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
- Smart Phone Based Medical Devices Making Big Impacts
- 02 Mar 2015 07:00:58 CDT -
Investments in digital health ventures doubled in 2014. Institutions, analysts and MDs envision the opportunity to reduce the colossal inefficiency of current medical practice by exploiting the Internet of Things, says Jeong Seo, research associate at the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Additionally, according to a recent JAMA article, the number of mobile devices connected via the internet is doubling every five years, and there will be nearly seven connected devices per individual by 2020.
The development most directly affecting today's patient is sensors in smartphones and wearable devices. Such technology quantify physiologic metrics ranging from an individual's number of steps taken to his or her vital signs.
Smartphones have already achieved what pedometers have not: wide adoption by the general population. Nearly two out of three U.S. adults own a smartphone and over one in four Americans have used sensors to track activity.
- Counting steps has been a successful tool used to improve clinical outcomes.
- Smartphone cameras can now diagnose skin lesions with accuracy equivalent to or exceeding that of physicians.
- Similar applications for blood pressure and glucose levels have already hit consumer markets.
As digital medicine moves rapidly, key dynamics to monitor include congressional approval and privacy issues. The medical community, regulators and consumers will decide how these innovations are used. The technology itself, however, is not slowing down for anyone.
Source: Jeong Seo, "Future of Medicine and the Internet of Things," The National Center for Policy Analysis, February 26, 2015.
For more on Health Issues:
- Federal Financial Regulators Prevent Free Enterprise
- 02 Mar 2015 07:00:57 CDT -
Federal financial regulators celebrated the New Year by compiling more than 11,000 pages of rules and regulations, most of which are aimed at the free enterprise capitalist system. Though only about 65 percent of the rules were proposed before the Act's rule-making deadline, many of the policies subject corporations to political impulses.
Some of these regulations include:
- Banks must comply with complex minimum capital rules, which are enforced by federal employees who decide what levels of capital are sufficient for a corporation.
- Federal law mandates only 12.25 percent of credit unions' loans can be to small businesses.
- Private entities can recommend specific investments for retirement accounts, but only if the recommendations fit regulators' definition of suitable.
- Under Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, loans to small businesses by banks, individuals or other financial institutions are typically exempt from registration requirements. Loans through peer-to-peer lending platforms are not.
- SEC regulations S-K and S-X impose high costs on companies seeking to access the public securities markets. As a result, small and medium-sized companies are unlikely raise capital.
- Federal regulations dictate who can invest in certain companies. For example, entrepreneurs who want to advertise they are raising money are required to take "reasonable steps to verify," That investors qualify as "accredited investors."
- Federal policies suggest private companies should not be allowed to lend to poor people - unless they do so in the name of furthering some socio-political goal, such as increasing home ownership.
Source: Norbert Michael, "We Haven't Had a True Free Enterprise System for Decades," Daily Signal, March 1, 2015.
For more on Economic Issues:
- King v. Burwell Ruling Would Affect Nearly 7.5 Million Consumers
- 02 Mar 2015 07:00:56 CDT -
Individuals receiving subsidies in states which could be affected by the Supreme Court King v. Burwell Ruling could see an average increase of 255 percent in their required premium contributions. That means nearly 7.5 million Americans could face a premium increase in 2015 based on "Health Insurance Marketplace 2015 Open Enrollment Period: January Enrollment Period: ASPE Research Brief". The premium increases would be concentrated in low-income populations in red states where the Federal exchanges are established.
87 percent of federal exchange customers currently receive subsidies. If the Court declares subsidies illegal in federal exchange states:
- Average monthly premium contributions for enrollees could increase between 122 percent and 774 percent, depending on the state.
- Residents in Alaska and Mississippi will see the highest percentage increase in their premium contributions.
Under the Affordable Care Act in 2015, consumers are eligible for a hardship exemption from the individual mandate if the premium of the lowest cost Bronze Plan available to them in their region exceeds 8.05 percent of their income. Loss of premium subsidies in federally run exchanges would mean many exchange consumers will be exempt from the individual mandate.
Also, it could undermine employer responsibility requirements in those areas, because the employer mandate is tied to employees claiming a premium subsidy. The implications of the ruling concerning the individual mandate will have a larger impact on younger enrollees, who are less likely to be exempt from the mandate due to age rating differences.
Source: Caroline F. Pearson, "Nearly 7.5 Million Consumers Could Face Premium Increases as a Result of Supreme Court King v. Burwell Ruling," Avalere, February 26, 2015.
For more on Health Issues:
- Eliminating the Deduction for Foreign Reinsurance Premiums Creates More Problems than It Solves
- 02 Mar 2015 07:00:55 CDT -
Several recent tax proposals have included provisions to eliminate deductions for legitimate business costs. Appearing in multiple proposals has been a provision to eliminate the deduction to insurance companies for reinsurance premiums paid to foreign affiliated insurance companies if the premium is not subject to U.S. income taxation and to provide an exclusion from income for reinsurance recovered for any arrangement where the deduction was disallowed.
The goal of the proposal is to handle the perceived problem of profit-shifting so the government can raise revenue. However, the revenue will be raised by increasing the cost of capital. While the deduction eliminated is neatly matched with the income exclusion, it creates complexity and inconsistency in the definition of the corporate tax base. Moreover, it neglects the risk-spreading benefits of an international reinsurance industry, treating this legitimate business practice as mere profit-shifting.
Taking the insurance business to an international level represents a real, significant and serious benefit to insurance practices because insurance companies, like their clients, also like to mitigate risks by sharing them broadly. This is done through reinsurance, which is an ordinary and necessary expenses for doing business.
Under the Taxes and Growth model, the proposal to limit the deductibility of reinsurance premiums would:
- Result in a 0.3 percent increase in the service price of capital, as the costs of the tax on reinsurance, one way or another, filter back to domestic savers.
- Only raise $440 million instead of $710 million at the cost of $1.35 billion.
- Reduce GDP by nearly twice the revenue it collects.
- The private sector as a whole would lose $4.07 for every additional dollar collected by the government over the long term.
Eliminating the deduction for foreign reinsurance premiums ultimately creates more problems than it solves. Congress could look to larger reforms that make the U.S. more attractive as a domicile for corporations.
Source: Alan Cole, "Incorrectly Defining Business Income: The Proposal to Eliminate the Deductibility of Foreign Reinsurance Premiums," Tax Foundation, February 18, 2015.
For more on Tax and Spending Issues:
- France and the United States Neck and Neck for Highest Corporate Income Tax
- 27 Feb 2015 07:00:54 CDT -
Thanks to France doubling its surface tax on corporate income, the United States no longer has the world's highest corporate income tax. Today, France imposes a 36 percent marginal effective tax rate on capital investments, while the United States holds at 35.3 percent. The marginal effective tax rate on capital accounts for the corporate income tax including deductions and credits, sales taxes on capital purchases, and other capital-related taxes including financial transaction taxes.
Looking at the Tax Foundation calculation, which combines the federal rate with the average state levy, the United States statutory corporate tax rate is 39.1 percent.
- The G-7 nations have reduced their corporate tax rates by an average of 4.4 percent since 2005.
- G-20 nations average out at 26.2 percent after reducing corporate tax rates 3.1 percent.
- South Korea, Japan and Germany's corporate tax rates are 30.1 percent, 29.3 percent and 24.2 percent, respectively.
According to a National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) economic study, a corporate income tax is ultimately falls largely on U.S. workers. Therefore, abolishing the corporate income tax could benefit everyone.
The NCPA analysis shows that eliminating the U.S. corporate tax — holding constant the corporate tax rates of other countries — would produce a rapid and dramatic increase in domestic investment, GDP, real wages and national saving.
Source: "The U.S. Is Number Two: France has surpassed America with the highest tax on capital investments," Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2015.
For more on Tax and Spending Issues:
- DHS Shutdown could be a Win for Federalism
- 27 Feb 2015 07:00:53 CDT -
Looming decisions over a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could partially shut down the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Republican-led Congress does not want to approve the DHS funding bill because it also funds Obama's recent immigration executive actions. Meanwhile the White House contends shutting down FEMA will cause disruptions that will see negative effects. The disruptions, however, are emblematic of an oversized government, not an immigration issue — but why?
Because the federal government has intervened in the responsibilities of states, local governments and the private sector, federal agency shut-downs create confusion, having taken jurisdiction and resources from the entities closest to the issues.
FEMA, for example, holds many of the emergency resources needed to keep communities safe from disasters. When they cannot perform their duties because of partial shut-downs, local governments and organizations must pick up the slack though they are under-supplied. These resources include grants to help firefighters, police officers, medical personnel and emergency managers receive the staff, training and equipment needed to respond properly in times of crisis.
Congress could reduce the size and scope of the federal government by voting against the Department of Homeland Security funding bill, and in doing so move the United States closer to federalism.
Source: Chris Edwards, "DHS Shutdown," Cato Institute, February 24, 2015.
For more on Government 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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