GAO Reports on Medicare's Expensive Prescription Drug Spending

Submitted by jgordon on Mon, 01/29/2018 - 14:41

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights how current law can boost the costs of certain expensive drugs through Medicare.

The report focuses on the pricing of Medicare Part B drugs, which are usually administered under a doctor’s supervision. In 2015 Medicare spent $26 billion on Part B drugs.

In Memory of Ed Lorenzen

Submitted by jgordon on Mon, 01/29/2018 - 11:03

Fiscal responsibility lost a great champion on Friday with the tragic death of Ed Lorenzen and his youngest son.

At The Concord Coalition we lost a valued colleague and cherished friend.

Our hearts go out to Ed’s family, including his two surviving children, and to our friends at the Committee For a Responsible Federal Budget where Ed worked for the past several years.

The deep sense of loss we all feel with Ed’s passing can only be mitigated, in part, by the gratitude we feel for having known him.

The High Cost of Stop-Gap Budget Measures

Submitted by swinn on Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:55

No sooner had Congress approved its fourth budget stop-gap measure in four months than lawmakers began talking about the need for a fifth one in February.

On Wednesday the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, Majority Whip John Cornyn, raised the possibility that “we may be talking about March” before lawmakers can reach an agreement on spending caps and a final catch-all spending bill for the current fiscal year.

Government To Reopen But With Irresponsible Tax Cuts

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 01/22/2018 - 15:14

WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition expressed frustration today over Washington’s need for repeated short-term stop-gap funding measures and the inclusion of policies in them that will further increase the deficit.

The Debate Over Earmarks

Submitted by swinn on Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:39

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating whether to revive the practice of earmarks after President Trump expressed support for reversing a ban that has been in place since 2011. The ban was originally touted as a way to crack down on wasteful spending and reduce budget deficits. But earmarks’ impact on the country’s long-term fiscal health has always been quite limited.

On Health Care Costs: One Small Step Forward, One Big Step Back

Submitted by jgordon on Tue, 01/16/2018 - 13:54

Last week brought consequential developments on the road to health care cost control.

On the positive side, the Trump administration unveiled a new payment reform model while the nominee for Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary indicated a willingness to reverse course and allow a key type of cost-control experimentation.

Rising Concern Over IRS Funding After Years of Cuts

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:01

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson warns that budget cuts in recent years have significantly reduced the ability of the IRS to explain and enforce the tax code, a situation likely to result in greater confusion over the tax overhaul that Congress approved last month.

Worrisome Spending Estimates on Trump Defense Plans

Submitted by swinn on Mon, 01/08/2018 - 00:20

During the 2016 presidential election and his first year in the White House, President Trump often promised to significantly increase military spending. He sounded that theme again last month in releasing his National Security Strategy, saying “historic investments” were required to protect the country and advance its global influence.

As is often the case with big political promises, however, a fundamental question has been neglected: How will it all be paid for?

Washington Must Focus on Fiscal Sustainability This Year

Submitted by swinn on Tue, 01/02/2018 - 09:22

Elected officials in Washington know that the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, with the debt projected to rise rapidly over the next 10 years and beyond.

That would be true even in the unlikely event that the tax cuts approved last month were to stimulate the economy as much as Republican congressional leaders and President Trump have promised. Most economists, however, doubt the tax cuts will do so.