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Analysis: Why the Affordable Care Act Is Such a Hot Topic

Analysis: Why the Affordable Care Act Is Such a Hot Topic

The Affordable Care Act keeps coming up during the opening day of the Barrett hearings because the Supreme Court will hear a case Nov. 10 that potentially could put parts—or all—of the Obama-era health care law in jeopardy.

The Supreme Court previously preserved the ACA in decisions in 2012 and in 2015, so how is this an issue again? A group of Republican-led states found a new tactic for challenging the law after Congress in the 2017 tax overhaul law reduced to $0 the penalty for the ACA mandate that most people carry health insurance.

Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 said the penalty for going without health insurance could be construed as a tax that Congress had the constitutional authority to levy. Now, without any financial penalty, the mandate can no longer be upheld as a constitutional exercise of Congress’s taxing power, the GOP states have argued.

A federal appeals court agreed with the argument last year and invalidated the insurance mandate, but it didn’t decide whether the rest of the sprawling health law could remain in place.

The Trump administration is no longer defending the law in court and is supporting the Republican challengers instead. A group of Democratic states has intervened to defend the health law in court.

If the Supreme Court were to throw out the entire law, it could create considerable upheaval in the health care system, though many court watchers believe that such a sweeping outcome isn’t likely. And a ruling that just strikes down the insurance mandate may not have much practical effect, given that there are no longer any financial penalties for forgoing coverage.

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Staggers Rail Act deregulation has enabled rail industry to thrive even during times of national crisis: Analysis

Staggers Rail Act deregulation has enabled rail industry to thrive even during times of national crisis: Analysis

October 14, 2020, marks the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Staggers Rail Act signed by former President Jimmy Carter. The bipartisan legislation primarily deregulated the freight rail sector, which was on the brink of collapse in the 1970s.



a group of people sitting at a train station


© Provided by Washington Examiner


The rail industry’s success after 40 years of rail deregulation provides “an important case study on matters related to competition, markets, rate regulation and capitalism writ large,” the Association of American Railroads argues.

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The Staggers Rail Act eliminated many of the regulations still in place since 1887, when Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act. The act established the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to regulate monopolies controlling the railroads.

By the 1970s, the regulations had not changed. Combined with competition from other transportation sectors, major railroads were facing bankruptcy, the industry was facing ruin and rail infrastructure was so deficient that cars were falling off the tracks.

Deregulation enabled the rail industry to take a customer-focused and market-based approach. Since then, freight railroads have invested more than $710 billion of their own dollars back into the national rail network.

Since 1980, rail traffic has doubled but, because of deregulation, rail rates are down by more than 40 percent when adjusted for inflation. Customers can ship double the amount of goods for roughly the same price they could 40 years ago. And because of technological advancement, increased volume of heavy freight has been carried on rail lines instead of on congested or failing public roads making transportation safer.

“The freight rail industry is one of the most cost-effective and efficient transportation networks in the world,” the Association of American Railroads (AAR) argues. “Fueled by billions of dollars in annual private investment – $25 billion on average – railroads maintain and modernize the nation’s nearly

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Act now to prevent a tragic economic ending

Act now to prevent a tragic economic ending

The writer is a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School

The coronavirus crisis is a tragedy in three acts. Act one was the unprecedented economic contraction as the world shut down from March into May. Act two, the rapid rebound as countries began to reopen from late May through July. Now we are in act three, a long, hard slog to get the world’s economies back to where they were when the year began.

Gains from the rebound have clearly slowed. After adding 4.8m jobs in June, American employers brought fewer workers back in every subsequent month. Citing tax data, the UK’s Office for National Statistics says the number of employees on company payrolls was about 695,000 fewer in August than March, and 36,000 lower than in July. Eurozone unemployment increased in August as the number of people out of work rose by 251,000 to 13.2m.

The International Labour Organization estimates the world will lose working hours equivalent to 245m full-time jobs in the final quarter of this year. Many small businesses closed during the shutdown; many more have found after reopening that they are no longer viable. Even multinational corporations, including Disney, Royal Dutch Shell, Continental, Allstate and Raytheon, are announcing staff cuts.

Few sectors are suffering more than air travel. The International Air Transport Association, which represents 290 carriers globally, says it doesn’t see passenger traffic recovering until at least 2024. Global airlines, including Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific, have cut more than 400,000 jobs already. American Airlines and United Airlines began furloughing tens of thousands more as government aid expired this month.

As companies restructure or finally go under, temporary lay-offs have fallen and permanent unemployment has risen. Nearly 80 per cent of US job losses were classified as temporary in April, and 8.5 per cent as permanent.

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Analysis: NFL’s juggling act probably has just begun

Analysis: NFL’s juggling act probably has just begun

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, left, greets Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio prior to an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Denver.

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, left, greets Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio prior to an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Denver.

AP

If fans are feeling dizzy, their heads spinning like they were jonesing on Lamar Jackson/Patrick Mahomes highlight videos, it’s understandable.

All of the schedule juggling the NFL is doing feels like a Tilt-A-Whirl gone mad. Even worse, it’s almost certainly not over.

Super Bowl in springtime? Not out of the realm of possibility.

The COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee, followed by a mini-outbreak in New England, has forced all sorts of machinations. No team’s schedule through late November has been more disrupted than the Chargers — and they haven’t had a coronavirus positive.

Sure, the Titans seem to have some rescheduling done daily by the league, and the Patriots don’t know when they are able to practice at their facility or must go totally virtual. Yet when the NFL on Sunday shuffled the schedule cards, it was the Chargers who came up with deuces.

Get this: The Chargers had four games and their bye impacted. Not only will fans have to check whose playing in the upcoming weeks, so will the players.

As if that’s not enough upheaval, consider that we are in Week 5. That means 12 more weeks on the schedule, ending on Jan. 3. Except that getting in all of the games by then likely is a pipe dream in a collision sport with so many participants per team. Not to mention dozens of organizational members who work at team facilities.

After several of his players turned to social media to complain about the uncertainty, Broncos coach Vic Fangio said he understood his players’ feelings.

“But my message to them and to anybody is we were inconvenienced by this,

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NFL’s juggling act probably has just begun

NFL’s juggling act probably has just begun

If fans are feeling dizzy, their heads spinning like they were jonesing on Lamar Jackson/Patrick Mahomes highlight videos, it’s understandable.

All of the schedule juggling the NFL is doing feels like a Tilt-A-Whirl gone mad. Even worse, it’s almost certainly not over.

Super Bowl in springtime? Not out of the realm of possibility.

The COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee, followed by a mini-outbreak in New England, has forced all sorts of machinations. No team’s schedule through late November has been more disrupted than the Chargers — and they haven’t had a coronavirus positive.

Sure, the Titans seem to have some rescheduling done daily by the league, and the Patriots don’t know when they are able to practice at their facility or must go totally virtual. Yet when the NFL on Sunday shuffled the schedule cards, it was the Chargers who came up with deuces.

Get this: The Chargers had four games and their bye impacted. Not only will fans have to check whose playing in the upcoming weeks, so will the players.

As if that’s not enough upheaval, consider that we are in Week 5. That means 12 more weeks on the schedule, ending on Jan. 3. Except that getting in all of the games by then likely is a pipe dream in a collision sport with so many participants per team. Not to mention dozens of organizational members who work at team facilities.

After several of his players turned to social media to complain about the uncertainty, Broncos coach Vic Fangio said he understood his players’ feelings.

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