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Federal Interest Payments — the Cost of Debt — Are Low

January 15, 2021

Concerns about growing federal debt should not dissuade policymakers from enacting additional measures to respond to COVID-19 and the economic crisis it spurred, such as those President-elect Biden proposed yesterday. Although the debt is expected to reach new highs even without those measures, federal interest payments — which are the inescapable cost of debt — are low and projected to remain...

Despite Rising Debt, Interest Costs Are Expected to Remain Below Average for Many Years

More Economic Relief Needed, Despite Rising Debt

September 9, 2020

Rising federal debt should not deter policymakers from enacting additional relief measures to alleviate widespread hardship and keep the economic recovery from losing steam.

COVID-19, the resulting recession, and legislation enacted to fight them are driving federal borrowing and debt to historically high levels, new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections show. The budget deficit...

People waiting in physically distanced lines

Trump Payroll Tax Action Won’t Work, Could Endanger Social Security and Budget

August 13, 2020

President Trump’s executive action to allow the deferring of payroll tax payments will provide little or no near-term economic stimulus. Meanwhile, its potentially chaotic new rules will create significant compliance burdens for businesses, and workers may not see larger paychecks — and those who do could face surprise tax bills in a few months.

Moreover, permanently cutting payroll...

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Increasing Federal Medicaid Assistance Provides Effective Economic Stimulus

July 17, 2020

Increasing the federal share of Medicaid costs (the federal medical assistance percentage, or FMAP) would not only protect health coverage during the pandemic and recession, but also increase employment and economic output by providing relief to hard-pressed state...

Man pushing grocery carts

Policymakers Should Prevent Recession-Related Social Security Benefit Drops

June 23, 2020

The next COVID-19 relief bill should fix an unintended benefit “notch” under which, due to the pandemic and resulting recession, Social Security benefits will be significantly lower for workers who turn 60 this year and will be eligible for early retirement benefits in 2022. Those becoming eligible for disability or young survivors benefits in 2022 will also see lower benefits.


Social Security cards and 20 dollar bills

Health Insurers Don’t Need Federal “Risk Corridors”

May 28, 2020

The “risk corridor” provisions that were added at the last minute to the House-passed Heroes Act would provide an unnecessary benefit for health insurers and do not merit inclusion in the next COVID-19 relief bill. With no indication that health insurers’ net costs are rising due to the pandemic, even well-designed risk...

Hallway in Hospital

Senate GOP Response to Pandemic, Recession Is Seriously Inadequate

March 20, 2020

The Senate Republican proposal for a third bill to address the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis is woefully inadequate to meet the extraordinary challenges now facing the nation.

Low-Income Families Get Much Less Under GOP Stimulus Plan

Medicare in the 2021 Trump Budget

February 13, 2020

President Trump’s 2021 budget proposes about $500 billion in net Medicare spending reductions over ten years (see table), most of which would come from reducing payments to health care providers and not affect beneficiaries directly.

For the most part, the budget does not reflect the President’s efforts...

Health care worker takes patient's blood pressure

Affordable Care Act Still Reduces Deficits, Despite Tax Repeals

January 9, 2020

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains likely to reduce federal budget deficits substantially in coming years, despite December’s repeal of three ACA taxes. Repealing the excise tax on high-cost health plans (the “Cadillac tax”), the fee on health insurance providers (the “health insurance tax”), and the medical device excise tax will sacrifice hundreds of billions in revenues and marks a...

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Enzi-Whitehouse Would Threaten Medicare and Medicaid

December 12, 2019

December 18: We’ve updated this post.

Congress should reject efforts to attach, to end-of-year spending legislation, a bill from the Senate Budget Committee’s Chairman Mike Enzi and member Sheldon Whitehouse that would change the budget process in a highly problematic way and...

FY17 Budget