Despite newly re-elected Speaker John Boehner's affirmation of compromise in his opening speech for the 2015 legislative session, it looks like the GOP is already up to its old hijinks after just a few weeks. First, the Republican House cohort has already caused an upset in Social Security policy, particularly with disability benefits, which is slated to run out of funding next year. Unfortunately, Republicans are unlikely to vote for any tax increase and Democrats are unlikely to agree to benefit cuts, leaving program funding that is scheduled to expire little hope for reinstatement. Michael Cohen mentions several other bills already passed by House Republicans including:
In addition, Republicans pushed through another effort to fund the Keystone pipeline, even though President Obama has made clear he intends to veto the legislation. Another rule change would force the Congressional Budget Office to do something called “dynamic scoring” on the economic impact of legislation. This change will make it easier for Republicans to propose tax cuts that appear revenue neutral, while actually blowing up the deficit.
The full article is featured in Boston Globe.
By expanding coverage for substance abuse treatment, Obamacare could potentially help reduce crime and incarceration — provided that beneficiaries can actually access the help they need.
Researchers at Emory University found that expanding health care coverage increases the use of substance abuse treatment and reduces aggravated assault, robbery, and larceny, according to their new working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Read the full article.
TCF fellow Harold Pollack analyzes for Wonkblog the Institute of Medicine's new report, "Delivering high-quality cancer care: charting a new course for a system in crisis." The IOM's recommendations, Pollack writes, "are so obvious and yet would be so difficult to execute in our high-tech but unwieldy, costly and fragmented health-care delivery system."
"The IOM makes plain that our cancer care system is particularly poorly organized to properly care for people with advanced cancers."
TCF fellow Harold Pollack quoted in The Reporter, a local Pennsylvania news outlet, on the problems people will face if they are ineligible for Medicaid and cannot afford subsidies. “This is a perverse situation where people may have to break rules to get health care coverage that the law intended to provide them,” Pollack says in reference to the possibility that applicants will overestimate their incomes.
Business Insider posts a picture, uploaded originally by the economist Sendhil Mullainathan, of a card filled with financial advice by fellow Harold Pollack. Among Pollack's recommendations: "Promote social insurance programs to help people when things go wrong."
TCF fellow Harold Pollack with Sheldon Danziger in Wonkblog on the proposal by House leaders to drug-test applicants to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. "The drug testing of SNAP recipients is yet another ideological sideshow that disfigures substance-abuse policy," Pollack and Danziger write. "It falsely implies that substance use disorders are a widespread cause of welfare dependence. It also implies, again falsely, that these disorders are highly concentrated among recipients of public aid."
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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