Regulatory Action Center Review – January 23, 2019

Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s second regulatory review of 2019! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in two weeks for the next edition.

1) Video of the Week: In this video, economist Milton Friedman discusses the harm that government regulations can have on a free society, using the Food and Drug Administration as his primary example. He argues the FDA has caused more death in the United States with its late approvals and restrictive rules than it has through premature approvals of certain products.

2) End of Net Neutrality Brings Booming Broadband Growth: “A recent report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows that the removal of Title II regulations — or net neutrality — in 2017 helped boost the growth of broadband and close the digital divide. In what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called ‘a stunning drop,’ the number of Americans lacking access to fixed terrestrial broadband service of 100 megabits per second download and 10 Mbps upload plummeted 56 percent — from 78.9 million to 34.8 million.”

3) The Public Health Case for E-Cigarette Flavors: “Evidence suggests flavored e-cigarettes are not especially appealing to non-smoking adults or adolescents, yet are appealing to smoking adults, potentially helping them switch to less-harmful vaping. A tobacco product standard that prohibits the vast majority of e-cigarette flavors will not just degrade the value proposition of these products, it will stifle further innovation in the market for reduced-risk nicotine products.”

4) FDA Chief Considers Ban of All Flavored E-Cigarettes: “Last year, the FDA said it wanted to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes and urge smokers to switch to less harmful products, like e-cigarettes. The agency encouraged companies to introduce such alternatives… The announcement marks an about-face for the agency, which in 2016 granted a grace period for e-cigarettes already on the market until the manufacturers submitted products for FDA review. Last year, Dr. Gottlieb extended that grace period to 2022, allowing Juul Labs Inc. and others to continue to sell their existing products.”

5) The FDA Thinks You’re Too Stupid To Know That Almonds Don’t Really Make Milk: “And let’s be honest: the only beneficiaries of this policy would be “Big Dairy,” which has been pressuring FDA officials on this since October 2017. Large cow milk companies know that forcing their competitors to market ‘nut juice’ or ‘soy-based non-dairy product’ creates a challenge for them, especially because consumers have grown used to seeing almond and soy milk at the supermarket.”

6) Specialists Fear IPI Drug Pricing Model Could Harm Patient Access: “A healthcare industry group representing more than 7,700 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals recently warned the Trump Administration that its proposed International Pricing Index (IPI) drug pricing model for Medicare Part B could hinder patient access to care.”

7) Supreme Court Likely to End Judicial Deference to Agency Rule Interpretation: “Four current justices have already expressed doubts about the wisdom of Auer: the Chief Justice and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Brett Kavanaugh has not addressed the propriety of Auer deference, but his writings indicate he would share their doubts. Thus, the Supreme Court’s decision to grant review strongly suggests that the court is prepared to overrule the doctrine, or at least to restrict it significantly. Furthermore, if the court overturns Auer on separation of powers grounds, then it becomes likely that Chevron will suffer the same fate. That would revolutionize administrative law after more than a generation under the regime of Chevron deference.”

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