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Fueling Reform: Energy Technologies for the Former East Bloc
This report focuses on technologies to improve energy supply in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. The report is divided into two parts. The first part reviews energy supply technologies for fossil–fuel and nonfossil–based energy resources. In addition, it reviews the environmental consequences of energy production and consumption. The report highlights specific needs for U.S. technology and opportunities for U.S. business. The second part of the report is devoted to policy considerations. It describes the highly varied political, economic, and social context of reform. Next, it analyzes and catalogues Western energy–related assistance and investment programs for the region. The final chapter of the report presents policy options relating to energy supply and efficiency that will promote the achievement of U.S. political and economic goals.
Managed Care and Competitive Health Care Markets: The Twin Cities Experience
This paper emphasizes recent changes in the market for health care and health insurance in the Twin Cities, including the growth of managed care organizations, the growth of integrated delivery systems, the development of health insurance purchasing coalitions, and recent state health care reforms. The report concludes with a discussion of potential lessons from the Twin Cities for the health reform debate.
Office of Technology Assessment Semi-Annual Report, July 1994
This report includes information on technological products released during FY1994, legislation in the 103rd Congress related to the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), and background information on OTA itself, among other things.
Saving Energy in U.S. Transportation
This report focuses on energy use in U.S. transportation, which accounts for over 60 percent of U.S. oil consumption. The report attempts to put these opinions into context by examining the current status of the system and evaluating critical problems such as congestion, presenting forecasts of future energy use, making some pointed comparisons with European transportation, and describing and evaluating a range of options for saving energy.
Understanding Estimates of the Impact of Health Reform on the Federal Budget
This paper describes and evaluates the sources of variation in analysts’ estimates of the federal budget impacts of key reform provisions. The paper also discusses potential variations in the estimates of federal budget effects of the American Health Security Act and the Managed Competition Act, and of health reform proposals in general.
Climate Treaties and Models: Issues in the International Management of Climate Change
This paper seeks to place the issue of climate change within an international context. Specifically, it addresses the feasibility of forging treaty agreements among countries to achieve significant worldwide reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.
Power Sources for Remote Arctic Applications
This background paper concludes that continued use of the radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) at Burnt Mountain entails low risk for the safety of maintenance workers and local populations and for the environment.
An Alaskan Challenge: Native Village Sanitation
This OTA assessment reviews the status of federal government efforts to provide safe sanitation to Alaskan Natives and the technologies that have been used or proposed for this purpose. Finally, the report examines the legislative and institutional setting for the waste sanitation problems, and the criteria that need to be applied in selecting and implementing new technologies.
Electronic Enterprises: Looking to the Future
This report takes a strategic look at the development of electronic commerce and identifies the characteristics of the infrastructure that will be required to support it. The report found that, in an electronically networked economy, the design and underlying architecture of the global information infrastructure will have a major impact on national economic growth and development.
Energy Efficiency in Federal Facilities: Update on Funding and Potential Savings
There are two longstanding constraints to implementing more energy efficient practices: 1) a shortage of finds to invest in efficient equipment; and 2) a lack of information for program planning and budgeting about the extent of investment opportunities and about the best finding mechanisms. This paper reviews advances made in addressing these constraints since 1991.
Export Controls and Nonproliferation Policy
The primary purpose of this report is to identify options for enhancing the effectiveness of export controls in slowing or preventing the spread of capabilities to develop and produce weapons of mass destruction.
Technical Options for the Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor
This paper discusses the history and status of the ALMR research program. It presents applications of this technology to the plutonium disposition problem and the possible advantages and disadvantages of its future development and deployment. It also discusses related issues such as waste management and concerns about proliferation of plutonium material.
Understanding Estimates of National Health Expenditures Under Health Reform
This report looks behind the published estimates to examine analysts’ approaches to estimating future national health expenditures. In particular, the report appraises the analysts’ estimates of the potential effects of four provisions that may be key to modeling alternative reforms (government cost controls, managed competition and increased HMO enrollment, coverage for uninsured people, and administrative streamlining). The report compares assumptions in these areas to evidence from available research. The report also draws policy implications for congressional consideration.
Wage Record Information Systems
This background paper responds to section 408 of the 1990 amendments to the Perkins Act, which asks OTA to review activities to be undertaken by the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (NOICC) to encourage the use of wage records from state unemployment insurance systems for purposes of conducting policy studies or monitoring the outcomes of vocational education.
The Social Security Administration's Decentralized Computer Strategy: Issues and Options
The report highlights some of the opportunities and challenges faced by a major federal agency in: 1 ) implementing the Administration’s “National Performance Review and “National Information Infrastructure” programs, and 2) addressing issues raised in OTA’s 1993 report Making Government Work: Electronic Delivery of Federal Services.
Annual Report to the Congress: Fiscal Year 1993
This report includes statements form OTA Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Director, as well as TAAC Chairman. The report also discusses industry, commerce, and international security division, as well as health, life sciences and the environment division.
Psychiatric Disabilities, Employment and the Americans With Disabilities Act
The report focuses on mental disabilities, a broad rubric. In this background paper, OTA examines current knowledge about psychiatric disabilities and employment in the context of the ADA’s requirements and reviews Federal activities directly or indirectly aimed at supporting the ADA’s employment provisions.
Testing and Assessment in Vocational Education
The paper has six major purposes, in order to analyze the uses of tests used in vocational programs, particularly those designed to measure broad technical skills, identify trends in vocational assessment, and identify policy issues relevant to improving test development and quality.
Industry, Technology, and the Environment: Competitive Challenges and Business Opportunities
This report finds both competitive challenges and opportunities from environmental concerns and industrial competitiveness for two sets of American industries affected by environmental regulation: those in the business of making and selling environmental technologies, and the manufacturing firms that are among their major customers.
Publishing Style and Procedures
In-house document for publishing procedures and conventions. It includes copy editing and grammar style.
Office of Technology Assessment Fiscal Year 1995 Justification of Estimates, December 1993
This report contains justification for the Office of Technology Assessment's (OTA) estimated FY1995 budget request.
Technologies Underlying Weapons of Mass Destruction
This paper reviews the technical requirements for countries to develop and build nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, along with the systems most capable of delivering these weapons to distant or defended targets: ballistic missiles, combat aircraft, and cruise missiles.
Resource Analysis FY93
This is an OTA resource analysis report.
Global Change Research and NASA's Earth Observing System
This paper describes a number of suggestions to improve the value of the USGCRP to both scientists and policymakers. The report observes that the USGCRP is focused narrowly on climate change. As a result, USGCRP may not be able to provide decision makers and natural resource managers with the information they will need to respond to other aspects of global change, The background paper also explicates the continuing debate over whether the sensors and satellites planned by USGCRP: 1) will be able to acquire data in sufficient detail to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for global change; 2) are appropriate for long-term monitoring of key indices of global change.
Preparing for an Uncertain Climate—Vol. I
This report discusses climate change that poses many potential problems for human and natural systems, and the long-term effects of climate change on these systems are becoming increasingly important in public policy.
Preparing for an Uncertain Climate—Vol. I
This report discuses the assessment conducted by OTA office in preparation for climatic changes.
Preparing for an Uncertain Climate—Vol. II
This is the OTAs second report on climate change. OTA examines how the Nation can best prepare for an uncertain future climate. This assessment tackles the difficult tasks of assessing how natural and human systems may be affected by climate change and of evaluating the tools at our disposal to ease adaptation to a warmer climate.
Preparing for an Uncertain Climate—Vol. II
This is the OTAs second report on climate change. OTA examines how the Nation can best prepare for an uncertain future climate. This assessment tackles the difficult tasks of assessing how natural and human systems may be affected by climate change and of evaluating the tools at our disposal to ease adaptation to a warmer climate.
Aging Nuclear Power Plants: Managing Plant Life and Decommissioning
This report examines the following: the outlook for safety management and economic life decisions for the Nation’s existing nuclear power plants as they age, the prospects for decommissioning, and current and potential Federal efforts that could contribute to more timely and better informed decisions regarding plant life and decommissioning.
Aircraft Evacuation Testing: Research and Technology Issues
This report describes the OTA study that examined regulatory, research, and technology issues related to passenger safety and evacuation testing.
Benefit Design in Health Care Reform: Clinical Preventive Services
This Report examines the evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of selected clinical preventive services, and whether and how this information might be used to design insurance benefits.
Benefit Design in Health Care Reform: Patient Cost-Sharing
This paper examines the health services and economics literature to learn what is known about the effects of patient cost-sharing (that is, annual deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximurns) on patients’ use of health care services, on plan expenditures, and on patients’ health outcomes.
Biological Components of Substance Abuse and Addiction
This paper describes biological contributing factors to substance abuse and addiction. The second document being produced by this study will discuss the complex interactions of biochemical, physiological, psychological, and sociological factors leading to substance abuse and addiction.
Biopolymers: Making Materials Nature's Way
This report discusses a study that provides a basic introduction to biopolymer technology; profiles some of the more promising polymer materials; reviews research activities in the United States, Europe, and Japan; and describes the principal technical challenges and regulatory issues that may affect biopolymer commercialization efforts.
Compilation of Abbreviations and Terms
This paper contains glossaries of terms and abbreviations compiled from selected reports issued between 1987 and 1992 by the Health Program and the Biological and Behavioral Sciences Program of the Office of Technology Assessment.
The Continuing Challenge of Tuberculosis
This report synthesizes current understanding of tuberculosis (TB) in the United States, including the extent of the disease, the state of research of new preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic technologies to aid in its control, and the delivery of effective TB services. The report also provides an overview of Federal involvement in these activities.
Contributions of DOE Weapons Labs and NIST to Semiconductor Technology
This report examines how NIST and DOE weapons laboratories could contribute to advances in semiconductor technology aimed specifically at civilian applications. Semiconductor technology was chosen as an example of a technology focus for a civilian technology initiative, primarily because the industry had already developed a set of comprehensive technology roadmaps and the federal labs had substantial expertise in the area.
Coverage of Preventive Services: Provisions of Selected Current Health Care Reform Proposals
This paper first describes prevention and clinical preventive services, and specialties the way in which OTA uses the concept of preventive services in its analysis of current health care reform proposals. Second, the paper provides a “roadmap” to four major approaches to reform. Third, the paper summarizes the preventive services proposed under selected health care reform proposals.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Persian Gulf Veterans' Health Registry
This report focuses on the VA “Persian Gulf War Veterans Health Registry,” which is referred to here as the “examination registry.”
Dismantling the Bomb and Managing the Nuclear Materials
This report presents the results of OTA’s investigations and analyses regarding the types of adverse environmental and health impacts that resulted from nuclear weapons production in the past. In this report, OTA suggests various initiatives that Congress could consider to establish a national policy, determine the next steps in warhead dismantlement and nuclear materials management, approach decisions on the ultimate disposition of nuclear materials, enhance the institutional capabilities necessary to ensure success, and encourage sound dismantlement and materials management in Russia.
Energy Efficiency: Challenges and Opportunities for Electric Utilities
This report focuses on the opportunities for advancing the energy efficiency of the U.S. economy through technology improvements and institutional change in the electric utility sector. In particular, the report examines the prospects for energy savings through expansion of utility demand-side management and integrated resource planning programs and related Federal policy options.
Harmful Non-Indigenous Species in the United States
This report discusses the assessment of non-indigenous-species (NIS), and has three focal points: the status of harmful NIS in the United States; technological issues regarding decision making and species management; and institutional and policy frameworks. Each chapter elaborates on the findings summarized here and contains additional examples of problem species and their locations.
Impact of Legal Reforms on Medical Malpractice Costs
This report discusses the indirect cost of medical malpractice, commonly referred to as “defensive medicine,” that may add to overall health care costs. The cost of defensive medicine remains unknown and is subject to much speculation because there are no sound empirical data.
Information Systems Related to Technology Transfer: A Report on Federal Technology Transfer in the United States
This report focuses on the process of Federal Domestic Technology Transfer and the organizations and mechanisms that foster this process. It discusses the barriers in detail, and discusses options for improving the process including the case for a centralized, user friendly, information system.
Making Government Work: Electronic Delivery of Federal Services
This report focuses on key topics and issues that are central to the successful use of electronic deli very by government. This report provides Congress with alternative strategies for improving the performance of government by using modern information technologies.
Multinationals and the National Interest: Playing by Different Rules
This report is intended as an introduction to and overview of the issues that affect multinational firms and the U.S. technology base.
Potential Environmental Impacts of Bioenergy Crop Production
This report reviews how bioenergy crops could potentially affect soil quality and soil erosion, water quality, air quality, habitat for a variety of species, and the global environment.
Protecting Privacy in Computerized Medical Information
This report analyzes the implications of computerized medical information and the challenges it brings to individual privacy. The report examines: 1) the nature of the privacy interest in health care information and the current state of the law protecting that information; 2) the nature of proposals to computerize health care information and the technologies available to both computerize and protect privacy in the information; and 3) models for protection of health care information.
Pulling Together for Productivity: A Union-Management Initiative at US West, Inc.
This report is a case study which points to an alternative that benefits both workers and the firm. In this report OTA finds that the Home and Personal Services Division of U S WEST, Inc. has increased revenues, eliminated unnecessary work, and improved customer service.
Water for Walker Lake
This report discusses the Walker River flows, water rights decrees, agricultural diversions, and other issues related to Walker River water.