Regulatory Action Center Review – March 8, 2019

Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s fifth 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: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a rule to enact rebate reform to help lower drug prices for patients and caregivers. This video is a good explainer on the role pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) play in the healthcare space, and how the rebates they get from drug companies cost you money at the pharmacy counter.

2) FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb Resigns: “‘The FDA is a stand out agency, across the administration, that’s moving in the completely wrong direction,’ said Paul Blair of Americans for Tax Reform, which led a coalition of conservative groups seeking to block the changes. Blair, in an interview before Gottlieb’s resignation, said the commissioner’s approach to regulation is inconsistent with the president’s agenda.”

3) Andrew Wheeler, Who Continued Environmental Rollbacks, Is Confirmed to Lead EPA: “Republicans said they have been delighted to discover Mr. Wheeler is as enthusiastic about repealing environmental regulations and promoting coal as Mr. Pruitt was, and are looking to him to cement Mr. Trump’s legacy as a warrior against what they see as regulatory overreach.”

4) Nationalizing 5G Is Not the Way to Beat China: “Reports surfaced last week that advisers to the administration are calling for the U.S. to embrace China-style nationalization as our path to 5G. That’s like looking to Cuba as inspiration for reforming the U.S. health-care system. The U.S. won the race to 4G and secured billions of dollars in growth for the U.S. economy by relying on America’s exceptional free-market values. We must double down on that winning playbook instead of copying China’s, and that is what we at the Federal Communications Commission have been doing for the past two years.”

5) Trump Speaks Against Socialism – His Drug Price Control Plan Says Otherwise: “Many seniors, numerous patient advocacy groups, and most free market economists and health policy experts strongly oppose the proposal, which would deprive American patients of lifesaving medications and stifle medical innovation. President Trump should tell his officials to stand down. HHS’s plan affects Medicare Part B, which covers medications that doctors typically administer in their offices or hospitals. Part B currently pays more for those drugs than other developed countries such as the United Kingdom, France, and Canada. Those nations use price controls to cap the cost of prescription drugs. If a pharmaceutical company refuses to accept the government-imposed prices, those countries’ socialized health systems simply refuse to cover the company’s product.”

6) Court Rejects Antitrust Lawsuit Against AT&T/Time Warner Deal: “Consumers already have myriad choices for viewing content, a fact overlooked by the government’s myopic view of the DIRECTV market. There are competitors to satellite television, like Internet service that supports streaming services Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube and portable devices like smart phones and tablets. This rapid innovation is a perfect example of market forces moving too quickly for antitrust regulators. Hopefully, this merger decision sends a signal to Washington regulators to exercise restraint and let businesses innovate, serve consumers, and generate wealth.”

7) Elizabeth Warren’s Proposes Breaking Up Big Tech Giants, Including Amazon and Facebook: “‘The Warren campaign’s call to breakup big tech companies reflects a ‘big is bad, small is beautiful’ ideology run amok,’ Rob Atkinson [ITIF President] said in a statement obtained by Fox News. ‘The proposal ignores the fact that many of the services big tech companies now provide free used to cost consumers money. Breaking up large Internet companies just because they are large won’t help consumers. It will hurt them by reducing convenience, reducing quality of service and innovation, and in some cases leading to the introduction of priced services.’”

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