Boston Children’s, MGH Among Massachusetts Hospitals with Highest Relative Commercial Prices

Pioneer Institute's new tool, the Massachusetts Hospital Relative Price Tracker, displays relative price and facilitates relative price comparisons among hospitals. The average price among all hospitals will have a relative price of 1.0. A relative price of 1.5 means that a hospital charges 50 percent higher than the average of all Massachusetts hospitals. Similarly, a relative price of 0.84 means that a hospital’s prices are 16 percent below average. Relative price data is collected and reported by the Commonwealth’s Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) and is an aggregate measure used to evaluate price variations among different hospitals. It is recalculated annually based on data collected from commercial payers and includes information on private commercial insurance and commercially managed public insurance products such as Medicare Advantage and Medicaid Managed Organizations/Accountable Care Partnership Plans.

Yale University Pulitzer Winner Beverly Gage on J. Edgar Hoover & the FBI

Yale Prof. Beverly Gage, author of "G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American," delves into the enigmatic life and career of J. Edgar Hoover, tracing his formative years in Washington, D.C., his rise to prominence as director of the FBI, and his enduring influence on American law enforcement and politics.

Mortgage’s New Normal: Guide to Better Borrowing Amidst Higher Rates

Joe Selvaggi talks with mortgage expert, Trip Miller of Cambridge Savings Bank, about mortgage rates and trends and explores best practices for finding a mortgage structure that suits individual buyers’ needs.

Study: Ed Reform Has Improved Academic Performance and Equity

Over the past 30 years, rigorous standards, assessments, and accountability for outcomes have propelled Massachusetts public schools to become the nation’s best. Taking away the high-stakes component of MCAS would weaken the accountability system and lead stakeholders to de-emphasize the assessment data that drives high-quality instruction, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

UK U-Warwick’s Benjamin Smith on Mexico’s Cartels & Drug Trade

Prof. Benjamin Smith, author of The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade, provides insights into various aspects of the Mexican drug trade, including its historical context and the evolution of illicit drug products over time. He discusses key cartels and their methods, the impact of the drug trade on Mexico's murder rates, the immense financial scale of the trade, its effect on Mexico and the U.S., and the challenges law enforcement face in combating it. Smith explores the relationship among Mexican cartels, other foreign countries, and the illicit drug market in the U.S.

Medicaid’s Massive Miasma: Taming Beacon Hill’s Burgeoning Budget Beast

Marc Joffe, a state policy analyst at the Cato Institute, talks about his research on Medicaid's cost and size. They explore how Massachusetts can control spending growth while protecting other priorities.

Middlemen Pushing Up Retail Costs of Drugs

The reality is that non-price factors, including several players, are causing net prices to decline and retail prices to increase. Those players include employers, health plans, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), all of whom have continuously circumvented the system through loopholes and complicated systems of reimbursement that tend to hurt patients

Milton Shuts the Door
on Multifamily Housing Plans

The MBTA Communities Act, passed in 2021, provides that the 177 communities serviced by the MBTA must create multifamily zones to spur housing development close to public transportation. But the issue is an emotionally charged one, with passions high on both sides. And Milton residents in February rejected a plan to create such housing ‚ choosing a loss of some state funding over an approximately 25 percent increase in their housing stock, along with the possibility of greater congestion.

DFER-MA’s Mary Tamer on MCAS & Teacher Strikes

Mary Tamer focuses on the historic impact of the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act on the commonwealth’s students’ high achievement on national and international measures. She explores the politics of the Massachusetts Teachers Association advocating against the MCAS test as a graduation requirement. In closing, Ms. Tamer also discusses the rise of teacher strikes and their implications for education reform in the Bay State.

Baystate Budget Blues: Declining Revenue Causes Concern

Joe Selvaggi engages in a conversation with Pioneer Institute’s Eileen McAnneny, Senior Fellow for Economic Opportunity, to analyze the status of the 2024 budget. They compare actual revenue and spending with pre-July 1 estimates, investigating potential reasons for any surpluses or shortfalls. They also dive into policy implications for legislators as they approach fiscal 2025.

U-TN’s Robert Norrell on Booker T. Washington & Voc-Tech

Prof. Robert Norrell explores Booker T. Washington's early life in slavery, his transformative leadership at Tuskegee Institute amidst Jim Crow racism, and his advocacy for vocational education as a means for racial uplift. He also discusses Washington’s 1901 autobiography, Up From Slavery; his controversial White House dinner with President Theodore Roosevelt; and his often overlooked legacy following the activism of the 1960s Civil Rights era.

Smothering Gas Exports: President Sides with Environmentalists Over Environment

Dr. Benjamin Zycher, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, talks on the impact of President Biden's executive order to halt liquefied natural gas export approvals. He explores potential economic impacts, the response from trading partners, and the negligible effect on climate.

Pioneer Statement on Continuing Slide in Massachusetts’ Revenue

The Commonwealth’s tax collections continue to slide, totaling $3.594 billion in January, $268 million below what the state collected in January 2023, and short of the revised benchmark by $263 million. Massachusetts state government must live within its means by reducing FY2025 spending. The days of fiscal surpluses, unprecedented increases in year-over-year spending, and flowing federal aid have come to an end.

Teachers strikes hurt the students

At a time when the country’s basic commitment to the rule of law is being questioned, Newton educators are teaching their students that breaking the law and thumbing one’s nose at a judge’s order are OK — if it is in your self-interest.

Pioneer Statement on Decline in State Revenues

The Commonwealth’s finances have stumbled hard in recent months, and based on a report the Department of Revenue (DOR) sent to the Legislature in January, the trend shows no signs of easing. Massachusetts needs a renewed emphasis on fiscal discipline and pro-growth policies to make the state economically competitive again.

BC’s Dr. Matthias von Davier on TIMSS & K-12 Global STEM

Dr. von Davier explores his educational background and its influence on directing TIMSS & PIRLS, shedding light on psychometrics and standardized testing. He discusses the shift in education policy's focus, the global education data landscape, and the pandemic's effects on K-12 education around the world. Dr. von Davier addresses the alarming decline in U.S. educational performance, emphasizing the urgency to bridge achievement gaps. Drawing from international experiences, he highlights global examples for American policymakers from higher-performing countries, emphasizing the crucial links between education, skills, and innovation on the global economy.

U.S. Manufacturing Health: Does the U.S. Need an Industrial Policy?

Scott Lincicome from the Cato Institute discusses the U.S. manufacturing industry, international trade, and industrial policy. He dispels the myth of manufacturing decline, highlighting sector evolution and productivity. The conversation moves to industrial policy, emphasizing the need for targeted protection and cautioning against broad subsidization due to potential inefficiencies.

Skill-based immigration could ease labor shortage

A recent Biden administration executive order that amends the Schedule A list, which identifies occupations experiencing labor shortages and allows immigrants in those occupations to expedite their employment in the U.S., could positively impact the hiring of skilled international workers for years to come — a welcome development as the country and Massachusetts struggle to attract talent amidst a worsening labor shortage.

Admissions lotteries would harm vocational-technical schools

Expanding the number of seats available in vocational-technical high schools is a good investment for Massachusetts. But it’s critical they are expanded in a way that promotes equity without endangering the academic and occupational excellence that continues to drive burgeoning demand for these schools.

ExcelinEd’s Dr. Cara Candal on National School Choice Week

Dr. Candal delves into the evolving landscape of K-12 education in the U.S., examining the expansion of private school choice programs post- U.S. Supreme Court decisions, changing political dynamics around charter schools, strategies of the national school choice movement in low-performing states, the role of parent-driven models during the pandemic, the significance of voc-tech education, and addressing underperformance and achievement gaps.

Challenging Government Prerogatives: SCOTUS Reconsiders Deference to Executive Agencies

Joe Selvaggi engages in a conversation with legal scholar Ilya Shapiro from the Manhattan Institute regarding the Loper Bright Enterprises Supreme Court case that questions the Chevron Doctrine. This doctrine instructs judges to defer to government agencies in situations where laws are silent or unclear.

Telehealth Progress Slowed in 2023

A new report by Cicero Institute, Pioneer Institute, and Reason Foundation reveals worrying stagnation in state-level telehealth expansion efforts in 2023, with only a few exceptions. Progress made during the pandemic is being lost even as provider shortages worsen, raising concerns about patients’ access to care.

‘High’ U.S. Drug Prices Mask Freeloading by Other Nations

The drug company’s choice is to walk away from millions in revenue from a given country and deny their people a lifesaving drug, or swallow hard and accept an unfair price that is nowhere near the drug’s value. For the sake of shareholders and patients, drug companies typically accept the unfair price and devote the revenue to offsetting their previous investments. In short, other nations are freeloading off of American R&D.

Harvard’s Sullied Halo: Journalists Teach Lesson on Plagiarism

Joe Selvaggi talks with investigative reporter Chris Brunet about his role investigating and exposing former Harvard President Claudine Gay’s academic plagiarism, a story that lead to her eventual resignation.

NYT Bestseller Jonathan Eig on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jonathan Eig delves into MLK's early spiritual leadership, the influence of Langston Hughes on his speeches, his relationship with his wife, Coretta Scott King, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's challenges. He discusses historic events in Birmingham, Alabama, the March on Washington, MLK's struggles in Chicago, the Poor People's Campaign, and the events leading to his assassination in 1968. Eig underscores the multifaceted aspects of MLK's life and provides insights on drawing lessons for contemporary challenges in race relations and leadership.

My Musings on Massachusetts’ Fiscal Picture

Since the start of FY2024 on July 1, 2023, the state has experienced six straight months of revenues falling short of expectations. The single biggest factor is the unprecedented growth of the state budget since FY2021. The $15 billion increase in state spending contextualizes the seemingly modest projected revenue growth of 1.6 percent for FY2024 by highlighting that the base is very inflated.

Olympic Track Medalist Gabby Thomas

Gabby Thomas, Pioneer Valley native, Harvard alum in neurobiology, and Olympic sprinter, won bronze and silver in Tokyo, she also pursued a master's in epidemiology. She shares her journey excelling both in academics and athletics.

Drug Discount Distortions: How Middlemen Increase Costs and Reduce Access

Joe Selvaggi talks with Drs. Bill Smith and Robert Popovian about how the complex system of rebates from drug companies to insurance firms serve to increase costs and reduce access for patients.

T.J. Stiles on Cornelius Vanderbilt & American Business

T.J. Stiles delves into the life of America’s first tycoon, Cornelius Vanderbilt, exploring his rise to historic wealth in steamboats, shipping, and railroads. He discusses Vanderbilt's legal battles, philanthropy, and enduring legacy, exploring his business competitiveness and wide impact on 19th-century America’s economy.

Studying the Humanities in the 2020s

At a time of tumultuous and sometimes vitriolic debates on American campuses, here are seven guiding principles to help college student thinking about studying history or any other humanities subject.