Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Faces in Congress Could Do Both Sides Some Good • Coast to Coast HeathMon, 19 Mar 2018 18:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAmericans support Medicare negotiations with drug-makers… until they consider the consequences<p> Too many public opinion polls ask a simple question, like &ldquo;Would you like to have lower taxes?&rdquo; or &ldquo;Would you like for government to provide better services?&rdquo; The answers to those things are going to be overwhelmingly positive. We all want the highest value at the lowest price, both in our economic decisions and in our government.</p> <p> Polls about healthcare policy often suffer from the same shortcoming. Would you like the government to take action to lower drug prices? Sure! But the devil is always in the details. What action? And more importantly, what are the tradeoffs (pros and cons) of various actions the government might take?</p> <p> Well, thank goodness for meaningful public opinion research. A new <a href="">Politico-Harvard poll</a>&nbsp;shows that support for government action on drug prices falls dramatically when the public has to weigh the potential negatives. From Politico:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> For instance, 90 percent of respondents supported Medicare negotiations with drug-makers &mdash; but that fell to just 42 percent when respondents weighed the risk that some pharmaceutical companies might respond by halting the sale of certain drugs to seniors.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &quot;This only suggests that this is a tempting issue for political people in both parties because it&#39;s so popular,&quot; said Harvard&#39;s Robert Blendon, who designed the poll. &quot;They&#39;re going to find it much more controversial if they can&#39;t answer the question of how you protect consumers from the potential downside.&quot;</p> <p> As I explain in IWF&rsquo;s <a href="">policy focus on pharmaceutical drug prices</a>, government action to lower drug costs is a risky business. The best approach is to foster greater consumer choice in drugs (and other healthcare goods and services) in order to use market competition to hold down prices.</p> HeathThu, 15 Mar 2018 08:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLarry Kudlow to be Trump's new economic adviser<p> Larry Kudlow, a well-known conservative media pundit, would be the new chief economic advisor to US President Donald Trump, the White House said today, days after Gary Cohen resigned after losing his fight against stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Kudlow, 70, would replace Cohen, a former Goldman Sachs executive who quit the post after his differences with Trump on imposing a 25 per cent tariff on import of steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.&nbsp;</p> <div> Kudlow, who served as Trump&#39;s informal economic adviser during the 2016 campaign, is a well-known conservative voice.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> &quot;Larry Kudlow was offered, and accepted, the position of Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council,&quot; White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The National Economic Council director advises the US president on economic issues and works to implement policy goals.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> &quot;We will work to have an orderly transition and will keep everyone posted on the timing of him officially assuming the role,&quot; Sanders said.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <div> But television news personality has been outspoken in opposition to the tariff plan and wrote an op-ed for CNBC earlier this month that detailed his disagreements.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Trump acknowledged his disagreement on tariffs with Kudlow in a conversation with reporters on Tuesday, but said he welcomed the difference of opinion.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</div> </div> <div> &quot;I&#39;m looking at Larry Kudlow very strongly. I&#39;ve known him a long time. We don&#39;t agree on everything but in this case I think that&#39;s good. I want to have a divergent opinion -- we agree on most,&quot; Trump said.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> He added that Kudlow has &quot;come around to believing in tariffs as a negotiating point.&quot;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div> Top American lawmakers welcomed Kudlow&#39;s appointment to the crucial administration position.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Senator Lindsay Graham called the appointment &quot;a home run choice&quot; and praised Kudlow for his advocacy of &quot;pro-growth&quot; economic policies.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <div> &quot;He will be a steady hand in helping implement President Trump&#39;s pro-growth agenda and will provide insightful advice backed by a deep understanding of how the American economy works,&quot; Graham said.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Senator David Perdue said Kudlow would help Trump in making the US more competitive with the rest of the world.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <div> &quot;We need more smart, business-minded people who understand that this president is trying to make the US more competitive with the rest of the world and provide much needed economic relief after many years of failed fiscal policies,&quot; he said.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Democratic Congresswoman Ted W Lieu was less enthused by Kudlow&#39;s appointment, saying she was &quot;appalled&quot; that the person who will now drive the US&#39; economic policy has argued that war is good for business.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <div> &quot;Our service members are brave patriots, not equity on a shareholder report. In an administration that has already been fraught with disastrous policy decisions, I worry about someone who thinks this way having the president&#39;s ear,&quot; said Lieu.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> &quot;Entering into conflict has to be a last resort -- and should never be evaluated primarily on its economic merits. Mr. Kudlows fringe ideas don&#39;t deserve a place in the White House,&quot; she said.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <div> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum&#39;s Director of Policy, Hadley Heath Manning said Kudlow&#39;s economic expertise will again be an asset to the nation, just as it was when he served under Ronald Reagan.&nbsp;</span></strong></span></span></div> <br /> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathThu, 15 Mar 2018 07:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTrump picks IWF Friend and Board Member Larry Kudlow as NEC Director<p> Today President Trump selected Larry Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as National Economic Council Director. The selection of this esteemed economist (and IWF friend and board member) is an excellent choice that will benefit the Trump Administration and the nation.</p> <p> Kudlow served in various economic advisory roles in the Reagan Administration; before that he worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. After the Reagan years he worked as chief economist for Bear Stearns, and most recently, Americans recognize him as a CNBC Senior Contributor and as former host of CNBC show <em>The Kudlow Report</em>. Over the years, various IWF spokeswomen have joined Kudlow on his airwaves to discuss economic and political issues.</p> <p> IWF released a <a href="'s-Economic-Expertise-Will-Again-Be-An-Asset-to-the-Nation">statement</a> today, acknowledging Kudlow&rsquo;s selection as NEC director, saying, &ldquo;We expect that as National Economic Council director, Kudlow will build upon President Trump&#39;s success on tax reform and deregulation, encouraging the Administration to right-size the budget, reduce the debt, and roll back government&#39;s control on health care. We wish Larry Kudlow the very best and congratulate the Trump Administration on his selection.&quot;</p> <p> Kudlow has the right approach to economic policy, sharing our view at IWF that free markets allow women, men, and families greater choice over their lives and ultimately, greater prosperity.&nbsp;</p> HeathWed, 14 Mar 2018 21:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStatement: Kudlow's Economic Expertise Will Again Be An Asset to the Nation<p style="text-align: center;"> <img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 143px;" /></p> <p> Immediate Release<br /> March 14, 2018</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>Kudlow&#39;s Economic Expertise Will Again Be An Asset to the Nation</strong></span></p> <p> Washington, DC &mdash;&nbsp;<strong>Independent Women&#39;s Forum Director of Policy Hadley Heath Manning</strong> issued the statement below on President Trump naming Larry Kudlow as top economic advisor, replacing Gary Cohn as National Economic Council Director:</p> <p> &quot;We applaud and celebrate the Trump Administration addition of Larry Kudlow &mdash; longtime IW friend and board member &mdash; to the position of National Economic Council director.</p> <p> &quot;Kudlow&rsquo;s economic expertise will again be an asset to the nation, just as it was when he served under Ronald Reagan. His analysis as a Senior CNBC Contributor has always been spot on as he has advocated for low taxes, fiscal restraint, and &ldquo;free markets, free people.&rdquo; Kudlow shares IW&rsquo;s view that women, men, and families experience greater prosperity with greater economic freedom.</p> <p> &quot;We expect that as National Economic Council director, Kudlow will ?build upon President Trump&#39;s success on tax reform and deregulation, encouraging the Administration to right-size the budget, reduce the debt, and roll back government&#39;s control on health care. We wish Larry Kudlow the very best and congratulate the Trump Administration on his selection. &quot;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <em>###</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <em>Independent Women&#39;s Forum works to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free-markets and personal liberty.</em></p> <table dir="ltr" style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="margin: 0px;"> <p dir="ltr"> <a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1521143536477000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHWAcUaYUz6rQjNrmDQ4I8w5Fa8Ww" href="" style="color:#1155cc" target="_blank"><img alt="IWF_Stacked.png" class="CToWUd m_-506560436613825002CToWUd" height="29" src="" width="92" /></a></p> </td> <td style="margin: 0px;"> <p dir="ltr"> Caroline Phelps<br /> Senior Manager, Strategic Communications<br /> <a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1521143536477000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHWAcUaYUz6rQjNrmDQ4I8w5Fa8Ww" href="" style="color:#1155cc" target="_blank">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</a><br /> <a href="tel:(703)%20851-7686" style="color:#1155cc" target="_blank" value="+17038517686">703-851-7686</a><br /> <a href="" style="color:#1155cc" target="_blank"></a></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathWed, 14 Mar 2018 15:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStatement: IWF Response to New Tariffs on Foreign Steel and Alumninum <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:18px"><strong>IWF Statement on New Tariffs on Foreign Steel and Alumninum &nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">IMMEDIATE RELEASE:<br /> Thursday, March 8, 2018</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px">WASHINGTON, DC -- Independent Women&#39;s Forum Policy Director Hadley Heath Manning today released&nbsp;the following statement in response to the formal announcement from President Donald Trump that the U.S. will impose new tariffs on steel and alumnium:</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px">&ldquo;President Trump is making a mistake by imposing tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. While we all want to see a stronger American labor market, there are other important consequences of tariffs: These increased costs will be passed along to other industries, costing jobs, and ultimately, to American consumers.<br /> <br /> Free trade makes us all more prosperous. Sadly and ironically, by levying tariffs, President Trump is inviting reciprocal actions from our trade partners that will limit the ability of our domestic industries to sell American products abroad.<br /> <br /> The true path to growth for American industries, including steel and aluminum, involves reducing barriers and burdens on business. The tax reforms and deregulatory actions that President Trump has backed so far are examples of progress in the right direction. To levy heavy tariffs now is to take a step backward and work against our own economic success.</span><span style="font-size: 14px;">&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:14px;">####</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><em>Independent Women&#39;s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren&rsquo;t just well intended, but actually enhance people&rsquo;s freedom, choices, and opportunities.</em></span></p> <p dir="ltr"> &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"> --&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <table> <colgroup> <col width="106" /> <col width="518" /> </colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td> &nbsp; <p dir="ltr"> <a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1517453296073000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGL9wY1er2SP-BvLt1FHg7RYhO7wg" href="" target="_blank"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif"><img alt="IWF_Stacked.png" height="32" src="" width="100" /></font></a></p> </td> <td> <p dir="ltr"> <font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">Caroline Phelps<br /> Communications Consultant</font><br /> <a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1517453296073000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGL9wY1er2SP-BvLt1FHg7RYhO7wg" href="" target="_blank"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</font></a><br /> <a href="" target="_blank"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif"></font></a></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathThu, 8 Mar 2018 15:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSuccess of New Tax Plan will Benefit Republicans at the Polls • Cavuto Live HeathSat, 3 Mar 2018 17:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumChange to Medicare's Donut Hole Looks Good But Only on the Surface<p> Medicare&#39;s Donut Hole is an accident of history, really: It was first put into place in an effort to make the cost projections for Medicare Part D look better for the government. But it has caused continual problems for senior citizens whose drug costs exceed the initial coverage limit but aren&#39;t high enough to be covered via Part D&#39;s &quot;catastrophic coverage.&quot; Those costs fall in the coverage gap, or donut hole, and seniors have to pick up the lion&#39;s share of the cost out of pocket.&nbsp;</p> <p> The Affordable Care Act -- or ObamaCare -- made changes that would have eventually closed the donut hole and kept seniors&#39; cost-sharing consistent (at 25 percent) even when their costs exceeded the initial coverage limit. This would obviously be beneficial for seniors, but it would require drugmakers and insurance companies to pick up additional costs. The original plan in the ACA was to have drugmakers pay for half of the costs in the donut hole, while insurance companies picked up the other 25 percent (leaving 25 percent for seniors).&nbsp;</p> <p> But now, the recently passed Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) is <a href="'s-Coverage-Gap-This-Way">making yet more changes</a> in an effort to save the government money (and to appease the powerful health insurance lobby). Now the donut hole will be closed by forcing drugmakers to pay for 70 percent of costs, while insurance companies cover only 5 percent (this saves the government money because these insurance costs are heavily subsidized).&nbsp;</p> <p> Seniors in Part D -- and other observers -- might think, &quot;What does it matter? The amount seniors pay will stay the same.&quot; Fair question. But there is a good answer. Matt Kandrach of the group Consumers for a Strong Economy wrote about this recently in a piece for <a href="">Morning Consult</a>. Here&#39;s what he had to say:</p> <blockquote> <p> By removing insurers&rsquo; liability, the BBA incentivizes insurance companies to accelerate patient spending in the initial coverage stage &ndash; approving payments where they otherwise may have objected &ndash; so they reach the catastrophic coverage stage more quickly. Under the previous cost-sharing arrangement, all parties had an incentive to minimize costs. By transferring the burden to drug manufacturers, insurers will now have little incentive to negotiate price deals or institute cost saving measures, ultimately driving up the cost of Medicare across the board, further burdening taxpayers.</p> <p> But the implications of this budget deal are much greater than just the price tag. When government gets into the business of health care, it distorts the market, limits competition and increases costs. And that&rsquo;s exactly what the BBA has done. As the financial burden on government expands, the easier it becomes for Washington to justify making critical decisions about quality and rationing of care.</p> <p> Worse yet, the budget deal undermines the risk-based value of plans, meaning some plans may no longer qualify to participate in Part D, further limiting competition and consumer choice. Ultimately, if too few plans qualify, a public option &mdash; a government run plan &mdash; could be triggered in Part D, moving the nation even closer to a single-payer health care system.</p> </blockquote> <p> This explanation is the perfect summary: A move that appears neutral or even beneficial to seniors on the surface could ultimately cause them great harm by reducing the insurance and healthcare options available to them. It will skew incentives, burden taxpayers, and limit competition and choice. Health policy -- <a href="">and especially drug policy </a>-- can be complicated, but it&#39;s critical that lawmakers focus on what&#39;s best for all stakeholders in both the short and long run. The latest changes to Part D fall short.&nbsp;</p> HeathTue, 27 Feb 2018 13:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNo matter what you call it, government-run healthcare will never work<p> The Center for American Progress (CAP) &mdash; a progressive organization, as their name implies &mdash; has produced a new single-payer health plan called&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Medicare Extra for All</a>. Like other government-centric healthcare proposals, this plan rests on the fatal conceit that the government can manage the health care needs and choices of all of its citizens.</p> <p> Single-payer, in any form, ought to be rejected as a bad idea, but today&rsquo;s health policy debate has become so dishonest that many Americans are tempted by it.</p> <p> This latest plan would create a beefed-up version of Medicare (&ldquo;Medicare Extra&rdquo;) and allow all Americans to enroll, paying premiums on a sliding scale from $0 up to 10 percent of income. &nbsp;Premiums would not cover the costs of the plan; the authors want it to be financed by reduced health care costs and increased tax revenue.</p> <p> The cost reduction piece would primarily come from government price controls on the healthcare treatments and services that we all consume. While of course today&rsquo;s bloated, opaque payment pipeline leads to waste and is in need of serious reform, Americans ought to think carefully before allowing Uncle Sam to dictate how much doctors and hospitals are reimbursed for their services. If the government doesn&rsquo;t pay providers enough, the result will be shortages. Who cares if something is free or affordable if it&rsquo;s not available?</p> <p> In spite of the very serious flaws of all single-payer proposals, the popularity of the idea&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">appears to be increasing</a>. One reason for this is a change in terminology: Single-payer supporters use other terms, like &ldquo;Medicare for all&rdquo; or &ldquo;universal coverage&rdquo; to push the idea, moving away from the term &ldquo;socialized medicine,&rdquo; which appropriately calls to mind images of rationing, control, and reduced quality of care. &nbsp;</p> <p> But despite the words they use, the ideas are the same.</p> <p> Tellingly, the new CAP government healthcare plan would essentially eliminate the popular Medicare Advantage program, replacing it with &ldquo;Medicare Choice,&rdquo; which is Orwellian doublespeak. Medicare Choice would be optional, yes, but unlike Medicare Advantage, there would be no choice in plan. It would simply be a government-administered add-on to the &ldquo;Medicare Extra&rdquo; plan.</p> <p> The plan also promises to allow employers to opt into Medicare Extra or continue to sponsor different coverage. The implication is that Medicare Extra would compete alongside private plans as a &ldquo;public option&rdquo; &mdash; at least for some time.</p> <p> Again, the language &mdash; and idea &mdash; of greater choice and competition is bastardized here: With subsidies and other favorable treatment, a public option would unfairly out-compete private options. When private options fold in the face of this, the public option becomes the only option (i.e. the &ldquo;single&rdquo; option, or, with the auto-enrollment feature suggested in the CAP plan, not optional at all).</p> <p> A public option for health insurance was included in one of the drafts of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, but not the version that finally passed (as lawmakers could not even find enough support for it among the Democrat majorities in both houses). But a lot has changed since 2010: The Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare) shifted what is known in public policy as the &ldquo;Overton window&rdquo; or the policy alternatives that are acceptable to the public.</p> <p> For one thing, the ACA legitimated the premise that the federal government should be responsible for the health care &mdash; or at least the health &ldquo;coverage&rdquo; &mdash; of all 300+ million Americans.</p> <p> For another, the ACA did a poor job executing on this premise, and in the process sent a confusing message: it instituted government control over practically all facets of health care, but maintained private insurance companies, leaving in place a mirage of market-based capitalism (to be used as a scapegoat for the law&rsquo;s many failures).</p> <p> But the real reason the ACA has failed is the same reason that any single-payer program would ultimately fail: The government simply doesn&rsquo;t have the capacity to know and make decisions about what&rsquo;s best for millions of individual people. Health care is one of the most personal services we consume, and the choice ought to lie with us, as patients, about whom to see, when, and how to value different services. That&#39;s something that a single-payer system can never deliver &mdash; no matter how cleverly named.</p> HeathTue, 27 Feb 2018 12:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPutting American Workers First: Market Optimism • Coast to Coast HeathMon, 19 Feb 2018 19:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHealth Care Escape Hatches Proliferate Under Bad Law<p> Americans are still trying to escape the Affordable Care Act, but now that President Trump and Congress have failed to repeal it (as they promised&hellip;) the escape hatches are looking more&hellip; creative. More Americans &ndash; doctors, patients, businesses and states &ndash; are taking it upon themselves to find a way out of the ACA&rsquo;s draconian grip.</p> <p> All of these actions of course undermine the ACA system, but they aren&rsquo;t sufficient. Instead, they are all signs that continually point to Americans&rsquo; dissatisfaction with the status quo and the need to once again revisit the issue via legislative reform. In the meantime, let&rsquo;s look at some of the ways Americans are escaping the ACA:</p> <p> <strong>Escape Hatch #1 &ndash; Innovative Payment Models </strong></p> <p> The ACA is an insurance-based system. The goal of the law was to expand insurance coverage via Medicaid and the law&rsquo;s exchanges as the primary method of financing healthcare services. But instead of using ACA-regulated insurance, some doctors and patients are <a href="">adopting new models</a> that allow for more transparency and more freedom. One such model is direct primary care. Another is a &ldquo;health share.&rdquo; Neither of these is the traditional insurance model. And both are much more affordable.</p> <p> <strong>Escape Hatch #2 &ndash; States Leading the Way </strong></p> <p> The Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Idaho have recently <a href="">signed an executive order</a> that will allow insurers to offer non-ACA-compliant plans in the state&rsquo;s exchange. One insurance company has just submitted some plans to the state department of insurance for approval. This could bring broader choices and affordability and demonstrate to the rest of the states in the nation that the federal government&rsquo;s regulations are counterproductive.</p> <p> <strong>Escape Hatch #3 &ndash; Employer/Tech/Industry-led revolution</strong></p> <p> The employer-centric nature of the U.S. health insurance market is really an accident of history, but a few employers &ndash; Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan &ndash; <a href="">recently announced</a> a new experiment aimed to disrupt the current health system. The industry giants aim to use technology, innovation scale to develop a new model for the payment, delivery, and customization of health services. But so far, very little is known about how they aim to do it.</p> <p> All of the above point to a health workforce, a patient population, and an economy that are suffering the consequences of an ill-fitting top-down system under the ACA. It&rsquo;s sad that it has to be this way, but encouraging to see disrupters and problem-solvers continue to apply their best thoughts and efforts to making health care affordable and accessible.</p> <p> Necessity is truly the mother of invention, and the ACA has made it necessary for folks to invent new ways to get out.</p> HeathMon, 19 Feb 2018 16:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF: Don't let government 'help' rising health care costs<p> The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) projects health care spending will rise an average of 5.5 percent annually or one percentage point faster than economic growth, thereby squeezing public insurance programs and private employers who provide coverage.</p> <p> HHS cites an aging population as one driver, along with an increase in health care services and prescription drugs.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;We&#39;ve really done nothing to try to contain the cost of health care,&quot; responds Hadley Heath Manning, director of policy at&nbsp;</span></span><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&nbsp;(IWF).</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> She recalls that the Affordable Care Act was supposedly aimed at reducing health care costs but it did so depending on the health insurance market.</p> <p> &quot;So there are a lot of subsidies in the ACA for health insurance, and there is a Medicaid expansion,&quot; she observes, &quot;but those policy provisions don&#39;t really touch on the actual health care services that people consume and don&#39;t put the right incentives into place to hold prices down.&quot;<br /> <br /> When it comes to prescription drugs, liberals and conservatives agree something needs to be done about the cost but are divided on how to solve the problem.</p> <p> Liberals, for example, want price controls.</p> <p> &quot;The cost of drugs is not something we&#39;re going to solve via price controls,&quot; responds Manning. &quot;Other countries have tried that and instead the result is usually drug shortages and more difficult access to the drugs that people need - a slow-down in innovation. And those foreign price controls actually come back to haunt American customers because we end up paying more because of foreign price controls.&quot;</p> <p> Pointing to the HHS report, Manning says there are very steep increases in the cost of prescription drugs due to the fact that the cost of bringing those drugs to market has increased over past years.</p> <p> &quot;The cost of research and development (R&amp;D) is so high,&quot; she says, &quot;because the cost of FDA trials is so high, and because drugs go through a period where they are patented and there is market exclusivity for the creators of new drugs where there is no market competition.&quot;</p> <p> That allows the initial investors to recoup their up-front costs for research and development, she observes, but those drug prices drop when the patent expires.</p> <p> &quot;So some of this is just inherent to our system that protects intellectual property,&quot; Manning says. &quot; But there is also other things that we can do to make it easier to fast-track the development and testing of new drugs that come to market, because these are obviously innovations we want to see.&quot;</p> HeathFri, 16 Feb 2018 17:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHealthcare freedom and expanding women's choices • The Health Freedom Hub HeathWed, 14 Feb 2018 13:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAmerican Workers Should Expect Largest Pay Increase in Years<p> A survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found U.S. consumers expect to see the fastest wage growth in years.</p> <p> Consumers polled in January anticipated enjoying an average earnings rise of 2.73 percent, which is the largest monthly increase since the Fed starting collecting the data in 2013, according to&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a>.</p> <p> &ldquo;The data jibe with a Feb. 2 Labor Department report which showed that U.S. average hourly earnings rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier in January, marking the fastest pace of the expansion,&rdquo; the news outlet explained.</p> <div> <p> Wages have been the last measure to see improvement since the end of the Great Recession,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">CNN Money</a>reported.</p> <p> The Federal Reserve poll also found 39 percent of consumers felt their personal finances were better than a year ago, and 46 percent believe they will be better in a year than they are now. Both statistics represent a high mark since the Fed began gathering the information.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s too early to call this a trend but the breakout (in wage growth) is very welcome news,&rdquo; said Robert Frick, chief economist at Navy Federal. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a very big deal, let&rsquo;s hope it continues.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;There is no question that employers are now having to be more aggressive to compete for workers,&rdquo; added Peter Harrison, CEO of Snagajob, a jobs platform focused on hourly work.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Hadley Heath Manning, policy director for the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, told The Western Journal that rising wages are having a real impact on American families.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;These pay increases are long overdue after years of stagnant wage growth,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s easy to focus on economic indicators at the national level, but around the kitchen table these raises mean real changes for American families: new clothes or school supplies, a household repair, a vacation or additional savings for education or retirement.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s no secret why wages are finally rising: Tax cuts and deregulation are allowing businesses to share greater success with their workers,&rdquo; Manning added.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that over 4 million Americans have received bonuses and/or pay raises as a result of the tax reform bill passed in December.</p> <div> <div data-scribe="component:author" style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span data-scribe="element:name" title="Donald J. Trump"><a aria-label="Donald J. Trump (screen name: realDonaldTrump)" data-scribe="element:user_link" href="">Donald J. Trump</a>&nbsp;</span><a aria-label="Donald J. Trump (screen name: realDonaldTrump)" data-scribe="element:user_link" href=""><span data-scribe="element:screen_name" dir="ltr" title="@realDonaldTrump">@realDonaldTrump</span></a></div> </div> <div data-scribe="component:tweet"> <div style="margin-left: 40px;"> &nbsp;</div> <div style="margin-left: 40px;"> 4.2 million hard working Americans have already received a large Bonus and/or Pay Increase because of our recently Passed Tax Cut &amp; Jobs Bill....and it will only get better! We are far ahead of schedule.</div> </div> <p> House Speaker Paul Ryan also touted the impact of new tax law on Wednesday, saying it is responsible for helping create a very pro-business growth and pro-worker climate.</p> <p> &ldquo;In less than eight weeks, we have tracked nearly 350 companies that have handed out bonuses as a result of tax reform,&rdquo; he&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">told</a>&nbsp;reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday. &ldquo;Every day we hear more about this, and we know that there are plenty of other small businesses who are doing the same, that are doing it under the radar.&rdquo;</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span data-scribe="element:name" title="Paul Ryan"><a aria-label="Paul Ryan (screen name: SpeakerRyan)" data-scribe="element:user_link" href="">Paul Ryan</a></span><a aria-label="Paul Ryan (screen name: SpeakerRyan)" data-scribe="element:user_link" href=""><span data-scribe="element:screen_name" dir="ltr" title="@SpeakerRyan">@SpeakerRyan</span></a></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span data-scribe="element:screen_name" dir="ltr" title="@SpeakerRyan">Bonuses. Long-overdue raises. Better benefits. More take-home pay. This is just the beginning of how </span>#TaxReform is already working to improve the lives of hardworking Americans.</p> <p> The speaker said by the end of the month, 90 percent of American workers will see higher take-home pay as a result of tax reform.</p> <p> &ldquo;This momentum is generating more confidence in our economy,&rdquo; Ryan stated. &ldquo;According to a new survey, a record number of small business owners say that now is a good time to expand.&rdquo;</p> <p> <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a>&nbsp;reported on Tuesday, &ldquo;Six of the 10 components that make up the small-business optimism index increased in January, producing one of the strongest readings in the 45-year history of the survey.&rdquo;</p> <p> National Federation of Independent Business chief economist William Dunkelberg and policy analyst Holly Wade credit the tax law with producing the &ldquo;most recent boost to small-business optimism.&rdquo;</p> </div> <div id="Top-ad"> &nbsp;</div> HeathWed, 14 Feb 2018 12:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy not turn to Social Security for paid family leave?<p> Several pundits noted that, when President Trump mentioned paid family leave at the State of the Union address, Vice President Pence and House Speaker Ryan did not stand or applaud. That&rsquo;s likely because most plans to expand paid leave propose mandates on employers or new entitlements.</p> <p> Republicans generally oppose these policies: They limit workers&rsquo; opportunities, especially women, and add new costs for employers or taxpayers.</p> <p> This has resulted in a stalemate for the politics of paid family leave.</p> <p> But President Trump is an unusual Republican in many ways. Likely due to Ivanka&rsquo;s influence, he&rsquo;s willing to address paid family leave. However, if he (and other Americans) want to break through the political stalemate, we have to find a solution with bipartisan appeal.</p> <p> Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, a nonpartisan policy organization (where I work) highlights such a solution in a&nbsp;<a href="">recent paper</a>. The proposal is budget-neutral, gender-neutral, and completely voluntary. It requires no new taxes and depends strongly on the principle of personal responsibility. It works within the framework of existing programs and laws. And it would provide (partial) pay replacement for eligible workers for up to 12 weeks after the birth of a new child. Sound intriguing?</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s how: Workers could opt to take Social Security &ldquo;parental benefits,&rdquo; calculated using the disability formula, after the birth of a new child in exchange for one day delaying their Social Security retirement benefits.</p> <p> The proposal would provide partial income replacement, similar to what social programs provide in Canada and the U.K. Due to our progressive disability formula, low-wage U.S. workers could receive as much as 90 percent of their normal pay.</p> <p> Workers covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act are already guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid time off from work; this plan would help many families, especially those living paycheck to paycheck, afford to get by during a crazy, stressful, but (we hope) wonderful time in life.</p> <p> Eligible workers would have to have worked for at least four quarters total, including two of the last four quarters preceding a leave, so as to limit parental benefits to only those who&rsquo;ve paid into Social Security, who are in the workforce currently, and who are likely to earn retirement benefits (40 quarters required).</p> <p> Granted, many Americans are rightly concerned about the solvency of Social Security as it is. Broader reforms are needed to address the program&rsquo;s bottom line. Any reform to Social Security should honor the original idea that money paid in belongs to workers. This paid-leave plan, although not intended to save Social Security from its bigger problems, would at least honor this principle of ownership: It would offer workers another way to get some of their hard-earned, payroll-taxed dollars back.</p> <p> Admittedly, there&rsquo;s no perfect paid family policy. But this plan avoids many of the biggest downsides of other proposals. A new entitlement for paid leave, as Democrats have proposed, would increase payroll taxes and could displace current private arrangements for paid leave or flexible work. Paid-leave mandates on employers raise the cost of (read: discourage) hiring workers, especially women of childbearing age.</p> <p> In fact, liberal policies like these in other countries are associated with wider gender wage gaps,&nbsp;<a href="">according to research from Pew</a>.</p> <p> Coloradans are politically diverse, a microcosm of the country in a way. This proposal should appeal to Denver liberals as well as some family-values conservatives in Colorado Springs, because it promotes paid family leave.</p> <p> But it should also appeal to Coloradans &mdash; and all Americans &mdash; of the &ldquo;live and let live&rdquo; variety: No one is asked to bear responsibility for another person&rsquo;s choices or leave.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s the working parent who decides to make a trade-off that affects him or her alone. And the benefits would appeal most to those who currently lack paid family leave.</p> <p> In short, in contrast to other paid leave proposals, this plan could give members of both parties a reason to stand and cheer.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> HeathFri, 9 Feb 2018 14:02:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum