Daily Policy Digest
|Social Security Disability Insurance Program is "High Risk," Says GAO
Every two years the Government Accountability Office (GAO) identifies and reports on government operations that are "high risk" -- meaning vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement and inefficiency. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has been identified by the GAO as high risk since 2003. According to their 2017 report, some recommended goals have been "partially met," but more needs to be done, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Pam Villarreal...
|The Failure of a Dam in California Is Warning About the Grid
What in the world does the frightening news about the Oroville Dam in California have to do with America's electric grid? Answer: the failure of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), writes NCPA Senior Fellow David Grantham...
|Soda Taxes: Regressive and Unnecessary
A soda tax internalizes the negative externalities of market activities -- in this case the "public" health costs of obesity and other diseases -- by assessing at least a portion of these costs to consumers or soft drink manufacturers. Soda taxes are also flat taxes, thus regressive in nature, negatively impacting lower-income consumers, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill...
|Celebrity Apprentice and Medical Innovation Have Something Important in Common
A new report should help President Trump find his way out of the confusion suggested by his very mixed signals on the role of medical innovation to American prosperity and patient. The same policies which protect his investment in reality TV ensure medical innovators can invest in research and development, writes NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham...
|Who Is Responsible for Rising Drug Costs?
Americans’ prescription drug bills are rising. Most drugs are affordable, but prices for a few drugs exceed the average mortgage payment. They can be especially costly when there are only one, two or three patented drugs in a given therapeutic class. Drug makers are free to establish whatever price they believe the market will bear and, depending on the number of competitors, they could have significant pricing power.
|Congressional Brief: 12 Fundamentals of Highly Effective Healthcare
Empowering Patients, Providers and the Private Sector by lowering costs, increasing quality and expanding access.
|Texas should challenge the movement to boycott Israel
The divestiture movement fails to recognize or acknowledge that its strategy will not only hurt innovation and progress, but will likely worsen conditions for those it claims to support.
|Health Construction Picked Up in December
Health facilities construction turned around in December, growing 0.6 percent versus a decline of 0.3 percent in starts for other construction. Health facilities construction accounted for almost 6 percent of non-residential construction starts. However, the growth was all in private health facilities.
|Reforming the Social Security Appeals Process
About 12 million people receive Social Security Disability benefits, but there are an additional 900,000 claims that are awaiting decisions. Most claims are initially denied when applying for benefits, but the appeals process at the hearing level where a claimant has the opportunity to go before an administrative law judge (ALJ) is inefficient and time-consuming. Wait times for hearings vary significantly by geographic location. For example:
|Even With Trump's Support, U.S. Labor Is Singing the Blues
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual report on union membership last week, and the numbers are not favorable for the U.S. labor movement. The BLS calculated (from data collected as part of the Current Population Survey) that union membership in 2016 was 10.7 percent, down 0.4 percent from 2015. This percentage loss translates to a decline of 240,000 union members since 2015. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data is available to the BLS, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent; the 10.7 percent rate represents a 46.8 percent decline in American union membership over the ensuing 34 years. Moreover, as of 2016 there are 14.6 million union members, as compared to 17.7 million union members in 1983, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill...