Testimonies, Speeches and Comments

The NCPA has a highly effective office in Washington, D.C. that sponsors Capitol Hill briefings, conferences and testimony by NCPA experts before congressional committees. The NCPA serves as a source of "outside the Beltway" thinking for Capitol Hill deliberations.

  • Jul 13, 2016

    First, Do No Digital Harm: Regulating Mobile Health Apps for the 21st Century

    Introduction. Chairman Burgess, Ranking Member Schakowsky, thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony on the impact of mobile health apps on American Health Care. On a bipartisan basis, the Energy and Commerce Committee has taken the lead in ensuring the United States can take full advantage of innovation in mobile apps to improve cost, quality, and convenience in American health care. The 21st Century Cures Act, passed by the House in 2015 with overwhelming bipartisan support, is forward thinking. If passed into law, the policies it would implement would lead to a responsible and responsive regulatory environment for mobile health apps.

    However, misguided policies could also derail the benefits of apps and other digital health technologies. Policies on payment and regulation, well intentioned proposals to move things along quicker, could have the unintended consequence of allowing these digital technologies to be swallowed by an unreformed health system that remains expensive, sluggish, and of uneven quality. The risk of Congress doing too much is at least as great as the risk of doing too little. The principal guiding Congress should be: First, do no digital harm. There are three areas in which Congressional action could have such unintended consequences: State licensing of physicians, interoperability of health data, and Medicare payment for telehealth.

    State Licensing of Physicians. Historically, the practice of medicine has been regulated by the states. As telehealth has emerged, this has led some interested parties to conclude state licensing is (to some degree) obsolete. If technology permits a radiologist in Texas to read an image of a patient taken in any state, should that radiologist have to be licensed in every state? A short cut to solve this problem would appear to be to legislate a federal “safe harbor” for Medicare patients. This would comprise federal overreach that would be constitutionally suspect and unnecessary, because states are already solving this problem.

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  • Jul 13, 2016

    Why Are Co-Ops Failing?

    Chairman Jordan, Ranking Member Cartwright, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about the challenges facing COOPs.  I am Devon Herrick, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.  We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.

    Many supporters of progressive health reform wanted a public plan option to compete with the private insurers offering insurance in the state and federal health exchanges. To draw support from progressives, proponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) proposed creation of a type of nonprofit health insurance cooperative that would compete with established health insurers. Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or health insurance COOPs, as they are commonly known, were a political compromise during the health care debate, primarily serving as an alternative to the public plan option many progressives wanted.

    COOPs are not traditional health insurers. Rather, the organizations are taxpayer-funded, nonprofit health insurance cooperatives established under the ACA. COOPs borrowed funds from the government for start-up costs and solvency reserves. Twenty-four applicants were selected out of a pool of 147 applications. Just over $2 billion was loaned to the 23 applicants that began operations prior to January 1, 2014.

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  • Jul 12, 2016

    Barriers to Entrepreneurship: Access to Credit

    Before the financial fallout of 2008, the process of entrepreneurs accessing credit was fairly simple. A potential entrepreneur would design his pitch and take it to the loan officer at his local bank. The bank would stand to gain the most if the loan was repaid and thus would not give out a loan unless they believed it would be repaid. Then the originator of the loan would likely sell it to a master servicer within minutes of completing the underwriting process. If the borrower defaulted, the master servicer would then sell the loan to a special servicer, who could renegotiate terms or seize the collateral. This model generally worked.

    With community banks, the loan process is built on familiarity between parties. Creditors have better knowledge of those they loan to; while borrowers understand the stigma earned and the hardship they would cause to the bank by not paying their debts. Because of this culture of trust, there are lower default rates, and banks are able to serve clients who wouldn’t make it through a more corporate vetting process.

    Since the 2008 Financial Crisis and the implementation of Dodd-Frank in 2009, sources of business capital for low-income innovators and entrepreneurs have diminished. In the 2014 survey of 1,242 companies conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, 45 percent of new companies cited lack of credit access as a business challenge. This number remained unchanged from 2013 and 2012. Supporters of the Dodd-Frank Act sold it as promoting soundness and stability by reining in Wall Street and the big banks. Instead, much of Dodd-Frank is broad enabling act grating power to executive – agency bureaucrats to write specific regulations that reduce the access to credit for entrepreneurs through these community banks. How did this happen?

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  • Jun 16, 2016

    The NLRB Joint Employer Rule Creates New Challenges in the Complex Relationship between Employers and Unions

    Chairman Vitter and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about the NLRB joint employer rule and the implications on employers and unions.  I am Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.  We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.

    Two significant rulings by the National Labor Relations Board in 2015 expanded the interpretation of the “joint employer” rule.  Joint employer is a designation given when two firms are involved in the employment practices of an employee.

    In a case involving Browning Ferris Industries, the NRLB ruled that Browning Ferris was not only responsible for those it employed directly, but also contractors and those “indirectly” employed by the firm.  Thus, they would be liable for labor violations committed by contractors even when they have only indirect or unexercised control over employment conditions.

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  • Jun 01, 2016

    NCPA to Hensarling: Do Not Underestimate the Dangerous Conflict Mineral Provision in Dodd-Frank

    On behalf of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), I am writing to express our support for your efforts to create a pro-growth, pro-consumer alternative to the Dodd-Frank Act. The NCPA is a non-profit, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to developing and promoting private alternatives to government regulation and control. We do not endorse specific pieces of legislation. Nevertheless, we strongly support your Principles of Financial Opportunity, particularly those policies addressing the need for competition and the need for less regulatory complexity.

    Tucked deep inside the Dodd-Frank Act is a small but important provision on conflict minerals. Much like your description of the entire bill as a monument to "arrogance and hubris," Section 1502 on conflict minerals reflects the same and should be tossed into "the trash heap of history."

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a former Belgian colony and second largest country in Africa, experienced a brutal, decade-long civil war during the 1990s that claimed millions of lives. The newly established DRC government told a handful of U.S. officials in 2007 that conflict lingered in the east because rebels funded their operations through the sale of minerals. That conversation gave birth to the idea of regulating conflict minerals. Legislation was introduced in Congress to force publicly-owned U.S. businesses to inspect their supply chains and declare the use of minerals sourced from the DRC, namely tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold. These minerals can be found in an assortment ofproducts like clothing, electronics and household goods. Advocacy groups and Hollywood elites pressured Congress to use Dodd-Frank as the vehicle to pass the stalled legislation. In the end, the U.S. response to a domestic mortgage crisis included this bizarre regulation aimed at the Congolese rebels and conflict minerals.

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