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

A Health Care Legacy Moonshot for Obama
29 Sep 2016 07:00:58 CDT -

NCPA Senior Fellow John R. Graham writes in Forbes:

President Obama has an opportunity to win a positive legacy in care. Although his attempt at payment reform, Obamacare, has failed in public opinion, he is also encouraging important initiatives in medical innovation. The Cancer Moonshot and Precision Medicine Initiative represent investments in innovation that can bring big payoffs. However, they will not succeed fully unless the Food and Drug Administration allows patients access to new therapies. Legislation modernizing the FDA, the 21st Century Cures Act, is being fumbled inches away from the Congressional end zone. Presidential leadership is needed.

21st Century Cures would also allow real-world data to be used to support the FDA's approval of new indications for medicines already in use. This is important because manufacturers are not allowed to promote their medicines for benefits not already approved by the FDA. Even though such "off-label" communications are banned, doctors are free to prescribe medicines for off-label use. (Indeed, many states require insurers to reimburse for off-label prescriptions.)

The bill contains a number of other provisions that will improve the FDA's performance with respect to allowing patients access to medical innovation. How much would all this cost, you ask? Virtually nothing! Only $1.4 billion over 10 years. And it is more than paid for with some spending cuts and increased revenue. Some comes from strange places, like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. However, the dollar figures are so small any changes to tidy up the funding sources should be easy to find.

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For more on Health Issues:

Occupations: A Hierarchy of Regulatory Options
28 Sep 2016 07:00:57 CDT -

NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill writes for Cato Institute's Regulation Magazine:

In July 2015, the Obama administration released a first of-its-kind report from any White House: a study on occupational licensing. The report gained significant attention because of the novelty of its subject for aWhite House report, but also for its rather skeptical view of licensing. Mary Kissel, for example, on her July 29, 2015, WSJ live Opinion Journal program, said incredulously: "Stop the presses. The White House released a report yesterday that says a certain type of regulation kills jobs. The Obama White House said this?"

For many years, the Institute for Justice, the Cato Institute, state policy think tanks, and others have worked to reform licensing laws that amount to little more than a government permission slip to work. But in recent years, the issue finally caught fire among Republican and Democrat policymakers, culminating in the White House report. after reviewing the costs and benefits of licensing -- with the former far outweighing the latter -- the report offered a series of recommendations for howstates should reform their occupational licensing policies and policymaking. The most significant of those recommendations, and likely the most realistic to implement, is a menu of regulatory options that are less onerous than licensing, including "certification (whether private or government-administered), registration, bonding and insurance, and inspection, among others."

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For more on Economic Issues:

Hillary's Campaign to Lower Drug Costs Is a Downer No Happy Pill Can Fix
27 Sep 2016 07:00:56 CDT -

NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick writes for Townhall:

Drug prices have become a campaign issue accompanied by a plethora of bad ideas. Spending on prescription drugs has grown tremendously over the past few decades, mainly due to the increase in the number of diseases and conditions treated using drug therapy. The truth is: most drugs are dirt cheap! Only a small portion -- maybe 1 or 2 percent -- are rather costly.

Early in his campaign, Donald Trump came out with some bad ideas on how to lower drug prices, such as having the government negotiate drug prices for Medicare and importing drugs from abroad (that is: importing other countries' price controls). He has since ceded these populist talking points to Hillary in favor of free-market ideas. He now advocates getting government out of the way, allowing competition to flourish. He understands that bureaucratic red tape at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration often prevents competition from holding drug prices in check.

Hillary Clinton is another story. Candidate Clinton is competing with the political ghost of Bernie Sanders to see who can devise a more ridiculous solution to lower drug costs.  Clinton has adopted the populist "cap the copay" policy idea that aims to limit drug cost-sharing to no more than $250 per month. This proposal is mostly a red herring. Manhattan Institute Fellow Yevgeniy Feyman estimates a $250 per month cap on out-of-pocket drug spending would benefit only about 1 percent of patients taking drugs. Moreover, nearly half of the benefits would accrue to wealthier households; those earning more than four times the federal poverty level, while the costs would come out of everybody's pockets. Proposals to limit consumers' copays basically forces health plans to pass on the higher costs to all policyholders as higher premiums. A handful of states have tried this. Besides raising premiums, it also encourages higher drug prices.

Drug cost-sharing is not really a problem for most people. Most Americans belong to a drug plan that provides drugs for nominal copays.  Nearly 90 percent of the drugs Americans take are cheap generic drugs, and about 80 percent of prescriptions have copays of $10 or less. On average, Americans only pay for about 16 percent of their drugs out-of-pocket. Someone else (insurers, drug plans and employers) pays the rest. Yet, activist politicians are trying to take advantage of the perception that drugs are unaffordable and in need of their policy solutions.

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Cyber Threats to the Texas Electric Grid
26 Sep 2016 07:00:55 CDT -

Texas plays a unique role in America's infrastructure as the only state with a self-contained electric grid. The entire U.S. electric power system is a prime target of cyberattacks from hostile governments and terrorist organizations, but the Lone Star State is in a unique position to act.

The Consequences of a Vulnerable Grid. The Northeast blackout in 2003 left nearly 55 million residents of the United States and Canada temporarily without power. Crews traced the cause to a software error at a utility control room in Ohio and restored power after two days to most of those affected. But the blackout disrupted transportation in many areas, cut off city water in several locations, and hampered emergency services. Experts attributed 10 deaths to the blackout, which cost more than $10 billion.

Remember: For many, this blackout only lasted a few days. And there was no significant damage to sensitive infrastructure. However:

  • Any serious injury to important power equipment could create a blackout lasting for at least one year "given the nation's current state of unpreparedness," argues Peter Pry, a former executive of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security.
  • The Obama administration remains "unwilling to empower competent authorities to combat the adversaries within the grid environment," according to the assessment of George Cotter, the founding director of Department of Defense Computer Security Center.
  • The Pentagon's current information security strategy is nothing more than "patch and pray," said Arati Prabhakar, the Director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in 2015.

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For more on Government Issues:

In Defense of High Frequency Trading
23 Sep 2016 07:00:54 CDT -

Washington recently put Wall Street back into its crosshairs when Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced a bill to levy a 0.03 percent tax on transactions involving stocks, bonds and derivatives. His goal is to reduce "speculative financial trading" and to "curb near instantaneous high-volume trades that create instability in the stock market and in our national economy." Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton advocates taxing high-volume or High Frequency Trading (HFT). This market activity has been under scrutiny since the Great Recession, and especially since the "Flash Crash" of 2010; but, is high frequency trading really to blame for market crashes?

What Is High Frequency Trading? High frequency trading uses highspeed market data and analytics to find small, short-term price differences signaling supply and demand opportunities. These price fluctuations are often the product of predictable behavioral or mechanical characteristics of financial markets. To receive market data as quickly as possible, stock brokers that specialize in electronic trading use advanced algorithms, on high-speed computer systems, in offices close to an exchange -- such as the New York Stock Exchange.

The algorithms allow computers to execute buy and sell orders electronically when a security's price fluctuates. Usually these transactions are executed in microseconds, and the profit is just a cent or a fraction of a cent, per transaction. For example, a firm might buy a stock that is selling for $20.00 on the NYSE, and simultaneously sell it on an exchange in Chicago where the price is $20.01. The firms execute enough of these transactions to make hundreds of thousands of dollars per day.

However, this type of trading is not an exotic activity; 90 percent of personal investors have access to high frequency trading, either directly or indirectly, through their broker.

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For more on Tax and Spending Issues:

Donald Trump's Tax Plan under the NCPA's Model of the U.S. Economy
22 Sep 2016 07:00:53 CDT -

Presidential candidate Donald Trump's revised tax plan (Trump 2.0) would increase private sector jobs by 3 million in 2017, while reducing public sector jobs by 554,000, according to a report by the National Center for Policy Analysis. In other words, for every public sector job lost, over five private sector jobs would be gained. In 2026, more than six private sector jobs would be gained for every public sector job lost. Trump's plan would promote tremendous job growth as well as other economic growth effects:

In the first year (2017), real GDP would increase $985 billion, representing a growthrate of 5.64 percent above Congressional Budget Office baseline estimates. In 2026, this growth rate would increase to 9.36 percent!

Personal income in 2017 would be $646 billion more than CBO baseline estimates, agrowth rate of 3.83 percent. In 2026, this growth rate would increase to 5.64 percent.

Business investment would increase by $191 billion in 2017, representing a 7.16 percent growth. In 2026, this would increase to a substantial 11.72 percent above CBO baseline estimates.

This analysis is based on results from the NCPA's modeling of the U.S. economy, in partnership with Dr. David Tuerck and his team at the Beacon Hill Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.

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For more on Tax and Spending Issues:

Health Policy Digest

Provided courtesy of: NCPA

Consumer Driven Health Care

Health Care Reform Tax Will Hurt Franchisees
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - When the employer mandates go into effect in 2014, many franchised businesses will be motivated to reduce the number of locations and move workers from full-time to part-time status...


Saving Jobs from Health Reform's Harmful Regulations
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - If the rate of health care cost growth had not exceeded general inflation, a typical family would have had $545 more per month in spendable income instead of $95 -- a difference of $5,400 per year...


Does Health Insurance and Seeing the Doctor Keep You Out of the Hospital?
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - Gaining health insurance and using more primary care services leads to more hospitalizations as a result of physicians' discretionary decisions regarding aggressive and intensive treatment...


The Case for Competition in Medicare
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - A well-functioning marketplace would set in motion the forces needed to transform American medical care into a model of efficient patient-centered care...


Potential Effect of Health Care Reform on Emergency Department Utilization Not Clear
04 Oct 2011 12:43:58 GMT - In 2010, 71 percent of emergency physicians said that they expected emergency department visits to increase due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act...


Related Information:
NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis Web Site

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