Congress is broken. Gridlock is permanent. A House divided cannot rule. Senate rules are unworkable. There have been a zillion variants of the diagnosis with the same ultimate bottom line: nothing gets done in Washington. Except suddenly exactly the opposite happens.
The president has made his official defense of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) on the occasion of its 5th anniversary. "The bottom line is this for the American people: this law is saving money for families and for businesses,” he said. “This law is also saving lives, lives that touch all of us.”
Yesterday Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Mary Jo White got an earful from the House Committee on Financial Services regarding SEC's intention to develop “fiduciary standards” for further regulatinginvestment advisers.
Net Neutrality Irony: Remember net neutrality? Remember when the White House supported on its web site "a principle known as 'net neutrality' — and it says that an entrepreneur's fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations…” Now, as it turns out, new research by AAF’s Will Rinehart shows that it is these very same small businesses that are under assault from net neutrality.
On Friday, as most eyes were trained on the NCAA tournament, the Obama administration finalized yet another regulation to increase the costs of producing energy in this country. All this hiding the ball – for the sake of mixing sports metaphors – is getting old.
Today, AAF launches the culmination of five years worth of research: Reg Rodeo (www.regrodeo.com). This online database contains information on every federal rule with a quantifiable cost or paperwork burden since 2008. Users can search federal rules by the affected industry, agency, or by law (Affordable Care Act or Dodd-Frank). If users really know their stuff, there is a function to type in the name of the regulation to return a result.
The Senate yesterday released the draft version of its budget resolution for fiscal 2016, joining the draft House resolution that was made public Tuesday. This kicks off the process that (presumably) leads to a joint budget resolution that will govern the budgetary actions of the Congress this year.
A bipartisan negotiation has yielded a proposal to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) mechanism — a proven policy failure that promises to cut doctors’ reimbursements by double-digit percentages each year. Provider cuts of this type don’t fix the poor incentives in fee-for-service medicine — payment reforms are needed for that — and ultimately they are undone by Congress in the annual spectacle known as the “doc fix”.
Conservatives have argued for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since its passage 5 years ago, and are now faced with the possible task of doing so if the Supreme Court overturns the legality of paying subsidies in the 37 states that use a federal exchange. At each turn, the president and other supporters of the ACA have accused conservatives of wanting to return control of health care to insurance companies and to permit those companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
The Department of Education (Education) recently released the revised version of its Gainful Employment regulation covering for-profit colleges and universities. They consist of two requirements: (a) the average annual student debt payment must be 12 percent or less than the average total annual income for graduates of the program, and (b) the median student loan payment must not be more than 30 percent of the students' median discretionary income. If institutions fail to reach these federal benchmarks, they will not receive federal funding.