The Daily Dish

When the U.S. housing bubble burst the aftershocks were at the heart of the financial crisis and Great Recession, so you might think that policymakers would avoid at all costs the kinds of policies that fed the housing bubble. Enter the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which yesterday put into effect a 0.50 percent (50 basis points) reduction in the premiums borrowers must pay for taxpayer-backed FHA mortgage insurance.

The Daily Dish

The Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare programs released their annual reports yesterday. Read the coverage and claims contained therein carefully, with an eye for two key moments of spin: (1) the fiscal news is good and the programs are fine, and (2) Obamacare has improved the outlook for Medicare. Instead, remember this: (3) both programs are fiscal toast and need immediate reforms to continue to provide future seniors with an appropriate safety net.

Six Questions for HHS Secretary Nominee Sylvia Matthews Burwell

Senate confirmation hearings begin this week for Sylvia Matthews Burwell–currently the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the President’s pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Burwell would replace outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has held the office since April 2009. Ms. Burwell should move to make HHS a more transparent, accountable organization under her leadership.

CMS Rulemaking and Medicare Part D: Stifling Innovation, Limiting Access, and Decreasing Quality

In January the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed new regulations for Medicare Part D that would limit plan options, restrict competition, and interfere with plans’ negotiations. Under the guise of ordinary rulemaking, the proposed regulations are a fundamental contravention of the policy principles that have made Part D a popular, low-cost, and innovative program. If implemented, the taxpayer will face higher budget costs, millions of seniors will lose their preferred plans, benefits will diminish, and premiums will rise.

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