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.
Feb 04, 2016
Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about recent prescription drug market developments in general, and recent price increases in particular. I am Devon M. Herrick, a health economist and 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.
Americans consume nearly $3 trillion of medical care annually, about 10 percent of which is spent on prescription drug therapy. Americans spend twice as much on doctors and three times as much on hospital care as on drugs. More than 60 percent of Americans take a prescription drug in any given year, including 90 percent of all seniors. An estimated 4.3 billion retail prescriptions were filled in 2014 — about a dozen per person in the United States, on average. About three-quarters of physician visits result a prescription. Prescription drugs are a great value; drugs are arguably the most cost-efficient way to treat most health problems. Drugs often eliminate, lessen or delay the need for more expensive treatments such as surgery or
So-called “miracle drugs,” specialty drugs and new drug innovation are often credited with improving Americans health. Often ignored are the immense benefits derived from generic drugs, which costs consumers comparatively little and produces benefits far exceeding costs. Generic drugs account for 88 percent of prescriptions but only 28 percent of drug therapy expenditures. Within a year after a brand drug faces competition from generics, the average price falls 80 percent or more. Intense competition usually holds generic drug prices in check. However, during the past few years, many generic drugs that have been on the market for decades have suddenly become more expensive. For instance, the period from 2013 to 2014 was one characterized by very low consumer inflation (about 2 percent). Yet, 27 percent of generic drugs rose in price by 10 percent or more. About one-in-five generic drugs rose in price more than 25 percent, while 9 percent of generic drugs increased in price more than 100 percent.
Jan 28, 2016
Chairman Hatch, Ranking Member Wyden, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about the challenges facing retirement savers today and how to increase access and participation for all workers. 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.
The Obama Administration has made it a goal to increase access to retirement savings accounts for workers whose employers do not provide 401(k) accounts. Consider:
- According to the Department of Labor March 2015 benefits survey, 69 percent of civilian workers had access to a defined benefit or defined contribution retirement plan. Of those workers 77 percent participated. In March 2012, 68 percent of civilian workers had access to a defined benefit or defined contribution plan, with a participation rate of 79 percent.
- When broken between full-time and part-time workers in the March 2015 survey, however, 80 percent of full-time workers had access to a defined benefit or defined contribution plan, compared to 38 percent of part-time workers. Moreover, only half of part-time workers who had access to plans actually participated.
- But these statistics include only plans offered through employers. According to the Investment Company Institute, in 2013 67 percent of U.S. households had retirement accounts through their employer of through individual IRAs.
While one could argue that the participation rate could be much higher, it does not necessarily mean that access is the problem. Between 401(k) plans, SEP plans, traditional and Roth IRA plans and the new MyRA accounts, anybody who earns at least the amount in wages that they plan on contributing to a retirement account can start and contribute to some type of retirement savings vehicle. But merely increasing access to retirement accounts does not mean that households will contribute to them. The real question is, with the availability of so many types of accounts, why are workers not saving as much as they should, particularly those with lower incomes?
Dec 11, 2015
We at the National Center for Policy Analysis strongly oppose the proposed IRS rule that would have 501(c)3 charitable organizations collect social security numbers of donors who give $250 or more. Issuing this rule right before a presidential election year is not a coincidence.
While the proposed rule is voluntary, that is a weak argument for the rule itself. We are already able to "voluntarily" provide information to the IRS, so why does the IRS need to issue a new "voluntary" rule to allow Americans to do something we can already do? The only reason to issue this "voluntary" rule today is because it is the first step to becoming a mandatory rule in the future.
Requiring individuals to provide their social security numbers along with their charitable donation would violate one of the IRS's own recommendations to protect against identity theft. Why would the IRS want to put individuals at increased risk of identity theft? Why would the IRS want to increase the other risks associated with compromised privacy?
Americans have the right to support charities and causes they believe in. The IRS does not need more regulation in this area. Instead of issuing this rule, the IRS ought to increase regulation of its own unlawful behavior.
The IRS engaged in systematic targeting of organizations and individuals whose beliefs and missions did not align with this current administration's agenda. Then, the IRS spent a considerable amount of energy trying to cover their unlawful behavior, even going as far as lying to Congress. And now the IRS wants NCPA donors to give their social security numbers when they donate? This can only lead to more IRS abuse heaped on law-abiding American citizens.
Not only is the proposed regulation unnecessary, it is dangerous. We strongly urge the IRS to abandon this proposed rule.
Oct 16, 2015
Chairman Cruz and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written comments about the challenges facing low-income individuals and families in today’s economy. 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.
Many agree that “more can be done” to ensure economic opportunity for all Americans. A census report on poverty rates found that of the 43 million U.S. citizens living in poverty from 2007- 2011, 76 percent were black, Native American or Hispanic. Over the past 50 years the U.S. government has spent $5 trillion on anti-poverty programs. But the demand that the “more” must be done by government through a stronger safety net, wealth redistribution and mandated equality measures overshadows the years of evidence that more often than not, government programs fail. Over the past 30 years, NCPA has published a number of studies describing the effects of overregulation and its harmful effects on minorities. Many of these efforts discourage wise choices, limit educational opportunities and create burdensome regulations that hinder entrepreneurship.
Sep 21, 2015
Chairman Lee, Ranking Member Klobuchar, thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony on the impact of mergers in the health insurance industry. The two combinations of greatest concern are Anthem’s announced takeover of Cigna and Aetna’s announced takeover of Humana. Although tis hearing is narrowly focused on antitrust as enforced by the Department of Justice, it is also necessary to understand Obamacare as a cause of this consolidation.
One indicator regulators use to determine whether a business combination will reduce competition is whether there are significant barriers to entry in the industry. If there are, new competitors will not exploit openings created by incumbents’ consolidation. The CEOs of Anthem and Aetna have each (independently) pointed to Oscar, a new health insurer with highly pedigreed investors, as evidence that health insurance is an easy business to enter.