159 billion, if this reform were fully implemented.”

The winner and four runners-up were selected by a distinguished panel of judges from the business, academic, and media communities:

Charles D. Baker, Jr., Executive in Residence, General Catalyst Partners
Stephen D. Fantone, Ph.D., President and CEO, Optikos Corporation
Ken Johnson, Editorial Page Editor, The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune
John F. Moffitt, President, Andover Strategies, Inc.
Richard L. Schmalensee, Howard W. Johnson Professor of Economics and Management, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Pioneer Institute will recognize the winners before an audience of elected officials, policy leaders, and business and community leaders. The Competition grand prize winner will receive $10,000; four runners-up receive $1,000 each, and other proposals receive special recognition.

The 2012 Better Government Competition runners-up are:

Devolving Responses to Natural Disasters: Author: Matt A. Mayer, Visiting Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

Reducing Congestion through Focusing on Performance: Authors: Wendell Cox, Alan E. Pisarski, and Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.

Devolving U.S.A.I.D. Training to State Colleges and Universities: Author: Matthew Auer, Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University

Increasing Transparency in Government Use of Financial Derivatives: Author: Greg Kaza, Executive Director, Arkansas Policy Foundation

“The hundreds of high-quality entries we received this year demonstrate a strong interest in benefiting from the strengths of the nation’s federalist system,” says Shawni Littlehale, director of the Better Government Competition. “The submissions provide real opportunities to improve government in a wide variety of areas that range from higher education, disaster relief, and road congestion, to regulatory reform and health care.”

To purchase tickets, which go on sale today, and learn more about this year’s winning entry, runnersup, and special recognition recipients, please click here.


Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.