Research by Jeremy Williams

Webinar | November 2013

Human Trafficking: State Responses to Modern-Day Slavery

Jeremy Williams

Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery whereby children or adults are exploited through force or coercion for sex acts or labor purposes, is purported to be a  multi-billion worldwide industry, and one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises today. The U.S. Department of State estimates that there are approximately 40,000 men, women and children who become victims of human trafficking in the United States every year. While the flow of victims trafficked into the country is being reduced every year, this is far from an immigration issue. As many as 300,000 American children—mostly runaways—are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking every year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. States have taken action, setting up task forces to assess the extent of this insidious practice, experiment with policies that encourage victims to come forward, educate law enforcement personnel, and penalize individuals involved in these crimes. Such legislation has resulted in several Southern states, including Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky, receiving high marks from the Polaris Project, an organization that tracks and assesses the effectiveness of federal and state human trafficking laws. This webinar offered an overview of the topic, and gave examples of how states are working to combat this heinous crime.

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Webinar | October 2013

The Impact of Renewable Energy In Southern Economies

Jeremy Williams

According to the U.S. Energy Administration, renewable energy accounted for almost half of all the new power generation capacity installed in the United States in 2012: a generating capacity totaling about 13,000 megawatts while creating about 110,000 new jobs in 2012 alone. This indicates the growing influence of green energy on the power industry and the national, regional and state economies.

A number of Southern economies are leaders in this effort, including Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. Renewable energy development allows for the branching out from customary energy projects, creating new jobs and impacting state and local economies in nontraditional ways. For instance, renewable energy projects are not only a source of economic development, they provide a reliable source of clean fuel, hedge against volatility in fossil fuel prices, minimize the need for energy from unstable parts of the world and promote energy independence in the United States. Since renewable energy projects rely on upfront capital investment and/or tax incentives, private-public partnerships remain an integral part of their development. As the technology for renewable energy projects continues to improve, companies are expressing greater interest in the long-term economic benefits for moving in this direction. Correspondingly, state and local governments have a vested interest in new ways to help create jobs and sustain economies.

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Policy Analysis | October 2013

Southern States' Medicaid HMO Plans

Jeremy Williams

According to Kaiser Health, approximately 70 percent of all Medicaid enrollees, nationwide, received at least some services through managed care plans.  States vary on how they offer health maintenance organization (HMO) plans to enrollees.  Some offer HMO plans to all enrollees, while others restrict them to certain populations.  The most common populations for expanding access to managed care are children and pregnant women, but many states are expanding to include less healthy populations, such as the elderly and disabled – some of the most expensive Medicaid enrollees.  Regardless of the population, the greatest advantages documented by states in moving toward more managed care are associated with costs and consolidated caseloads.

Under fee-for-service systems, states pay each provider for every service they perform.  More services lead to more fees and higher costs.  Also, fee-for-service systems lend to the ability to commit fraud, because the state pays first and asks questions later.  Under the managed care system, however, insurance companies receive a capped amount to serve a patient.  Also, proponents claim that HMOs can provide better care through coordination among doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals. Fee-for-services systems often lack coordination, which leads to inconsistent care, particularly for those with chronic conditions, resulting in bad outcomes for patients and heftier, repetitive charges to the state.

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More Research by Jeremy Williams

Policy Analysis | March 2012

Organization of Public Health Services

Policy Analysis | September 2011

Prospective Changes in Long-Term Care Policies

Policy Analysis | May 2011

A Prescription Drug Epidemic

Policy Analysis | May 2011

Natural Gas Recovery and "Hydrofracking"

Policy Analysis | April 2011

Nuclear Safety in a Post-Fukushima World

Policy Analysis | April 2011

State Corrections Reforms

Policy Analysis | February 2011

GPS Monitoring for Domestic Violence Offenders

SLC Regional Resource | July 2010

Meth: Resurgence in the South

SLC Issue Alert | January 2009

An HIV Epidemic?

SLC Special Series Report | June 2008

Innovative Programs in Funding State Homeland Security Needs

Policy Analysis | March 2008

Prescription Drug Reuse and Recycling

SLC Regional Resource | January 2008

Landfill Gas to Fuel

SLC Regional Resource | December 2006

The Aging Inmate Population: Southern States Outlook