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Independent Health Record Trust Act introduced by Rep. Moore (D-KS) and Rep. Ryan (R-WI), for example, would establish federally regulated health record data banks. This legislation establishes a fiduciary duty for each health record data bank to act for the benefit of its participants and prescribes penalties for a breach of these responsibilities. In addition, the bill prohibits the data bank...
The government should allow companies investing in broadband networks to expense investments in new high speed broadband networks (capable of delivering considerably faster speeds than today’s average DSL or cable networks) in the first year. Currently, companies must depreciate telecommunications network investments over a period of fifteen years. Allowing companies to deduct the investment in...
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) established the right for individuals to obtain a paper copy of their health care records from their doctors. Congress should update this legislation to require doctors to provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information upon request. Under the current law, health care providers can charge reasonable fees...
Although the fixed costs of producing data or an application might be high, one of digital information’s benefits is that the marginal cost of creating an additional copy is typically minimal. Creating digital data using interoperable standards, such as sharable and reusable Extensible Markup Language (XML), multiplies its value many times — this can be far more valuable than just building a Web...
If citizens, particularly lower income citizens, could save more money by being on line, they would be more able to afford to subscribe to broadband. One way for government to enable this is to pass along the savings from online interactions to citizens. For many governmental activities it costs government less if citizens use an online channel, as opposed to using mail, telephone, or in-person...
The budget for EFRCs should be doubled from current levels of about $155 million in annual project support awarded in FY2009 to at least $300 million per year by FY2013. This funding would be sufficient to support 60-150 EFRC projects ongoing at any given time and capable of catalyzing cutting-edge research at the frontier of energy sciences.
MEP is oversubscribed, and expanding the program’s responsibilities in the clean energy industry will require additional funding. Congress should authorize a steadily expanding MEP funding to $400 million per year in five years time, ensuring sufficient funds to fully service existing MEP centers and support the new clean energy supply chain initiative.
One of the major barriers to the establishment of a domestic clean energy manufacturing industry is access to capital. Largely as a result of the recession, manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized companies, continue to face a reduction in demand and difficulty in securing the needed credit. Therefore, Congress should allocate $15 billion to the Department of Commerce (DOC) for a new...
To facilitate institutional coordination among regional clean energy industry clusters and existing federal programs supporting clean energy innovation, production, and commercialization activities, create a Federal Clean Energy Innovation Council, composed of high-level representatives of the DOE, DOC, NSF, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and representatives of regional...
Compared to the wireline and wireless phone industries, there is a relative paucity of different pricing plans in the broadband industry. Many Internet service providers have discounts for service that is bundled with other services (e.g., TV and/or phone). And some charge less for service with lower speeds. But no company appears to sell low-cost plans based on limited use. Yet, for many...
The ARPA-E program is critical to securing American clean energy competitiveness by developing a new generation of affordable technologies that can form the basis of a new export-oriented clean energy growth strategy. But the funding level for this innovative program remains far too small to keep up with either our economic competitors or the scale of need. Congress should work to increase ARPA-E...
Most states have business portals that allow entrepreneurs to find information about creating a business online, but too few of these sites actually navigate users through regulatory process of creating and maintaining a business online. These portals should be run more like tax preparation software created by companies that guide taxpayer through numerous options to maximize their savings. Based...
The U.S. R&D credit is far less generous than that of most other countries. In 2012, the United States ranked just 27th out of 42 countries studied in terms of R&D tax incentive generosity, down from 23rd just five years ago. Brazil, China, and India all offer more generous R&D tax credits than the United States. There are two potential policy options Congress could take increase...
An effective growth policy needs to be based in part on lower prices for equipment and machinery. One way to do this is to let firms expense all the cost of equipment in the first year instead of having to amortize the costs over a number of years. Allowing for the expensing of purchases of plant and equipment will reduce the after-tax price of investment, raising the level of domestic investment...
One reason why USTR has not done more to enforce existing trade agreements is because doing so is quite costly and labor intensive. But much of USTR’s budget goes toward negotiating new trade agreements, as opposed to vigorous enforcement effort of existing agreements. Congress should increase USTR’s budget with the new resources devoted to enforcement and the fight against unfair foreign trade...