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Quarterly Report to the Technology Assessment Board, October 1 - December 31, 1989
This is a quarterly report detailing the budget and progress of the Office of Technology Assessment.
Quarterly Report to the Technology Assessment Board, January 1 - March 31, 1990
This is a quarterly report detailing the budget and progress of the Office of Technology Assessment.
Quarterly Report to the Technology Assessment Board, April 1 - June 30, 1990
This is a quarterly report detailing the budget and progress of the Office of Technology Assessment.
Quarterly Report to the Technology Assessment Board, July 1 - September 30, 1990
This is a quarterly report detailing the budget and progress of the Office of Technology Assessment.
Office of Technology Assessment Fiscal Year 1992 Justification of Estimates, December 21, 1990
This report contains justification for the Office of Technology Assessment's (OTA) estimated FY1990 budget request.
Trading Around the Clock: Global Securities Markets and Information Technology
This background paper assesses the effects of information technology on securities markets and the current status of global securities trading. It compares securities markets and clearing and settlement mechanisms in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the rest of Europe with those in the United States. Finally it identities emerging questions about international markets and national regulatory regimes.
Unconventional Cancer Treatments
This report describes the unconventional cancer treatments that are most used by U.S. cancer patients; it describes the way in which people find out about them and how much they pay for them; reviews the claims made for them and the information base in support of the claims; suggests possible ways of generating valid information about their safety and effectiveness; and presents the legal issues surrounding unconventional treatments that have brought civil and criminal litigation to bear on the subject.
Worker Training: Competing in the New International Economy
This report focuses on the training given to employed workers both from the standpoint of the competitiveness of U.S. industry and from the standpoint of the individual worker who may need training to advance. Most workers who get training get it from their employer, and much of the report looks at the employer provided training system. The message of this report is that the debate about national training policies needs to be broadened to encompass not only training programs for the economically disadvantaged, the displaced worker, or people with special needs, but also those who stand on the front line of American productivity-employed workers at all levels.
Rebuilding the Foundations: A Special Report on State and Local Public Works Financing and Management
This report documents, the concerns centered on how to raise more money for upgrading and maintaining public works, how to enhance public works, and how to preserve the community environment and quality of life. Local officials focused on the complex tasks of resolving conflicts among these issues in a controversy-ridden and politically charged arena. State representatives highlighted the steps they have already taken to increase support for localities. This special report also outlines the roles of Federal, State, and local governments and points to avenues for strengthening the intergovernmental structure for managing and financing public works.
Recombinant Erythropoietin: Payment Options for Medicare
Policy interest in Medicare’s payment policies regarding recombinant erythropoietin has arisen chiefly because of the biologic’s expense. Because of concern about the implications of recombinant erythropoietin use for Medicare expenditures, the House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Health, requested OTA to examine alternative payment policies that Medicare might adopt to pay for the biologic. In responding to that request, this Special Report reviews clinical and economic issues regarding the use of recombinant erythropoietin and develops a series of options for Congressional consideration.
Replacing Gasoline: Alternative Fuels for Light-Duty Vehicles
In this report OTA gives a broad overview of the qualities of the competing fuels and examines in depth some of the most contentious issues associated with the wisdom of active Federal support for introducing the fuels. Areas of uncertainty that affect the debate on Federal support include fuel cost (including costs of building new infrastructure and modifying vehicles); the air quality effects of the new fuels; effects on energy security; other environmental impacts of the fuels; and consumer acceptance of the changes in vehicle performance, refueling procedures, costs, and other facets of the transportation system that would follow a large-scale introduction of any of the fuels. The report singles out for special examination the arguments concerning the costs, energy security implications, and air quality impacts of introducing methanol fuels into the fleet.
Royalty Management Program's Auditing and Financial System: Technical Issues
A report on royalty, rental, and bonus payments from non-fuel mineral leases on public lands are a oil and gas and other fuel and major source of income for the Federal government, States, and Indian Tribes.
The Use of Integrity Tests for Pre-Employment Screening
This report discusses the definition of honesty and integrity tests defined by OTA. The definition does not necessarily resolve ambiguities over the universe of tests that should be considered integrity tests. Controversy surrounds the meanings of integrity and honesty in the workplace; there is disagreement over whether integrity tests differ from other personnel tests in design or in the kinds of inferences they support; and there is little relative information on how integrity and honesty tests are actually used in hiring decisions.
Alaskan Water for California?: The Subsea Pipeline Option
This background paper focuses on one technological option for increasing the supply of fresh water to the Southwest-that of building a freshwater subsea pipeline to transport water from Alaska to California. Originally a suggestion by Governor Walter Hickel of Alaska, the proposal has recently attracted attention in southern California.
Electronic Bulls and Bears: U.S. Securities Markets and Information Technology
This report responds to requests by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Government Operations to assess the role that communication and information technologies play in the securities markets. The Committee desired a benchmark for gauging progress made toward the national market system envisioned by the 1975 Act. This report assesses the current use of information technology by U.S. securities exchanges and over-the-counter dealers, by related futures and options markets, and by associated industries and regulatory agencies.
Energy Use and the U.S. Economy
The background paper extends the analysis of energy use into new areas by explicitly looking at how energy use has changed with the expansion of the service sector, the explosion of international trade, and greater complexity of the U.S. economy as the structure of businesses changed in response to new technologies and competitive challenges. The increasing sophistication of the U.S. economy means that the role of energy is less likely to be directly identified and is instead more likely to be an indirect factor that was added many steps before in the complex network that connects producer to consumer. This report explicitly separates direct from indirect energy use.
Evaluating Defense Department Research
This paper discusses briefly (1) the purposes of research directed toward support of the defense science and technology base and (2) criteria for judging government-supported, military oriented research portfolios. It will not cover, except tangentially, research into science and technology directed to civilian uses or the more advanced development phase of military weapons and systems.
Finding the Rx for Managing Medical Wastes
This OTA report was requested by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, the House Subcommittee on Transportation and Hazardous Materials, Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the House Subcommittee on Regulation, Business Opportunities and Energy, Committee on Small Business. The report evaluates medical waste issues in the broader context of a waste management policy for the Nation. Waste reduction and recycling options for medical waste management, as well as incineration and non-incineration treatment alternatives are examined.
Genetic Monitoring and Screening in the Workplace
This report describes the issues associated with genetic monitoring and screening in the workplace. It examines the technologies used, analyzes the legal framework for the use of such tests, assesses the ethical issues inherent in the use of these tools in the workplace setting, describes how genetic information is conveyed by a genetic counselor, and, based on an OTA survey of 1,500 U.S. companies and the largest unions, evaluates the current and future use of genetic monitoring and screening in the workplace.
Genetic Witness: Forensic Uses of DNA Tests
OTA prepared this report with the assistance of a panel of advisors and reviewers selected for their expertise and diverse points of view on the issues covered by the assessment. These authorities were drawn from academia, industry, and professional societies, as well as Federal, State, and local agencies. They included members of the scientific, law enforcement, forensic, and legal communities. OTA gratefully acknowledges the contribution of each of these individuals; as with all OTA reports, responsibility for the content is OTA’s alone.
Critical Connections: Communication for the Future
The U.S. communication infrastructure is changing rapidly as a result of technological advances, deregulation, and an economic climate that is increasingly competitive. This change is affecting the way in which information is created, processed, transmitted, and provided to individuals and institutions. The report analyzes the implications of new communication technologies for business, politics, culture, and individuals, and suggests possible strategies and options for congressional consideration.
Helping America Compete: The Role of Federal Scientific and Technical Information
This Special Report assesses how Federal scientific and technical information (STI) can contribute to a more competitive America and what actions are needed to realize this potential. The report was prepared in response to a request from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
How Has Federal Research on AIDS/HIV Disease Contributed to Other Fields?
The House Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations asked the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) to document the extent to which federally funded research on AIDS/HIV has contributed to advances in other fields including biomedical and behavior research, prevention, patient care, and health care financing. In response to this request OTA conducted a survey of distinguished biomedical and social scientists. This Staff Paper reports on the results of that survey.
Indian Adolescent Mental Health
This report reviews the mental health needs of Indian adolescents (those of American Indian and Alaska Native descent) and the services available to them. It summarizes the findings of the review, suggests options that Congress might consider, and provides an overview of other special health needs of adolescents (ages 10 to 18).
Verification Technologies: Measures for Monitoring Compliance With the START Treaty
The report outlines the monitoring tasks specific to START and suggests the cooperative and unilateral measures available for a START monitoring regime. In the discussion of specific monitoring technologies, the report limits itself to those which may be available (though not necessarily applied) at about the time a START Treaty is ready to be signed and ratified.
Preventive Health Services for Medicare Beneficiaries: Policy and Research Issues
This Special Report analyzes policy and research issues raised in considering Medicare coverage of preventive services. OTA examines how decisions are currently made about coverage of specific preventive services under Medicare and lays out options for altering the process and criteria governing those decisions. The Special Report also reviews and critiques ongoing demonstration projects and summarizes the results of OTA studies of the costs and effectiveness of specific preventive services for the elderly.
Proposal Pressure in the 1980s: An Indicator of Stress on the Federal Research System
For this report OTA compiled time-series data provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Federal mission agencies on proposals for competitively awarded research projects, and by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual R&D budget series.7 These funding trends, presented below, suggest changes over the decade of the 1980s and raise some issues for future policy study.
Quarterly Report to the Technology Assessment Board, April 1 - June 30, 1990
This quarterly report includes formal assessments, technical memoranda, background papers, testimony, staff papers, and administrative documents for the Technology Assessment Board.
The CDC's Case Definition of AIDS: Implications of Proposed Revisions
This background paper examines the epidemiologic evidence used by the CDC in deciding to revise the AIDS case definition and the impact the proposed definition will have on surveillance. The paper also explores the logistical consequences and other implications of the revised definition, including its impact on Social Security disability determinations.
The Effectiveness of Drug Abuse Treatment: Implications for Controlling AIDS/HIV Infection
This Background Paper examines the evidence of the effectiveness of drug abuse treatment; it also evaluates the role that such treatment might play in reducing the spread of HIV. Because most intravenous drug users are not in treatment, the paper also examines other approaches to HIV prevention among this high-risk group.
The Costs and Effectiveness of Cervical Cancer Screening in Elderly Women
This paper examines what is known about the course of cervical cancer in elderly women; the effectiveness of the Pap test and its accuracy in this age group; the relative costs and effectiveness of different screening test schedules for elderly women; and the implications of these findings for Medicare.
Costs and Effectiveness of Colorectal Cancer Screening in the Elderly
In this paper OTA summarizes the evidence on the effectiveness and costs of colorectal cancer screening in the elderly and explores the implications for Medicare of offering this preventive technology as a Medicare benefit. Nowhere are the hard choices between potential medical benefits and high costs illustrated more clearly than with this cancer screening technology.
High-Temperature Superconductivity in Perspective
This is the second of two OTA assessments on the subject of high-temperature superconductivity (HTS). As the title suggests, this study attempts to put HTS in perspective, both in terms of competing technologies (e.g., the more mature low-temperature superconductors), and in terms of the many technical and economic problems that must be overcome before HTS can be widely used.
Holding the Edge: Maintaining the Defense Technology Base—Vol. II, Appendices
The report notes that America’s defense technology base has weathered significantly, with challenges to U.S. high-Technology firms from abroad, increasing dependence on foreign and civilian sources of technology for use in military systems, and growing technological sophistication of our adversaries.
Making Things Better: Competing in Manufacturing
This report considers ways to promote the restoration of American leadership in manufacturing technology. Some of the things that most need doing are up to industry— especially in handling people, from managers to engineers to shopfloor workers, and in forming stable, productive relationships between different segments of an industry complex. Government also has a critical role to play.
Neural Grafting: Repairing the Brain and Spinal Cord
This special report, the second of our neuroscience series, discusses the field of neural grafting into the brain and spinal cord to treat neurological disorders. It describes the technology of neural grafting, the neurological conditions that it may be used to treat, and the patient populations that are affected. Also, the legal and ethical issues raised by the development of neural grafting techniques are discussed. The report includes a range of options for congressional action related to the Federal funding of transplantation research using human fetal tissue, the adequacy of existing Federal laws and regulations regarding the use of human fetal tissue, and the role of the Federal Government in guiding the development and promoting the safety and efficacy of neural grafting procedures.
Neurotoxicity: Identifying and Controlling Poisons of the Nervous System
This Report, the first of the neuroscience series, discusses the risks posed by neurotoxic substances—substances that can adversely affect the nervous system—and evaluates the Federal research and regulatory programs now in place to address these risks.
The Big Picture: HDTV and High-Resolution Systems
A report on High Definition Television (HDTV. During 1989, HDTV moved from obscurity to center stage in the ongoing debate over the role of the Federal Government in U.S. industrial competitiveness. HDTV and related High-Resolution System (HRS) technologies in the computer and communications sectors may significantly impact U.S. electronics manufacturing, accelerate fundamental restructuring of the U.S. communications infrastructure, and provide a host of valuable services.
Children's Dental Services Under the Medicaid Program
The report discusses the oral health of children eligible for Medicaid, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Health and the Environment requested OTA to determine whether children eligible for Medicaid are provided at least a minimum level of dental care. This study compares the dental manuals of seven State Medicaid programs with a set of “basic’ dental services (which comprise shared components of various well-accepted dental guidelines) to see if States allow these particular services.
Computer Software and Intellectual Property
This background paper examines existing intellectual-property protection for computer software-copyrights, patents, and trade secrets—and provides an overview of the often conflicting views and concerns of various stakeholders. It was prepared in response to a request from the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Administration of Justice of the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Confused Minds, Burdened Families: Finding Help for People With Alzheimer's and Other Dementias
This OTA report analyzes the problem of locating and arranging services for people with dementia, presents a framework for an effective system to connect them to appropriate services, and discusses congressional policy options for establishing such a system. One of the main policy issues is whether the system should serve people with dementia exclusively or serve people with other diseases and conditions as well.
Coping With an Oiled Sea
In the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in March, 1989, a myriad of investigations were initiated to evaluate the causes of that accident and to propose remedies. The Office of Technology Assessment was asked to study the Nation’s oil spill clean-up capabilities and to assess the technologies for responding to such catastrophic spills in the future.
Nonferrous Metals: Industry Structure
This report profiles the structures of four domestic nonferrous metals industries (copper, aluminurn, lead, and zinc) and the changes they have undergone since 1980. The study also outlines the U.S. position in the world markets.
Orbiting Debris: A Space Environmental Problem
This background paper, OTA sought the contributions of abroad spectrum of knowledgeable individuals and organizations. Some provided information, others reviewed drafts. OTA gratefully acknowledges their contributions of time and intellectual effort. As with all OTA studies, the content of this background paper is the sole responsibility of the Office of Technology Assessment and does not necessarily represent the views of our advisors or reviewers.
Physical Vulnerability of Electric Systems to Natural Disasters and Sabotage
This report offers an analysis of the vulnerability of electric power system specific equipment which is included in a separate appendix that is under classification review by the Department of Energy. This appendix will be made available only under appropriate safeguards by the Department of Energy.
Forest Service Planning: Setting Strategic Direction Under RPA
This report evaluates past RPA efforts, reviews the process used by the Forest Service in preparing the 1989 RPA Assessment and the Draft 1990 RPA Program, and identities options for improving RPA’s contribution to long-range planning and to policy and budget deliberations. The second OTA report on Forest Service planning will review national forest planning, and will examine the relationship between national planning under RPA and forest planning under NFMA.
Health Care in Rural America
This report is about access of people in rural America to basic health care services. This report focuses on trends in the availability of primary and acute health care in rural areas and factors affecting those trends.
Plague of Locusts: Special Report
This is OTA’S fifth report on U.S. foreign aid and African agriculture and our most detailed look at one specific problem. The report provides a background on the unusual nature of grasshopper and locust problems, examine t e implications this has for the way problems are treated, then consider how U.S. contributions to the bilateral and multilateral control effort might be improved.
Access to Space: The Future of U.S. Space Transportation Systems
This report is the final, summarizing report in a series of products from a broad assessment of space transportation technologies undertaken by OTA for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Affordable Spacecraft: Design and Launch Alternatives
This background paper examines several proposals for reducing the costs of spacecraft and other payloads and describes launch systems for implementing them. It is one of a series of products of a broad assessment of space transportation technologies undertaken by OTA at the request of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.