The Leaflet: Heartland Promotes Energy and Health Care Freedom at CPAC

Published February 22, 2018

The American Conservative Union is holding its annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week in National Harbor, MD. This highly anticipated event is widely attended by thousands of grassroots activists, young folks, and top conservatives and libertarians from across the country.

Book signings, special receptions, career consultations, and breakout sessions fill the CPAC 2018 agenda, which spans three days. The Heartland Institute is proud to be on the agenda, with two breakout sessions:

1.      Trump’s America First Energy Plan: Thursday, February 22

2.      Reforming FDA: Friday, February 23, 4–6 p.m.

The first session discussed the promises of the Trump administration to embrace and facilitate the production of affordable and plentiful fossil-fuel energies, such as oil and natural gas. The hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” revolution of the past decade has greatly contributed to the economic growth of many communities, lowered household energy bills, and reduced the cost of consumer products. Another important but often ignored effect of fracking is that it has helped immensely in contributing to the nation’s decline of greenhouse-gas emissions.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft of its Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks report, which is released annually and submitted to the United Nations under the terms of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Researchers from various organizations collaborated on the report.

“It revealed total gross greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions in the United States decreased by 2 percent between 2015 and 2016,” wrote Policy Analyst Tim Benson in a recent Research & Commentary. “In 2007, GHG emissions were 15.6 percent above 1990 levels, which is the GHGI baseline. Now, GHG emissions are just 2.6 percent above 1990 levels, 11.6 percent below 2005 levels.”

The second breakout session will discuss Heartland’s efforts to reform the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for experimental drugs. Currently, new drugs and treatments that could potentially save patients’ lives are held up in a lengthy, burdensome, and unnecessary approval system.

Fortunately, right-to-try (RTT) legislation has been catching on. Thirty-seven states have passed RTT laws that allow doctors to prescribe not-yet-approved drugs to patients who have a high risk of dying. Previously, there have been attempts to pass a federal right-to-try bill that would dramatically streamline the FDA drug-approval process, but no legislation has yet to be passed.

In his 2018 State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump specifically mentioned the responsibility Congress has to pass RTT legislation. “It’s time for Congress to give these wonderful Americans the Right To Try,” declared Trump.

In a recent Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans wrote about the advantage a national RTT law has over state-level right to try: “Passing a right-to-try bill at the national level addresses one key weakness in state laws: State right-to-try legislation has always faced barriers put in place by current federal drug-approval laws and regulations. The FDA was given jurisdiction over the drug-approval process by Congress, and current FDA regulations make using experimental drugs very difficult. A national right-to-try law would set a new baseline for states, allowing for experimental drugs to be requested and used by patients. States would then be permitted to expand upon existing law as they see fit,” explained Glans.

State legislators can do their part to ensure Americans have access to reliable, cheap energy and life-saving experimental medicines. On the energy front, solutions include rolling back unnecessary regulations on fracking and other energy sectors and repealing renewable power mandates. To reform health care, Congress and states should pass strong RTT bills and reevaluate outdated and excessive regulations as a good first step.


What We’re Working On

Budget & Tax
Idaho Considers Limiting Its Occupational Licensing Laws
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines a new effort in Idaho to eliminate unnecessary mandates that block the creation of new jobs and businesses. “Like all states, Idaho needs to create more jobs for its citizens. Loosening its tight occupational licensing laws is a good step toward opening up additional industries for expansion and empowering entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, the ultimate engine for economic growth,” wrote Glans.

Health Care
Dental Therapists Can Fill Kansas’ Dental Gaps
In this Research & Commentary, Government Relations Manager Charles Katebi examines dental therapy and a proposal in Kansas that would expand access to dental care for rural patients. “Dental therapists have proven to be safe and affordable providers of oral health care treatments in America and abroad. Lawmakers in the Sunflower State should free these qualified professionals to treat all Kansans, especially those who are most vulnerable,” wrote Katebi.

Hawaii Should Move Forward on Tax-Credit Scholarships for Low-Income and Special-Needs Students
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson writes about a proposal in Hawaii that would establish a tax-credit scholarship program for students with disabilities, students in foster care, and students whose family income is less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level. Under the proposed program, nonprofit organizations, after receiving approval from the state, would be eligible to grant scholarships to Hawaii students. Individuals and businesses would then donate to these nonprofits and receive a tax credit amounting to 100 percent of their contribution. The bill was originally introduced in 2017 and has been carried over to the 2018 legislative session.

Energy & Environment
Study Shows Premature Retirement of Coal Plants May Pose Threat to Affordability, Reliability of U.S. Energy Supply
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson summarizes a new Heartland Institute Policy Study by Research Fellow Isaac Orr and Senior Fellow Frederick D. Palmer, which argues the premature retirement of coal-fired power plants may pose a threat to the affordability and reliability of the U.S. energy supply. Orr and Palmer note more than 250 coal-fired plants have been closed in the United States since 2010, taking offline 34,000 megawatts (MW) of power generation capacity. Another 18,400 MW are scheduled to go offline by 2028. This 52,400 MW of retired capacity is enough to power 42.5 million homes, which is equivalent to every household in California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas, combined.

From Our Free-Market Friends
Arizona Minimum Wage Increase Will Increase Taxpayer Burden
Jennifer Tiedemann writes about a new Goldwater Institute paper analyzing the unintended consequences minimum wage increases have on taxpayers. In 2016, Arizonians passed Proposition 206, which raises the minimum wage to $12 by 2020. The paper examines the impact Arizona’s new wage law will have on the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, a state program in use by more than 35,000 children and adults. Tiedemann wrote, “Based on a sample set of 2,300 workers and extrapolated into the larger population … Proposition 206 will cost Arizona taxpayers approximately $45 million to maintain current staffing levels in state Fiscal Year 2018 for this program alone.”


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