| A Few Bureaucratic Tweaks Won't Fix ObamaCare's Deeper Problems |
- via Reason
On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—the bureaucratic entity responsible for drawing up many of Obamacare's thousands of pages of regulations—released its latest proposed rules for the law. The new rules are being flagged as a kind of rescue effort intended to bolster the law's exchanges, which are struggling to remain attractive to health insurance companies, but they represent more of the kind of bureaucratic fiddling that is unlikely to have a major impact on the law.
The 294 page rule, oh-so-excitingly billed as the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2018, covers a lot of ground, but the headline news were the proposed changes to the law's risk adjustment system. For those who don't speak health wonk, Obamacare's risk adjustment provision is one of the three main mechanisms that the law uses to distribute risk amongst participating insurers, ensuring that no insurer fails under the weight of an unusually sick and expensive customer base. Basically, it requires insurers who end up with an especially healthy group of patients to pay into a system that makes payments out to insurers that end up with unusually sick patients. As a Kaiser Family Foundation report from last month explained, the goal "is to encourage insurers to compete based on the value and efficiency of their plans rather than by attracting healthier enrollees." Read more here...ObamaCare Premiums Set to Rise, Even for Savvy Shoppers
- via The New York Times
In the last few years, even though premiums in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces were rising, most customers could avoid a big price rise by shopping for a cheaper plan.
Next year, according to a preliminary analysis, that is going to be a lot harder.
Even someone who shopped wisely this year and is willing to switch plans to get the best deal next year is looking at an average premium increase of 11 percent, according to an analysis of rate filings in 18 states and the District of Columbia provided by the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform. Read more here...FreedomWorks' Book Club Spotlight: "Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document"
In Our Lost Constitution, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution's most indispensable provisions. He shows their rise. He shows their fall. And he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this Lost Constitution. Get your copy here...Rank-and-File Republicans Fear Lame-Duck Vote on Pricey Funding Bill
- via The Hill
Rank-and-file House Republicans are dreading voting on a huge spending deal in the lame-duck session — but they may have no choice.
Funding for the federal government dries up at the end of September, forcing Congress to move a stopgap spending bill just weeks before the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are pushing to extend government funding into early 2017, wary of a massive bipartisan spending deal in the lame-duck. But GOP leaders and House Democrats are already laying the groundwork for a short-term continuing resolution, or CR, that will set up a vote on a catch-all spending bill right before the holidays. Read more here...FreedomWorks' Congressman of the Month - Jody Hice
- by Emily Moore
FreedomWorks is pleased to name Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) as our Congressman of the Month for September 2016 for his continued dedication to promoting Congressional principles, a balanced budget, conservative values, and limited government.
Earlier this summer, Rep. Hice was presented with the FreedomWorks FreedomFighter award for the legislation he presented and the votes he made in the 2015 congressional year. With a FreedomWorks lifetime scorecard rating of 100 percent, Rep. Hice is a reliable and consistent combatant for the taxpayers, economic success, and the Constitution. Read more here...Tell the Obama Administration to Stop Using a 1970's Relic to Pursue His Radical Environmental Agenda
- by Kenny Stein
Have you noticed how the price of electronics and appliances like TVs, refrigerators, computers, or cell phones have been continuous declining as a result of technological progress, but the cost of new cars has been increasing? This is not some special quirk of the car market; it is the result of a deliberate policy by the federal government, prodded by radical environmentalists, to increase the cost of purchasing a new car. One of the chief mechanisms for this war on affordability are Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates, which cost consumers tens of billions of dollars per year. Punishingly high CAFE standards have become a weapon of choice for radical leftists in their efforts to dictate how Americans must live.
In the 1970’s after the Arab oil embargo, the federal government created the mandated fuel efficiency standards for cars known as CAFE standards. These mandates were one of many big government economic interferences imposed during that decade in an effort to be seen to be responding the embargo. Unlike similarly foolish price and supply controls, however, CAFE mandates were never repealed, lingering on as a market-distorting anachronism. In 2009, the new Obama administration found a novel use for these outdated regulations: as a tool for pushing its radical global warming agenda. The Obama administration proceeded to nearly double CAFE mandates, demanding radically higher mandates by 2025. Read more here...
Bryan Caplan explains one of the core truths of economics: people respond to incentives. Incentives drive the actions of buyers and sellers in markets, and where government policies go wrong is failing to adequately account for these incentive effects. This analysis shows why government planning fails, while markets succeed. Watch it here...
Climate Change Court Drama: What Does New York's Attorney-General Have to Hide?
- via Reason
New York Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman, as I reported earlier, issued subpoenas to oil giant ExxonMobil last fall demanding that it turn over internal communications regarding what the company knew about the risks of climate change. Schneiderman says that he wants to find out if the oil company fraudulently misled its investors with regard to how man-made climate change would affect its financial prospects.
This effort at legal intimidation then morphed into a group effort with more than a dozen Democratic state attorneys-general who anointed themselves AGs United for Clean Power. The group planned a legal attack not just on ExxonMobil, but also one aimed at many groups or individuals to which the company might donate over the past several decades. The AG from the U.S. Virgin Islands issued a particularly broad and intrusive subpoena to the free market think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, demanding that it turn over "a decade's worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI's work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information. It demands that CEI produce these materials from 20 years ago, from 1997-2007, by April 30, 2016." This attack was clearly meant to intimidate and silence policy players who disagree with the climate consensus. CEI fought back, and the USVI AG backed down. Read more here...FreedomWorks' Bill of the Month: Transportation Empowerment Act
- by Neil Siefring
FreedomWorks is proud to announce that our Bill of the Month for September 2016 is S.1541, the Transportation Empowerment Act introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and its House counterpart, H.R. 2716 introduced by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla). These bills respect the principles of federalism, would cut the federal gas tax, and reduce bureaucracy. Talk about making freedom work.
For too long, much of our nation’s highway transportation infrastructure has been tethered to the whims of the federal government. Our roadways and motorists have been the losers in this arrangement. As U.S. News and World Report explained, “one out of every nine bridges in the country are structurally deficient, nearly one-third of roads are in poor or mediocre condition and more than 43 percent of urban and suburban highways are congested, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, a nonpartisan lobbying organization which assesses and advocates for U.S. infrastructure.” Read more here...FreedomWorks in Action
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