Social Insurance

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Patching Up the Social Safety Net

The "social safety net" has been a complicated concept since the 1960's, since many of its programs benefit the poor, but need funding support from the whole population. TCF fellow Edward Kleinbard offers one solution that is highlighted in his book, "We Are Better Than This," which is to "raise[ing] top tax rates to where they were in the Clinton era and pare[ing] some personal tax deductions that benefit the better off."

As demands on Social Security and Medicare grow over time, pressure will be enormous to cut benefits, mostly at the top. If Mr. Cohen was right, this will drain political support from the only universal programs we have left. They may become poor programs too.

Read the NY Times piece featuring Kleinbard.

Tags: social security, social safety net, medicare, medicaid

Is Expanding Medicaid an Essential Part of Reducing Mass Incarceration?

The problem of mass incarceration expands further than reforming the criminal justice system; it also involves addressing the reach of Medicaid recipients. TCF fellow Harold Pollack spoke with Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute to explain how expansion of Medicaid coverage would assist inmates needing mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and medical care that may have landed them behind bars in the first place.

Think about who is not eligible for Medicaid before health reform. A low-income male who is not a veteran or a custodial parent, or who doesn’t qualify for Ryan-White HIV/AIDS benefits. They may have a serious substance abuse problem, but that wouldn’t qualify them for federal disability benefits. They, with the expansion, can get access to Medicaid simply because they are poor.

The full interview can be accessed here.

Tags: mental health, medicaid expansion, incarceration, criminal justice system

Libya’s New Agony

With Libya plagued by internal conflict between two rival governments and jihadist extremism, countries in the area are searching for ways to combat jihadists in the region. TCF fellow Michael Wahid Hanna provided commentary on why military responses to the turmoil in Libya must be measured.

“Unsophisticated, heavy-handed and un-nuanced responses could exacerbate the problem,” says Michael Wahid Hanna of The Century Foundation, a think-tank in New York.

Read more on Libya in The Economist.

Tags: middle east, libya, jihadists

Killing Obamacare Would Kill Americans

It's no secret that Republicans have been fighting the Affordable Care Act for years. In fact, Republicans in Congress have voted to repeal it, defund it, or change it 67 times to date. TCF fellow Michael A. Cohen discusses this relentless battle and why these efforts to kill Obamacare are literally killing Americans in the process.

All too often GOP opposition to Obamacare is described as a political dispute. It’s much more than that, however. Repealing Obamacare, removing federal subsidies for millions of people, and denying Medicaid expansion are all affirmative political acts that will hurt, and even kill, Americans. The Republican position might reflect the party’s strongly held views, but that doesn’t make it any less monstrous.

Michael's full commentary can be found in The Boston Globe.

Tags: uninsured americans, supreme court, republicans, obamacare, healthcare, gop congress, congress

Another Look at the Medicaid Gap

February 13, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: Clio Chang TOPICS: Social Insurance, Improving Medicare and Medicaid

Twenty-two states have opted out of the federal Medicaid expansion, leaving many working Americans without health insurance. TCF policy associate Clio Chang takes a look at who falls into this “Medicaid gap.”


Tennessee’s Drug Tests Of Welfare Recipients Find 37 Drug Users

A number of research studies that have been conducted to expose the link between welfare applicants and drug use have apparently delivered results that prove the two are not nearly correlated as was hypothesized. Drug use and welfare applicants are in fact not as closely linked as drug use and the demographic of men from ages 18 to 24. TCF fellow Harold Pollack is quoted in the article explaining, "Other physical and mental health problems are far more prevalent” among low-income people than substance abuse problems."

But the idea of drug testing poor folk before doling out food money and rental assistance continues to spread despite all the evidence and expert testimony against the practice. Texas lawmakers are hoping to start mandatory drug tests for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; their law would impose a three-strikes rule for drug testing, under which anyone who tested positive a third time would be permanently ineligible for the federal aid program.

The article from ThinkProgress can be accessed here.

Tags: welfare applicants, public benefits, drug use, drug testing


Social Insurance

Social Insurance

Compared to other advanced nations, America’s retirement security and health care systems offer weaker protections against risks we all face. The Century Foundation’s work focuses on ideas for strengthening Social Security, pensions, and health care – including steps for building on the Affordable Care Act.

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