NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis
NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis
Barry is a Senior Economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, one of the most influential think tanks in America today.

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental regulation.

NCPA Motto - Making Ideas Change the World - reflects the belief that ideas have enormous power to change the course of human events. The NCPA seeks to unleash the power of ideas for positive change by identifying, encouraging, and aggressively marketing the best scholarly research.

Daily Policy Digest

Provided courtesy of: NCPA

Daily Policy Digest

Allen West Speaks as part of the NCPA's Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series
19 Sep 2014 07:00:58 CDT -

Allen West, retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former Republican House of Representatives member, spoke to an audience of more than 240 people at the Renaissance Hotel Dallas on Wednesday, September 17th, as part of the National Center for Policy Analysis' Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series.

Allen West had many things to share with the Dallas audience, the most influential of which is his stance on charter schools and voucher programs. He had this to say:

"It should be up to the individual that their child gets a good quality education.  Think back to April 2009. The first black president of the United States of America cancels the school voucher program in Washington D.C....says to deserving young minority children, 'you don't deserve that equality of opportunity, we're going to give you an equality of outcome. But yet, as far as my two daughters they're going to be going to the exclusive Sidwell Friends.'"

He continued:

"Think about the devout socialist mayor of New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, who stands up and says, 'We are going to start closing charter schools,' when the highest performing charter school in New York City is located in Harlem -- Success Academy. And who was it that went to Governor Cuomo asking "Do not close our charter schools?" Single black mothers."

West's first book, Guardian of the Republic, looks at West's life and examines current events through West's core values: family, faith, service, fiscal responsibility and freedom.

For more on Government Issues:

Do Nine Million Children Really Need CHIP?
19 Sep 2014 07:00:57 CDT -

In 1997, Congress passed the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), intended to provide health insurance to children of families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. But with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Conor Ryan and Sang Kim of the American Action Forum ask whether CHIP -- which is up for reauthorization in 2015 -- is still a necessary program.

At the end of 2013, 6 million children -- out of the 9.1 million eligible for coverage -- had CHIP insurance. Of those, however, 6.4 million within the CHIP population have access to affordable health insurance from other sources (5.1 million would qualify for subsidized insurance in the Obamacare exchange, while 1.3 million could access employer-sponsored coverage through one or both of their parents).

Therefore, there are only 2.7 million American children within the eligible CHIP population of 9.1 million who actually need funding through CHIP. For example: 

  • 1.6 million children in CHIP would not qualify for premium tax credits through their parents' employer coverage, because the IRS bases its assessment of "affordability" on the cost of the individual employee's coverage, not on the overall family cost. If employer-sponsored coverage is deemed affordable, the family does not qualify for subsidies. Ryan and Kim call this the "family glitch."
  • 645,000 children currently uninsured, but who qualify for CHIP, would also fall into the "family glitch."
  • 460,000 children receive CHIP coverage due to various states' expansions of their Medicaid programs.

Source: Conor Ryan and Sang Kim, "Who Still Needs CHIP?" American Action Forum, September 15, 2014.

For more on Health Issues:

Attacks on School Choice in Florida
19 Sep 2014 07:00:56 CDT -

Controversy has developed in Florida over the state's school choice program, reports the Wall Street Journal, as unions claim that the program is hurting public education.

In 2001, Florida Governor Jeb Bush developed a school choice scholarship program. Charitable contributions (for which donors receive tax credits) fund private school scholarships, allowing low-income students to attend schools of their choice:

  • Only students who are eligible to receive subsidized federal lunches qualify for the scholarships.
  • For the 2014-2015 school year, scholarships were capped at $5,272.
  • Two-thirds (70 percent) of scholarship recipients are minority students whose families have an average income of $25,000.
  • $357 million in tax credits are available to encourage the program (an amount equal to less than 2 percent of local and state education budgets).

In the last four years, the number of students receiving scholarship awards has tripled, reaching 70,000 children. A lawsuit by unions, however, threatens the program, as unions charge that the growth of the tax credit program is unconstitutional. Why? The Florida constitution requires "adequate provision" of public education, and the unions contend that school districts lose $6,944 each time a student uses a tax credit scholarship to attend a private school.

But the scholarship funds are not a part of the Florida treasury -- they are composed entirely of private contributions, and no money is sent to private schools to pay for the students' scholarships.

Moreover, the Wall Street Journal reports that the program has only helped Florida students, both in public and in private schools. Florida per-pupil spending on students in public schools has only increased since the introduction of the tax credit program, rising by more than 40 percent since 2001. Additionally, not only is the program saving money (taxpayers saved $58 million in 2012), but Florida students in public schools have seen testing gains -- likely the product of increased competition due to the growth of the scholarship program and charter schools.

Source: "Florida's School Choice Showdown," Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2014.

For more on Education Issues:

Zero-Tolerance Policy Yields Results
19 Sep 2014 07:00:55 CDT -

Philadelphia's schools have struggled with violence. In fact, the 2014-2015 school year was the first time that the school district was not placed on the list of "Persistently Dangerous Schools" by the state's Department of Education.

Even so, the Philadelphia School District had 2,485 violent incidents during the 2013-2014 school year -- hardly an indication that the district is problem-free. Perhaps, writes Stacia Freedman for, the district should take a cue from the Freire Charter School, a Pennsylvania middle and high school that has taken great steps to stop violence within the classroom.

According to Kelly Davenport, head of the school, Freire has a "zero-tolerate" policy on physical violence, verbal violence and bullying. Students from fifth to twelfth grade are held to high standards of behavior, not only in their classrooms but even outside of school grounds. Any violence results in expulsion, and there are no second chances.

How does Freire deal with conflict? Mediation.

  • All students are free to take their peers, or their teachers, to mediation. If the mediation is successful, the parties will sign a contract.
  • Any violations of the contract will result in another round of mediation.

Has it worked? Friedman reports that Freire Charter School found itself on the nation's "Best High Schools" list by U.S. News and World Report in 2013, and 94 percent of its graduates that year went straight to college. The graduation numbers are especially impressive in Philadelphia, a city with a high dropout rate.

Freire also works hard to get scholarships for its students as they head to college. In 2014, students earned $59,665 per student in scholarship money.

The school has focused on keeping parents involved. Its "Power School" software program informs parents of students' grades, attendance and behavior, and students struggling in classes are matched with peer tutors, who are paid to help struggling students, under the supervision of adults.

Freire plans to open another charter school in Wilmington, Delaware, in 2015. Wilmington was recently labeled "the most dangerous small city in America."

Source: Stacia Friedman, "Violent schools? A Philadelphia charter has answers,", September 11, 2014.

For more on Education Issues:

Why Is Health Care Slow to Adopt Technology?
19 Sep 2014 07:00:54 CDT -

Many technology enthusiasts have grown frustrated with the health care sector's slow adoption of new technology. Why has the health care industry not embraced many of the new tools made available by the modern era? 

Robert Pearl at Forbes writes that there are multiple explanations for the slow uptake, including: 

  • Many new technologies are impressive, but they do not necessarily solve health problems. For example, wearable goods -- like wristbands and other sensors -- can track and send all sorts of health data. However, does wearing the device improve a patient's health? According to Pearl, there is little evidence that they do.
  • Many new technologies might actually lower costs. That sounds great, except that doctors and hospitals are paid based on the fee-for-service model, meaning that technologies that reduce costs or the number of patient visits actually cost them money, disincentivizing their use.
  • Paper records remain easier and faster for many doctors; it takes the typical doctor much longer to enter patient data into an Electronic Health Record (EHR) than to write it on paper. EHRs can take a while to fill out, because they prevent doctors from skipping steps or leaving questions blank.

According to Pearl, entrepreneurs should focus on using the technology that already exists, such as smartphones, to improve medical care.

Source: Robert Pearl, "5 Things Preventing Technology Adoption In Health Care,", September 11, 2014.

For more on Health Issues:

Approval Process for LNG Export Terminals Needs Reform
18 Sep 2014 07:00:53 CDT -

Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy approved two new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects, a positive move for American energy. Still, Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute reports that two dozen applications for natural gas exports are pending, tied up in regulatory red tape. Some of those applications have been waiting for approval since 2011.

Allowing natural gas exports could have a major impact in Europe, where countries depend on Russia for gas. In fact:

  • Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia depend entirely on Russia for natural gas.
  • Poland gets 59 percent of its gas from Russia.
  • Germany gets more than one-third (37 percent) of its gas from Russia.

Furchtgott-Roth explains that the European Union has almost two dozen LNG import terminals ready to take in natural gas, but American companies cannot export natural gas to countries with whom it lacks a free trade agreement without receiving approval to do so from the Department of Energy. That is why two dozen LNG export applications are still sitting in bureaucratic limbo, because the approval process is messy and slow:

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for new projects. That EIS subsequently requires approval from several different federal agencies, including the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • When Freeport LNG applied for an export terminal in Texas, the associated Environmental Impact Statement was almost 600 pages long.
  • After FERC completes the impact statement, the Department of Energy decides whether the gas exports are in the public's interest.

Furchtgott-Roth encourages policymakers to look at the approval process and find a way to make it faster and more efficient. According to NERA Economic Consulting, competition from American gas companies could reduce Russia's natural gas export revenues by 30 percent in just five years. Over the long term, that number could reach 60 percent.

Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "LNG Exports Are a Win For All Concerned," Real Clear Markets, September 16, 2014.

For more on Environment Issues:

Health Policy Digest

Provided courtesy of: NCPA

Consumer Driven Health Care

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Does Health Insurance and Seeing the Doctor Keep You Out of the Hospital?
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The Case for Competition in Medicare
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Potential Effect of Health Care Reform on Emergency Department Utilization Not Clear
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Related Information:
NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis Web Site

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