Cup o’ (Pro)Jo: November 30, 2011

Yesterday, Rhode Island became the first state to receive a Level-II multiyear grant to develop a health-benefits exchange under the new federal healthcare law. The exchange will be operational in 2014 and will allow individuals and small business owners to search for health insurance plans and apply for federal subsidies through an online marketplace. The $58 million grant follows an initial $1 million planning grant in 2010 and $5.2 million granted in May to begin creating the exchange.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority has noticed a recent surge of 300,000 to 400,000 rides per year attributed to using free-ride passes provided to elderly and disabled citizens. RIPTA officials said that they suspect fraud, although the lack of evidence makes such claims difficult to prove.

With many Rhode Island cities facing budget crisis, Cranston has developed a unique solution for raising cash. City officials have requested an amendment to current city law to allow corporate advertising on the sides of public school buses., which could generate $300,000 in revenue.

And with November coming to a close, the war on Christmas is firing up again. Governor Lincoln Chafee ’71 P’14 described the 17-foot Colorado spruce standing in the rotunda of the State House as a “Holiday tree” when he announced next week’s tree-lighting ceremony. Republicans in the House of Representatives have accused him of disregarding a resolution passed in January specifying that the specific term “Christmas tree” must be used. In response to criticism from Republicans and Catholics, Chafee encouraged Rhode Islanders to enjoy the spirit of the season, regardless of the words used to describe it.

 

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