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Texas Department of Insurance Hikes Long-term Care Rates 75%

Rick Perry likes to say that the reason the Texas economy performs so well is because of the quality of the state’s work force, the reasonableness of regulations pertaining to business, and the passage of tort reform in 2003. I’ll grant him his evaluation of the work force and the importance of tort reform. But when it comes to the reasonableness of regulations pertaining to business, that’s a different story. For instance, consider this story from the July 24 edition of the Dallas Morning News:

Two families are calling out the Texas Department of Insurance for not protecting ratepayers hit with a 75% increase in their premiums for long-term care insurance. They raise a valid question. Is the Texas Department of Insurance an ally of the insurance industry or an ally of consumers. Is the agency so limited in its powers granted by lawmakers that it can’t stop rising costs. Texas granted a 75% increase, compared with other states that approved a 20 or 25% increase when requested by Allianze Life Insurance Co. of North America.


The Trouble With the Enterprise Fund

Governor Perry's decision to fund the opening of a new Charles Schwab office in El Paso (and another in Austin) is a classic example of what is wrong with the governor's economic development funds. Charles Schwab is a national firm that needs no subsidy from the state to succeed. The issue with these grants ought to be whether the firm getting state funds needs the money to be successful. In the case of Schwab, the answer is clearly no.


The Skunk at the Garden Party

I refer, of course, to Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans, an organization that is known for rating legislators according to their voting records and seeking to support or defeat those whose conservative bona fides are suspect. As a result, Sullivan is one of the most feared figures in the Capitol. (For background, read Nate Blakeslee's profile from the January 2013 issue here.) He is currently engaged in a long-running dispute with the Texas Ethics Commission, which has fined Sullivan a total of $10,000 for failing to register as a lobbyist, a trade he insists he does not practice.


National Guard Troops on the Border

It is one thing to institute a DPS "surge" on the border; it is quite another to send the National Guard there, a thousand strong, as Perry intends to do.


The Confederate License Plate

I am disappointed that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of allowing Texans to display a Confederate emblem on their license plates. Are we on the way to becoming Alabama? (I fear that the answer is yes.) Why not just have a bumper sticker that proclaims, "Redneck and proud of it."


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