In this Issue

Federal Government

Reinforcing the Rule of Two: The VA's Improper Use of Cascading Evaluations

Well-settled principles of federal procurement law require agencies to engage in full and open competition, unless a specific exception applies.1 One such exception, dubbed the “Rule of Two,” applies to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in particular.2 The Rule of Two requires the VA’s contracting officers to analyze whether they have a reasonable expectation that two or more veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) will submit proposals at reasonable and fair prices in response to the solicitation.3 On the one hand, if the contracting officer determines that she does have such an expectation, then she is required to set aside the procurement exclusively for competition by veteran-owned businesses.4 On the other hand, if the contracting officer determines that she does not have such an expectation, then she may issue the solicitation on an unrestricted basis using full and open competitive procedures.5

Government

Grasping Gainsharing: A Business Approach to American Health Care

When people hear the term “hospital,” they often envision doctors and nurses caring for their patients, they see waiting rooms and hospital beds, and they imagine emergency rooms and operating tables. They may even hear the beeping of a heart monitor or feel the prick of a needle from a shot. When people hear the term “business,” they envision an entirely different setting. They likely picture men and women in suits or see conference rooms and offices with desks and laptops. They can probably hear the clicking of high heels or typing on a computer. When people hear the term “business,” they do not envision a hospital. Yet, the U.S. healthcare system has taken on a business identity.3

Federal Government

Innovation in Government Contracting: Increasing Government Reliance on Other Transaction Agreements Mandates a Clear Path for Dispute Resolution

On October 4, 1957, the first satellite to orbit the Earth crossed the night sky.1 The Soviet Union’s successful launch of Sputnik set the pace for an intense space race with the United States.2 Seeking to reassert its technological superiority over the Soviet Union,3 the United States launched its first rocket from Cape Canaveral on December 6, 1957, but the rocket’s thrusters failed within seconds, and it fell back to Earth.4 These events demonstrated the government’s need for faster technology acquisition to maintain competitiveness. President Dwight Eisenhower responded to the rocket’s loss by asking Congress to establish a civilian agency with a space exploration mandate.5 On July 29, 1958, Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act (Space Act), thus establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).6

Construction

Holding the Best Olympics Ever: The Need for a Permanent & Independent Human Rights Committee to Oversee Olympic Procurements

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, were supposed to be the best Olympics1 ever.2 Yet for most residents of a northeastern Beijing neighborhood called Hujialou, the Games proved to be anything but.3 In the years leading up to the Games, the city of Beijing hired a “demolition-relocation company” to clear the way for construction of over sixty-two new roads, four bridges, dozens of new residential buildings, and the massive competition and training venues that an Olympiad requires.4 At the city’s direction, this company “removed the windows and steel safety doors from all of the buildings and apartments” inconveniently located in the path of the planned construction, “dug trenches in the [neighborhood] green spaces and walkways,” and “[scattered] debris in the stairways and entrances to the buildings where [people] continued to live” in order to drive out residents.5

Military

Ensuring Choice in the Veterans Community Care Program: Reforming Scheduling & Claims Processing Systems Under the Choice Act to Guarantee Veterans Timely Healthcare

To prepare for good conversation, I remember my maternal grandfather, Papa Dziak, crossing his fingers over a pair of calloused palms and launching into anecdotes that brought him joy. One of his stories involved a Veterans Administration (“VA”) outpatient clinic. Papa Dziak served in World War II and traveled loyally to this facility for medical care. Apparently, the staff at this VA clinic called him on his birthday one year, telling him to swing by for a medical reason, but, when he arrived, he was instead presented with a full- fledged birthday celebration, complete with cake. Papa Dziak spoke highly of the clinic and its staff, and he was well-loved there. However, when he began experiencing stomach pain several years ago, the clinic could not provide him with either the appropriate examination or the necessary referrals for outside care. It was not until later, through his access to Medicare at a private medical center, that Papa Dziak was diagnosed with stomach cancer and provided medical attention.

Legislation & Lobbying

Bug the Bounty Hunter: Recommendations to Congress to Best Effectuate the Purpose of the SECURE Technology Act

Picture this: you are on your way home from work and, as is routine, safely seat-belted in the back seat of a taxi cab, or Uber, or Lyft.1 You have just finished reviewing the last of that day’s e-mail threads from your colleagues at the office and are beginning to mentally decompress. You insert your headphones and turn on your favorite podcast. Suddenly, you feel a jolting acceleration, then a swerve, a skid, and finally a stop. Thankfully safe, you quickly realize that the car is not. You have been involved in a multi-vehicle accident. And your driver claims that it was not his fault. “The car did it,” he claims.2 What if the driver was absolutely right?3

Natural Resources

The Case for FEMA Adopting a Localized Advance Contracting Strategy: Addressing Major Challenges & Issues that Hindered FEMA's 2017 Hurrican Response & Recover Efforts

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017,1 one of the most pressing issues for storm survivors was access to clean water.2 Officials estimated that more than one in three residents in Puerto Rico did not have access to clean water.3 Following the disaster, doctors and nurses reported that they were continuously treating patients with gastrointestinal illnesses, which was likely due to ingesting contaminated food and water.4 Although boiling water was an easy way to achieve decontamination, most people did not have access to either electricity or cooking gas to boil water.5 As a result, residents were limited to using bottled water.6 However, bottled water was expensive and hard to find.7 Two months after Hurricane Maria hit, at least seventy-four cases of leptospirosis had been reported,8 which were likely the result of ingesting contaminated food and water.9 Two of these cases resulted in death.10