U.S. Farm Commodity Support: An Overview of Selected Programs

U.S. Farm Commodity Support: An Overview of Selected Programs.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Sahar Angadjivand.  April 17, 2018

 Federal efforts to bolster farm household incomes and the rural economy by providing support to producers of key crops has been a central pillar of U.S. farm policy since such programs were first introduced in the 1930s. Current farm support programs are counter-cyclical in design—that is payments are triggered when the annual market price for an eligible crop drops below a statutory minimum or when revenue is below a guaranteed level.

 [PDF format, 22 pages].

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U.S. International Relations Scholars, Global Citizens Differ Sharply On Views Of Threats To Their Country

U.S. International Relations Scholars, Global Citizens Differ Sharply On Views Of Threats To Their Country. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter. May 8, 2018.

 U.S. foreign policy scholars are more concerned about climate change – and less worried about ISIS and refugees – than both average Americans and general publics abroad.

The international relations scholars in question shared their views via a survey conducted by the Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project. The questions posed to these U.S. academics were mirrored in a 2017 Pew Research Center survey of publics in 37 countries, plus the United States. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Lisa N. Sacco, Johnathan H. Duff, Amanda K. Sarata. May 24, 2018

 In the midst of national concern over the opioid epidemic, federal and state officials are paying greater attention to the manner in which opioids are prescribed. Nearly all prescription drugs involved in overdoses are originally prescribed by a physician (rather than, for example, being stolen from pharmacies). Thus, attention has been directed toward better understanding how opioids are being prescribed and preventing the diversion of prescription drugs after the prescriptions are dispensed. Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) maintain statewide electronic databases of prescriptions dispensed for controlled substances (i.e., prescription drugs with a potential for abuse that are subject to stricter government regulation). Information collected by PDMPs may be used to educate and inform prescribers, pharmacists, and the public; identify or prevent drug abuse and diversion; facilitate the identification of prescription drug-addicted individuals and enable intervention and treatment; outline drug use and abuse trends to inform public health initiatives; or educate individuals about prescription drug use, abuse, diversion, and PDMPs themselves. 

 [PDF format, 34 pages].

Frequently Asked Questions About Prescription Drug Pricing and Policy

Frequently Asked Questions About Prescription Drug Pricing and Policy. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Suzanne M. Kirchhoff, Judith A. Johnson,  Susan Thaul. April 24, 2018

 Prescription drugs play an important role in the U.S. health care system. Innovative, breakthrough drugs are providing cures for diseases such as hepatitis C and helping individuals with chronic conditions lead fuller lives. Studies show that prescription drug therapy can produce health care savings by reducing the number of hospitalizations and other costly medical procedures. Congress and presidential administrations have attempted to ensure that Americans have access to pharmaceuticals by enacting the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit as part of the Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act of 2003 (MMA; P.L. 108-173) and expanding drug coverage under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended). Congress also has enacted laws to encourage manufacturing of lower-cost generic drugs, as well as cutting-edge biologics and biosimilars.

 [PDF format, 38 pages].

The Road to Zero: A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050

The Road to Zero: A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050. RAND Corporation.  Liisa Ecola et al. April 19, 2018.

 Imagine that, in 2050, not a single person in the United States dies in a traffic crash. This is the scenario described in this report, in which RAND researchers set forth a vision and strategy for achieving zero roadway deaths by 2050.

The authors propose that a combination of three approaches can realize this scenario. The first is doubling down on programs and policies that have already been shown to be effective, including laws and enforcement, changes to roadway infrastructure designed to reduce traffic conflicts, reductions in speeds where crashes are likely, improvements to emergency response and trauma care, and more safety education and outreach. The second is accelerating advanced technology, beginning with advanced driver assistance systems (many of which are already in the market) and progressing up to fully automated vehicles. The third is prioritizing safety, which includes both (1) embracing a new safety culture that will lead Americans to think differently about our individual and collective choices and (2) widespread adoption of the “Safe System” approach, a paradigm shift in addressing the causes and prevention of roadway deaths and injuries.

The authors conclude with a list of actions that key stakeholders — including professional engineering and planning organizations, public-sector organizations, safety advocates, vehicle manufacturers, technology developers, public health, emergency medical and trauma care organizations, and law enforcement and judicial system representatives — can take to bring about the changes needed to achieve zero roadway deaths by 2050. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Conference Report: Maintaining Momentum and Creating Lasting Change

Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Conference Report: Maintaining Momentum and Creating Lasting Change. Migration Policy Institute. Liam Patuzzi and Alexandra Embirico. May 2018.

 Fostering the social and economic inclusion of refugees has long been the domain of governments and NGOs. In the wake of the 2015–16 European migration and refugee crisis, however, new actors have emerged and taken on important roles in integrating newcomers. This report describes key discussions and takeaways from an MPI Europe conference on these developments. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 22 pages].

The Healthy America Program: Building on the Best of Medicare and the Affordable Care Act

The Healthy America Program: Building on the Best of Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. Urban Institute. Linda J. Blumberg, John Holahan, Stephen Zuckerman. May 14, 2018

 Since efforts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have failed, and bipartisan attempts to improve the law have stalled, some policymakers are now looking beyond incremental fixes. In this paper, Urban Institute researchers present a set of policy ideas that would provide universal access to comprehensive coverage but would also allow people to keep their employer-sponsored coverage, would offer a range of insurer options and ensure broad pooling of health care risk, would not have an employer mandate, would provide income-related federal assistance, and would create a more flexible individual incentive to remain insured than that under the ACA. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 24 pages].