Sunday, July 12, 2015

FW Newsletter: Check this out


9.12 Grassroots Summit 
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Insurers are seeking huge premium increases because of ObamaCare's unbalanced risk pools
- by Jason Pye

Health insurance companies are signaling huge health insurance premium increases ahead of the 2016 open enrollment period. This is due to the droves of older and sicker consumers who signed up for coverage on the ObamaCare Exchanges, according to a report from The New York Times. Requests submitted by insurance are approved by state regulators, such as state insurance commissioners, but the proposed rates reflect a higher utilization of healthcare than expected.

Rate increases vary by state and health plans offered. Oregon has already announced premium increases between 8 percent and nearly 38 percent for a 40-year-old on a Silver plan purchased through the federal Exchange (the state shuttered its state Exchange after an epically disastrous launch). Most increases for this type of plan in Oregon are in the double digits. Read more here...


Court Increases Questioning of the Jiggery Pokery that is the Chevron Defense
- by Michael Greibrok

Chevron deference has been used by the Supreme Court since 1984. Since that time, federal agencies have been able to capture more and more power over the American people.

Chevron deference came from the Supreme Court’s opinion in Chevron v. NRDC (1984), the test is used when determining whether a federal agency acted within the authority granted to it by Congress. It is a two-part test. The first part asks whether there is ambiguity in the authorizing statute. If there is no ambiguity, the test ends and the agency must follow the statute. If there is ambiguity, the second part asks whether the agency’s interpretation of the statute is reasonable. If their interpretation is reasonable, the court accepts the agency’s analysis. However, since Congress in increasingly unable to write clear, concise statutes, the first part of the test rarely ends the inquiry. Read more here... 

New Regulation on Retirement Investments Means Less Choice for Your IRA and 401K 
- by Josh Withrow

The Obama administration has proven exceptionally talented in making law without Congress, using the vast alphabet soup of agencies such as the EPA, the IRS, the FCC, and the NLRB to drastically increase the government’s reach into our lives. Among all of the massively damaging regulations coming out of these agencies is a little-noticed rule from the Department of Labor that could drastically affect millions of Americans’ choice in IRA and 401K investments.

Given this rule’s potential to greatly limit choice and increase the costs of workers’ retirement investments, John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has appropriately dubbed it “ObamaCare for Your IRA”. Read more here...

Windy City Gets Blown Over With New Tax 
- by Erin Aitcheson

A new tax is being imposed on Chicagoans in the name of fairness. Residents who pay to stream movies and music on sites such as Netflix and Spotify will be charged an additional 9% for using those services. The added costs come from a ruling of the Finance Department. Implementing the new charges will be an expansive reach of two types of governing taxes already in place known as the city amusement tax and the city personal property lease transaction tax in order to cover products used by businesses and residents alike.

Simply put, this new tax will affect anyone who accesses the cloud, and is part of a larger attempt on the part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel to slowly chip away at the massive budget deficit in Chicago. While he predicts the ruling will bring in about $12 million each year from anyone living in Chicago paying to receive data, it will do little to resolve the city’s fiscal crisis, which ultimately requires an effort to reduce spending. Companies will have until September 1st of this year to begin paying the new fees; however, the city can start collecting sooner than that. Read more here...

Law enforcement funding should come from Pennsylvania lawmakers not from the property of innocent  people 
- byJason Pye

Pennsylvania has one of the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the country, in the country, but a recently introduced reform proposal would protect innocent people from this form of government overreach. Prosecutors in the Commonwealth are, however, aggressively trying to defend the pernicious practice, which is often used to go after property of law-abiding citizens.

SB 869 would end civil asset forfeiture in Pennsylvania by requiring a criminal conviction before the government can take property connected to a crime. The bill would end the perverse profit motive often behind seizures by requiring that proceeds from forfeitures be spent to reimburse costs of storage and selling forfeited property, compensate victims of crime, and pay attorneys’ fees and court costs of property owners who have prevailed in forfeiture proceedings. Remaining funds would be directed to the Commonwealth's general fund. HB 508 is companion bill introduced in the state House. FreedomWorkssupports both bills. Read more here...

The Need for Accountability in Education Policy
- by Logan Albright 

Accountability is one of those words that seems to crop up again and again in education policy. Everybody seems to agree that more accountability is a good thing, but as usual, it’s easy for people with different interpretations of the same word to talk past each other.

The accountability I want to talk about isn’t student accountability - a phrase that is typically used as code for “more testing.” Instead, I’m interested in accountability to the people making education policy, a group that has emerged largely unscathed from their numerous collective blunders.

In a recent report, the Pioneer Institute pointed out that the PARCC standardized tests - you know, the ones that states are abandoning like rats fleeing a ship - are funded by a conditional grant that requires fifteen states to participate. Currently, only seven states and the District of Columbia are using PARCC, and many of those are only barely using it. Read more here...

Liberty Beats: The Unconventional Generation 

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The 21st Century Cures Act Will Lead to Huge Spending Growth
- by Jason Pye 

The House is getting set to pass the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6). The bill has good intentions. It is trying to do great things by reforming the patent process to streamline the research and production of drugs - getting them to patients faster, which will save lives. Unfortunately, the bill also creates a new spending program with some dubious offsets that make the overall bill difficult for conservatives to support.

While streamlining FDA regulations is a great thing, throwing more federal money at research is not. The bill seeks to move $8.75 billion over five years towards funding research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Aside from the question of whether the federal government ought to be responsible for funding medical research in the first place, the spending is designated as mandatory spending. Mandatory spending doesn’t have to be appropriated each year by Congress – it just goes out the door on autopilot. And although the new “Cures Innovation Fund” that is created to spend the money is supposed to be temporary (5 years), “temporary” federal programs are rarely allowed to expire. Read more here...

100 Republicans Join in Voting for More Mandatory Spending
- by Josh Withrow

Today, astonishingly, 281 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives – including 100 Republicans – voted to increase the government’s autopilot “mandatory” spending. Tucking even more new spending into the “non-discretionary” category in order to avoid budget constraints is a dangerous precedent – one which no fiscal conservative should ever support.

H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, included nearly $2 billion per year in new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 5 years. But instead of following the normal process of authorizing this new spending to be appropriated by Congress each year, the bill put the spending into the category of non-discretionary, autopilot spending. Read more here...

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Iris Somberg 
Press Secretary, FreedomWorks

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