NPRI FounderJudy Cresanta founded the Nevada Policy Research Institute in the early 1990s following a life-changing trip to the former Soviet Union to educate pro-democracy leaders about free markets and free elections. Her inspirations included Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation; Jeff Coors of Coors Brewing and the Castle Rock Foundation; Bill Bennett, former secretary of education under President Reagan; and Morton Blackwell of the Council for National Policy. Ms. Cresanta served as the Institute’s president until 2001.
NPRI was established as Nevada’s first free-market think tank, with the goal of confronting the state’s many eroding institutions, including government, the education establishment, the media and academia, with straight-forward, well researched information that would keep the public armed with the truth. The absense of truth, Ms. Cresanta learned while in the former Soviet Union, allows the state to enslave its citizens. Under Ms. Cresanta’s leadership, NPRI worked with some of the top individuals and organizations from around Nevada and the nation to perform compelling research and provide it to the Silver State’s citizens and policymakers.
Ms. Cresanta has an undergraduate degree from St. Louis University and Masters Degrees in Public Policy and Public Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.
MediKid: The Evil Side of Doing Good
Under the guise of providing needy children with health coverage, the president and Congress enacted a wasteful program, dubbed "MediKid," as part of the 1997 budget deal. Before leaving office, Governor Bob Miller seized upon the Clinton initiative, which amounted to incrementalized "Hillary Care," naming it Nevada Check Up. It was part of a larger intrusive program called Family to Family made available shortly thereafter. Financed partly through Medicaid cuts and partly through increased taxes on the poorest Americans, MediKid was created out of a weak understanding of health insurance and children’s health care needs. Nevada will only compound the initial mistakes of the ill-conceived Clinton/Miller plans if it expands Nevada Check Up. In spite of its good intentions, the program neglects children’s real health needs and places them in a health care system where bureaucrats and politicians—rather than parents and health care professionals—control decisions and spending. Far from improving our children’s health, the proposed MediKid expansion will actually bring us ever closer to universal government-run health care.
Extortion Lawsuites: The Games of Callem, Cheatem & Howe
Back in February, Robert Reich, former Clinton Secretary of Labor, wrote an editorial in USA Today titled "Regulation is Out, Litigation is In." It was a liberal treatise extolling the merits of litigation as a tool for bureaucrats, not to mention mercenary-minded attorneys, announcing that "the era of big government is out, but the era of regulation through litigation had just begun." Reich was referring to the lawsuits levied against the tobacco industry and how governments at all levels would benefit— specifically by the revenue they would generate. But tobacco was just the beginning. Today we have the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit, cities throughout the country suing gun manufacturers, retroactive lawsuits against former manufacturers of lead paint and a federal suit against American Airlines. Attorneys generals throughout the country—including Nevada’s Frankie Sue Del Papa—have used these suits to promote their aspirations for higher office. But the cost to taxpayers is far too high.
If It's in the Yellow Pages, Privatize It!
Against a background of a $150 million shortfall—largely a legacy of former Governor Bob Miller’s largess to his liberal cronies and special interests—Governor Kenny Guinn has put state agencies on notice that their bottom lines will be scrutinized, waste will be eliminated and privatization, where possible, will be employed. There is nothing like practicality and need to drive policy objectives. But how practical is a state-level privatization program? How can one be implemented without causing public employees and teachers to feel threatened? Are there any other states that have gone down this road before so we might learn from their successes—and more importantly, their errors?
The Facts About Women's Wages
One of the most enduring myths in American public policy is the belief that women face widespread wage discrimination. Proponents of "pay equity" insist that women earn about 75 cents for every dollar earned by men—and that most (or even all) of this "wage gap" is due to employers’ anti-female bias. Armed with this statistic, radical feminists in Nevada and throughout the nation lobby for greater regulations and government resources to mandate that the sexes receive equal pay for comparable work. But careful analysis shows that the wage gap is just another tool for those who wish to micromanage America’s workplaces. Women are not victims of sexist bosses—the difference between men’s and women’s average pay can easily be explained by the choices workers make. Furthermore, the economic status of women has never been better.
Competitive Contracting for School Support Services
Saving money without compromising services ought to be a chief concern of school administrators. To help channel more resources into instructional programs, school administrators are increasingly turning to the efficiencies of the private sector for services such as public transportation, facilities maintenance and cafeteria operations.
Placing the Blame for Remedial Education
Who should pay for collegiate remedial education? A number of state governments have asked such a question, and are taking steps to cut back or eliminate remedial courses altogether for high school graduates who arrive at colleges unprepared in reading, math and English. With each successive year universities have been asked to cover the costs of correcting the failures of the nation’s public schools. For a decade they have carried this burden in relative silence. But no more. Now they have the motivation and the will to hold the lower public grades accountable. It’s called the budget squeeze. Will Nevada’s state legislature give our own University and Community College System similar authority?
Insurance Reform Needed: Lay Decision Makers Delay Treatment
In these times of health care reform, insurance companies require that pre-authorization be obtained for surgical procedures recommended by a physician before insurance reimbursement can be considered. If the insurance company does not feel that the recommended procedure meets the standards of medical necessity the patient and the physician may appeal their decision , ands the claim then goes to the medial review department. The problem lies in that the "reviewer" is rarely a physician from the same medical specialty as the procedure in question and is usually a person employed by the insurance company. The reviewer thus has a financial interest in the company which may tend to slant the reviewer’s consideration of the claim in favor of their employer over the patient‘s best interest.
The Instruction Gap
On January 2, 1995, Nevada Policy Research Institute released a ten year statistical study on how education funds were spent. The study, two years in the making, revealed a major shift from instruction to administration, teacher's benefits, and loan interest payments creating an education gap of over $80,000,000 since 1982.
It is estimated that this year in America, the private and public sectors will spend 666 billion dollars (14 percent of our Gross National Product) on health care. Despite this staggering commitment of resources, 35.7 million people, or approximately 13.5 percent of all Americans, are lacking medical insurance. Without insurance coverage or ready cash, uninsured persons may be denied hospital care, even in cases of emergency.