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: http://www.ncpa.org/
Daily Policy Digest
- Approval Process for LNG Export Terminals Needs Reform
- 18 Sep 2014 07:00:58 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:
- Better Quality Insurance Policies Before Obamacare
- 18 Sep 2014 07:00:57 CDT -
The Daily Caller reports that health insurance policies for individuals were of higher quality prior to the Affordable Care Act. The claim comes from a study issued by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which analyzed health insurance plans across 10 major cities both prior to and after the Affordable Care Act.
According to the study:
- Pre-Obamacare plans actually had more comprehensive health care coverage than plans offered in the exchanges. This was the case for both age sets analyzed: 27-year-old individuals as well as 57-year-olds.
- Last year, before the Affordable Care Act was in force, young adults had access to an average 33 health plans in their area with premiums that were lower than Obamacare, as well as lower or equal deductibles and lower out-of-pocket costs.
- For older Americans, there were an average of 10 insurance policies in each area that had premiums and deductibles cheaper than the exchange plans offered in 2014.
According to the study, Obamacare exchange plans -- which generally offered narrow networks -- were more likely to have Health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, which generally restrict coverage for out-of-network costs. Preferred provider organizations (PPOs), on the other hand, offer coverage for health care providers outside of an insured person's network in exchange for higher cost sharing. According to the study:
- The exchange plans had an average of 16 additional HMO plans for 27-year-olds and for 57-year-olds than did pre-Obamacare plans.
- Similarly, the individual market prior to Obamacare offered 32 more PPO plans for 27-year-olds than did Obamacare, and 25 additional PPO plans for 57-year-old adults.
The study also cited a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that one-third of the enrollees who switched to exchange plans considered their plans "not so good" or "poor."
Source: Sarah Hurtubise, "Study: Pre-Obamacare Health Insurance Was Better Quality Than Exchange Plans," Daily Caller, September 15, 2014.
For more on Education Issues:
- Individuals Failing to Verify Legal Status Will See Insurance Cancelled
- 18 Sep 2014 07:00:56 CDT -
The New York Times reports that 115,000 people will see their health insurance cancelled on October 1. Why? Those enrollees have not proved that they are American citizens or legal immigrants actually eligible for Obamacare health coverage.
Similarly, 363,000 people, according to the Obama administration, will no longer receive federal subsidies this fall. Those enrollees reported incomes (which made them eligible for federal financial aid) that were inconsistent with government records.
According to Andrew Slavitt of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government has been asking enrollees for eligibility verification for months. If they end up providing verification information after cancellation, they may be able to have their coverage reinstated, he says.
There were 966,000 people who enrolled in Obamacare with questionable immigration and citizenship status, but the majority of those individuals sent their verification information to the government when requested. The New York Times reports that Florida has the most residents poised to lose coverage, with 35,100 Florida enrollees having failed to verify their legal status.
Source: Robert Pear, "U.S. to End Coverage Under Health Care Law for Tens of Thousands," New York Times, September 15, 2014.
For more on Health Issues:
- States Reinstitute Work Requirements for Food Stamps
- 18 Sep 2014 07:00:55 CDT -
During the recession, work requirements for food stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) were suspended, but at least 17 states across the country plan to reinstate those requirements this fall, reports Jake Grovum at Stateline.
To receive food stamps, low-income, childless adults are generally required to work or participate in a work training program for a minimum of 20 hours per week. By doing this, they can receive SNAP, otherwise their food stamp usage is limited to three months during the course of a three-year period. However, when the federal stimulus program passed in 2009, the government allowed states to lift their food stamp work requirements.
The majority of states did away with their work requirements as a result. Today, 46.5 million Americans are receiving food stamps. Ten percent of those are childless adults who would normally be subject to work requirements.
Gradually, states have begun reinstating work requirements, depending upon their eligibility under the federal waiver. While 42 states were still able to operate their programs without the work requirements last year, just 35 states are eligible to do so this year.
Despite the fact that the relaxed work requirements were supposed to be temporary, many states have seen backlash from citizens and interest groups as they move to reinstate the work rules.
Source: Jake Grovum, "More States Enforce Food Stamp Work Requirements," Stateline, September 15, 2014.
For more on Tax and Spending Issues:
- Government Intervention Leads to Higher Tuition Costs
- 18 Sep 2014 07:00:54 CDT -
By the time students graduating college with a bachelor's degree are looking to join the workforce, 60 percent of them will have already accumulated more than $26,000 in student loan debt. This debt, writes Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation, is a direct result of federal intervention in higher education.
The 2013-2014 academic year saw federal student aid reach $169 billion, and the government's Pell Grant program, which provides aid to 9 million students, is the largest piece of the federal education budget. Because more students have access to more federal dollars, Burke explains, universities and colleges are raising their tuition prices. In fact, college tuition has grown at twice the rate of inflation for the last three decades.
While lawmakers have introduced various efforts to ease the burden of student loan repayment, nobody is addressing the real issue: rising tuition prices. How to tackle higher education costs? Burke offers reforms:
- Reform the Pell Grant program. The program was intended to serve low-income students. To that end, Congress should set an income cap on eligibility and give Congress more oversight on program funding from year to year.
- Make higher education more flexible. Currently, federal higher education financing is tied to accreditation, which prevents new and innovative educators from entering the higher education market.
- Halt plans to regulate for-profit and vocational schools. The administration plans to issue a rule that would prevent students in for-profit schools from accessing student loans if those schools have high rates of student loan default, a move which would limit students' ability to access different educational options.
Policymakers, contends Burke, must minimize government intervention in higher education if they ultimately want to reduce the student loan burden for millions of college graduates.
Source: Lindsey Burke, "4 Key Reforms That Could Make College More Affordable," Daily Signal, September 15, 2014.
For more on Education Issues:
- Come See Allen West TODAY - A Few Tickets Available On-Site!
- 17 Sep 2014 07:00:53 CDT -
Join us for lunch with Allen West, former Florida congressman and U.S. Army officer. Lt. Col. West will speak about his upbringing, his many years of military service, his time on Capitol Hill and, most importantly, today's current political climate.
After being elected to office, West rose to popularity, known for his steadfast love of country and belief in the values of our founding. His new book, Guardian of the Republic, follows West as he grew from a young child raised in Atlanta to a decorated veteran, outspoken patriot and advocate for liberty.
West will join the NCPA and the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation in Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday, September 17th at 12:00 at the Renaissance Hotel Dallas. You won't want to miss his comments.
Lunch will be served to all attendees, and those purchasing sponsorships will have the opportunity to meet Allen West at a VIP reception prior to the luncheon. Copies of Guardian of the Republic will also be available for sale.
A limited number of tickets will be available on-site today. See here for event details.
For more on International Issues:
Health Policy Digest
Provided courtesy of: http://www.ncpa.org/
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...
REAL CLEAR MARKETS
- 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...
AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
- 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...
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE
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