Health care regulations.
. . . Menu labels [expected in September]
The Food and Drug Administration is finalizing rules requiring that calorie information be posted on menus at chain restaurants and fast food joints, as well as on vending machines.
The new requirements . . . would require that calorie counts be visible on restaurant menus and on signs near vending machines.
Restaurants with 20 or more locations operating under the same name and selling the same items will be covered by the regulations. . . .
Home care workers
People who help the elderly and patients with disabilities manage their daily lives will be entitled to a minimum wage salary and overtime pay under a long-delayed rule expected from the Labor Department.
The effort to extend benefits to the nation’s nearly 2.5 million in-home healthcare aides . . .
The expected rule would close a loophole in federal labor laws that exempted babysitters and people who spend time with their elderly neighbors from wage requirements. At the time the laws were written, the home care industry didn’t exist. . . .
The regulation was scheduled to be issued in July but has not yet been finished. . . .
These services are very labor intense and this change will do to things: 1) Reduce the amount of services given to the elderly and patients with disabilities (doesn’t the Obama administration care about them?) and 2) raise the costs of these services generally. Some workers are going to get higher wages, but they were willing to work for less. Economists are happy to explain why market equilibriums maximize total wealth. In addition, the competition to get this extra pay (what economists call rent seeking) will reduce the actual benefits that even these lucky workers receive.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is gearing up to finalize its rules for the penalty that will be charged to people who do not carry health insurance.
Under the Affordable Care Act, people without health insurance who do not qualify for an exemption will be charged a penalty.
The agency proposed in January to set that penalty as either a flat amount of $95 per year or 1 percent of household income, though the amount will rise in future years.
The penalty will go into effect starting in 2014. . . .
As I explained in my book, At the Brink, even this penalty will not be collected. The IRS is explicitly forbidden from using its normal tools to collect money.