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

Veterans Deserve Better Health Care
17 Jan 2017 07:00:58 CDT -

Senior Fellow John R. Graham writes at NCPA's Health blog:

President-elect Trump has nominated David Shulkin, MD, to be the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In 2015, Doctor Shulkin was nominated by President Obama to be Under Secretary of Health in the VA (the position he currently holds). It is an interesting choice, not only because Mr. Trump is calling on an Obama appointee to take the top job in the VA, but also because it recognizes veterans' health care is the major pain point in the department.

Can veterans hope for better reform than just more tinkering with the current bureaucracy? Or will they have the opportunity to liberate themselves from it? No other public servants, active or retired, are forced to go to government-owned hospitals for care. Why veterans?

Public disgust with the veterans' health system came to the fore in 2014 amid reports that at least 40 veterans had died while waiting for care. Subsequent research found that the problem was systemic: On average, veterans were having to wait three months just to see a primary-care physician, while other Americans typically waited three days, less if they were sick.

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How the Economy Affects Major Asset Classes
13 Jan 2017 07:00:57 CDT -

Asset performance patterns are not always easy to explain, even over longer time frames. For instance, stock and bond prices are positively correlated, but they are also negatively correlated at various times. Asset prices also move differently in periods of uncertainty than in quieter times.

The importance of the economy's influence on asset prices is universally recognized, yet forecasts of asset returns from economic data are not reliable, largely because market prices can change much more quickly than economic statistics. Still, economic shifts are highly relevant in explaining, if not predicting, asset-price

There are some strong basic connections between asset performance and two obvious and quantifiable measures of the economy's behavior: its growth rate (real Gross Domestic Product) and its inflation rate. In a previous publication, we classified assets by the direction of their relationships with various measures of growth and inflation. Here we reduce the structure of the interrelationships to a simple scheme based directly on empirical evidence.

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Health Jobs Explode Versus Non-Health Jobs
12 Jan 2017 07:00:56 CDT -

Senior Fellow John R. Graham writes at NCPA's Health blog:

Health jobs exploded in this morning's jobs report, growing more than three times faster than non-health jobs (0.28 percent versus 0.09 percent). With 43,000 jobs added, health services accounted for over one quarter of 156,000 new nonfarm civilian jobs.

The disproportionately high share of job growth in health services is a deliberate outcome of Obamacare. While this trend persists, it will become increasingly hard to carry out reforms that will improve productivity in the delivery of care.

Ambulatory sites added jobs at a much faster rate than hospitals (0.41 percent versus 0.21 percent). This was concentrated in offices of physicians, which alone added. Ambulatory sites added 30,000 jobs, versus 11,000 in hospitals. This is a good sign because hospitals are high-cost locations of care versus doctors' offices and other ambulatory sites.

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Congress Should Take Steps to Make Drugs More Affordable
11 Jan 2017 07:00:55 CDT -

Senior Fellow Devon Herrick writes for Townhall:

As Republicans squabble about how to repeal & replace Obamacare, lost in the debate is the way most Americans actually access our health care system. In any given year, most people don't ride in the back of an ambulance heading to the ER. Nor do they convalesce in a hospital bed. Most of the medical care Americans receive is not even provided in doctors' offices. The most common way Americans access our health care system is by taking a pill.

Drug therapy is convenient and usually relatively cheap. Most of the drugs Americans take do not even require a prescription -- but a few come with price tags that make your mortgage look cheap. Patients increasingly experience sticker shock at the pharmacy counter because rising health plan deductibles have forced them to pay more of their drug costs out-of-pocket. This isn't necessarily bad; cost-sharing makes it harder for drug makers to jack up prices without anyone noticing.

A significant driver of high drug prices is the excessive regulatory regime at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Few people notice when the FDA drags its feet and drugs take a dozen years to reach the market; yet, the agency suffers a severe public relations backlash when an approved drug causes unforeseen side effects. Thus, the FDA has an incentive to error on the side of caution. A drug that makes it through the FDA approval process is guaranteed years of high monopoly prices due to regulatory barriers that limit competition. To boost competition, a streamlined path to faster drug approval is badly needed. In a market with numerous firms competing to sell drugs, high prices should entice more firms to enter the market. Guidance from Congress would reduce this regulatory bottleneck and refocus the agency's priorities.

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Zika In Florida: A Case Study in Government Failure
10 Jan 2017 07:00:54 CDT -

Senior Fellow John R. Graham writes at NCPA's Health blog:

As readers know from a previous post, I was in Florida for Christmas, trying to unwind. Do you know who else was in Florida? Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus! How did the U.S. government fail in its fundamental duty to protect us from this invader?

Most agree that government has a role to play in preventing and suppressing epidemics, a classic public-health problem. Viral or bacterial infections are not passed from animal to person, or person to person, by voluntary exchange. Instead, proximity to another's infection can lead to an individual's becoming infected, notwithstanding any market interaction.

So, even the most freedom-oriented individuals accept government spending and restrictions on individual choice when the threat of epidemic increases. In 2014, the arrival at Dallas-Fort Worth airport of a man carrying the Ebola virus caused some lawmakers to seek a ban on air travel from countries where Ebola had broken out.

Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain twenty quarantine stations at ports of entry, where public-health officials have the power to detain arriving passengers suspected of carrying communicable diseases.

Fortunately, we do not have to worry too much about these risks today. People in the United States no longer worry about contracting malaria or polio when walking near or swimming in still water. So, it is remarkable that the American people are not outraged that the U.S. government has let mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus enter Florida, where they continue to infect people. This has happened while the federal government's energy has focused on controlling people's private health choices, such as forcing Catholic nuns to pay for artificial contraceptives.

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How to Make New Drugs More Affordable
06 Jan 2017 07:00:53 CDT -

Over the past several years, a few high-priced drugs have elevated drug spending to a political issue. Patients are more sensitive to rising costs due to increasing deductibles and, because consumers pay more of their drug costs, pharmaceutical companies are less able to pass on high prices without anyone noticing.

A significant driver of high drug prices is the excessive regulatory regime at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA regulatory overreach is exacerbated by a lack of guidance from Congress. To boost competition and hold the line on drug prices, a more rational path to drug approval is badly needed.

The Drug Approval Process

A drug that makes it through the FDA approval process is guaranteed years of high monopoly prices due to regulatory barriers to competition. Increasing competition among innovative drugs could prevent some of the egregious price hikes of the past. Me-Too Drugs. "Me-too drugs" are new drugs similar to existing ones that treat the same condition. A little over a decade ago, many in the public health community began asserting that follow-on or "me-too" drugs offer little added benefit and are a waste of resources that would be better spent to research novel drug therapies. The FDA seemingly took this criticism to heart; in recent years it has fast-tracked approval of new, first-in-class drugs thought to show promise.

Yet, as with any new drug, a "me-too drug" could take up to 15 years to research, develop and obtain FDA approval. A drug that comes to market one year after a first-in-class drug could have been first-in-class if that research and development team had been just a little faster. Thus, when the FDA discourages me-too drugs it is discriminating against every competitor that did not cross the finish line first. As a result, approvals for expensive drugs to treat rare diseases are at a historic high while approvals of me-too drugs are down. This limits competition within drug classes, leading to higher prices, and limits patient choices -- something the FDA is just beginning to acknowledge.

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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...


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