• <div class="header-image" style="background-image: url(/live/image/gid/4/2549_V5N10_HeaderImageWeb.rev.1513268346.jpg);">​</div><div class="header-background-color"/>

Wonk Tank

Wonk Tank is a student blog written by members of the PPI Student Group. Articles cover topics on a range of issues at the intersection of business, economics, and public policy. Check back regularly for new articles.

Wonk Tank Articles

  • (Image: Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, FL (NOT AN ACO). Source: Wikimedia) December 13

    Healthcare spending accounts for just under one-fifth of the US economy, amounting to an enormous $3.4 trillion in 2016 [1]. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have tried their hand at passing cost containment measures to slow its growth, which has consistently outpaced GDP growth rates. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) attempted to cut costs by reshaping the way providers are paid to manage care. As a result, it began to recognize and reward a new hybrid structuring of providers: Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). As ACOs become more popular under new payment schemes, it is essential to track their ability to reduce costs and improve quality. The Trump administration’s policy changes stand to shape not only providers’ care coordination, but also the trajectory of the healthcare industry.

  • “Tech giants” or even the “Frightful Five,” the collective names given to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, ... December 8
    From checking the weather to reading the news, from interacting on social media to shopping for gifts, it is evident that technology plays an integral role in our daily lives. We can attribute the products that we use every day with just a few prominent technology companies. “Tech giants” or even the “Frightful Five,” the collective names given to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google (and by extension, its parent company Alphabet) underscore the idea that these technology companies significantly influence both our daily routines and the political and economic changes in our nation at large [1].
  • Hurricane Maria has brought light to how disaster relief has impacted Puerto Rico. December 5

    Since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the island’s leaders have been asking the federal government for more emergency aid and long-term recovery funds.[1] Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon requested, “Congress [approve] an aid package that is commensurate with the level of devastation,” while Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo of Guam said she will, “Seek a firm commitment that the House provide fair and robust emergency assistance to U.S. territories devastated by natural disasters in any bills considered for the remainder of the Congress.” [2] The federal government must determine how much assistance is required to adequately respond to a natural disaster of this scale and how to balance the need for short-term relief and long-term recovery.

  • (Image: Soda bottles on the shelf. Source: Flickr) December 5

    Sugar sweetened beverage taxes, commonly referred to as soda taxes, have been on the rise in American municipal governments as a potential policy solution to both a public health crisis and a revenue shortage [1]. However, in cities like Philadelphia where these sugary beverage taxes have been implemented, they have become a target for the scrutiny of residents and economists alike. Governments that have implemented soda taxes commonly cite how the tax revenue and the tax itself could help tackle obesity, but this claim is still subject to debate.

  • (Image: President Obama & King Salman of Saudi Arabia (Sept. 2015). Source: Public Domain TV) November 30

    Since 1976, private citizens have been barred from introducing private lawsuits against foreign nations under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). This law has been the basis for United States’ domestic legal engagement with other countries for decades, and has undergone significant revisions since its inception. Actions taken by the legislative branch over the past few decades have drastically changed the original FSIA and introduced new challenges regarding implementation and potential ramifications against the United States in legal systems abroad. This article explores how a recent amendment to the FSIA known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terror Act (JASTA), as well as prior revisions, represent a significant reduction in the sovereign immunity laid out in FSIA, as well as a public policy and diplomatic challenge for the United States moving forward.

Editorial Teams

PENN WHARTON PPI 
DISCLAIMER:

The Public Policy Initiative Student Group is housed under the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI). Penn Wharton PPI and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania do not provide any endorsement, either implied or explicit, in research or activities produced by the Public Policy Initiative Student Group or for the student blog Wonk Tank.