Poverty, Income and Health

Understanding Next Week’s Census Figures on Poverty and Inequality

On September 16, the Census Bureau will release official statistics on poverty and inequality in 2013.  Several points are worth noting in advance of the release.

  • As in Other Recent Recoveries, Poverty Has Been Slow to Improve
  • Austerity Policies Likely Hampered Progress Against Poverty in 2013
  • Unequal Wage Growth Also Slowed Progress
  • Income Inequality at Record-High Level in 2012
  • Most Poverty Figures Released on Tuesday Won’t Reflect Non-Cash Benefits
  • Census Will Show Anti-Poverty Impact of Some Cash and Non-Cash Benefits

Read more

 

Understanding the Census Bureau’s Upcoming Health Insurance Coverage Estimates

The Census Bureau will release estimates on September 16 of the number and share of Americans without health coverage in 2013, based on its annual Current Population Survey (CPS).  While the CPS is the most widely used source of health coverage information, significant changes in its health coverage questions instituted for 2013 — the result of a multi-year Census initiative to improve the reliability and accuracy of the survey’s health coverage estimates — mean that the 2013 results cannot be compared to those for prior years.  Moreover, because the CPS estimates are for 2013, they will not show the effects of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) major coverage expansions, implemented starting in January 2014. 

Analysts and policymakers should therefore look to other available data sources as well, including other federal and private surveys. Read more

 

More: Poverty and Income Analyses

Health Reform

House Bill Would Raise Small Business Premiums and Undercut Health Reform’s Consumer Protections

The House has passed legislation sponsored by Rep. William Cassidy (R-LA) that would allow insurance companies, through 2018, to continue to offer to any small employer the health insurance plans in the small group market that the insurers were selling in 2013. Under the bill, such plans would not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) market reforms and consumer protections that otherwise apply to all health insurance plans offered in the small group market, starting in 2014.

The bill would likely have serious adverse effects both on premiums in the small group market — causing them to rise substantially for many small firms — and on health reform’s consumer protections, such as the reform that prevents insurance companies from charging higher premiums to firms with older, less healthy workforces. Read more

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