In this paper I explain how the Department of Health and Human Services has taken on a powerful coordinating role in the provision of health care as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This paper analyzes the unfurling of that act using the Bootlegger–Baptist model of political economy. By tracing the development of the law and its effect on how health care is delivered, the analysis shows that economic interests became coordinated through the efforts of the White House and the central “televangelist” agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. This development will inevitably result in bureaucratic decisions replacing individuals’ choices as the agency takes on an increasingly active and interventionist role in how health care is provided.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that differences in these rules can have significant effects on policy. The study finds that states with separate taxing and spending committees spend less per capita than other states. Voters concerned about the growth of government may want to take a closer look at this phenomenon.
We explain that the medical-vocational grid guidelines that are used to determine whether someone is disabled are an important part of the explanation for increased disability awards. The grid applies much looser standards for applicants as young as 45 and 50. We propose that age be eliminated as a deciding criterion, as well as language ability and education level. We also note that the guideline’s list of impairments is outdated and needs to reflect a modern workforce that has access to remedying medical technologies.
This paper argues that health advocates are too quick to blame consumers for the ineffectiveness of information disclosure policies. Using the NFP as an example, the paper shows that information disclosures are often poorly designed and fail to actually inform consumers. They often fail to account for how consumers perceive and interpret information or for the differences in their socioeconomic backgrounds. Thus, it may not be consumers’ behavioral biases but rather poor policy design and implementation that is responsible for the NFP’s ineffectiveness. Consequently, the paper argues that nutrition labels should follow smart disclosure principles, which emphasize information salience and usability.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the first to rigorously assess the details of the proposed regulation using empirical methodology widely accepted in the financial industry and comparing the proposed illustration to the Social Security statement. The regulation would require all defined contribution plans to inform their participants of the life annuity income equivalents of the current and projected balances in their individual accounts. The study examines several changes the Department of Labor can make to improve its proposal.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the first to examine whether public pensions that are funded at various levels will have sufficient assets to pay all promised future benefits. The study also looks at the distribution of the potential accumulation of assets for pensions that do have sufficient assets. Examining PSERS and SERS using financial modeling over a period of years, the study presents two conclusions applicable to all public pensions.
In a new study based on empirical research for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, agricultural economist Jayson L. Lusk concludes that the reduction or elimination of subsidized crop insurance, SNAP, and ethanol production mandates would reduce food prices for many consumers, benefit food producers who are not heavily subsidized by the government, and provide an overall economic benefit to taxpayers across the United States by potentially decreasing taxes.
In an article to be published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy in conjunction with
the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, legal scholar Timothy Sandefur explores the
history, theory, and operation of CPCN laws, also known as “Competitor Veto” laws, focusing on
evidence uncovered as part of litigation challenging such laws in Missouri and Kentucky. The
article concludes that because these laws are designed to protect incumbent businesses, there
must be reforms on the federal level to abolish them. Several possible reforms are considered,
along with objections.
This paper focuses on disability insurance but makes the case for considering reforms in tandem—that is, (1) developing disability program reforms that accommodate plausible retirement program reforms while properly aligning incentives to support work and savings and (2) providing a financially secure, vital safety net for disabled Americans.
This book demonstrates unmistakably that the growth of government stymies entrepreneurship and threatens prosperity—a demonstration that, it is hoped, will help inspire efforts not just to slow, but to reverse, this growth and return to prosperity.