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Social Security Is Especially Important to Minorities

November 13, 2013

A recent analysis by economist Eugene Steuerle and colleagues concludes that African Americans and Hispanics as a group each pay more in Social Security taxes in a given year than they receive in benefits.  If true, this stems more from the age composition of the...

Raising Health Reform Threshold to 40 Hours Would Make Shift to Part-Time Work More Likely

October 22, 2013

Some business groups continue to push to increase the threshold for full-time work under health reform from 30 to 40 hours a week, the New York Times reports.  But that would be a mistake.


Lowering the Cost of Medical Devices

October 18, 2013

Health reform’s tax on medical devices has survived — at least for the time being — an intense lobbying campaign to repeal it.  But as Topher Spiro writes in yesterday’s New York Times, the high prices of some medical devices raise a number of other important policy issues.


5 Things That Health Reform's Medical Device Tax Won't Do

October 15, 2013

Policymakers and lobbyists pushing for repeal of health reform’s medical device tax as part of a deal to reopen the government have made numerous claims about the tax, many of which are misleading or simply false.  Below are five things that the tax won’t do.

  1. It won’t apply to wheelchairs or any other
  2. ...

IPAB Provides Important Backstop Against Health Cost Growth

October 12, 2013

Some Republican senators suggest that upcoming budget legislation include changes to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a presidentially appointed commission created by health reform that will help to slow the growth of Medicare costs.  But repealing or weakening IPAB would be bad for Medicare’s beneficiaries, as we have ...

The Extremist Boehner Rule

October 7, 2013

Some House members are urging Speaker John Boehner to resurrect the so-called “Boehner Rule,” which demands that policymakers accompany any increase in the debt limit with equal or larger cuts in spending.  The Boehner rule would require the most radical transformation of government in nearly a century,...

Scare Talk on Medical Device Tax Doesn’t Square with Reality

October 1, 2013

Although the Senate rebuffed the House’s attempt to attach a repeal of health reform’s excise tax on certain medical devices to the fiscal year 2014 funding bill, the issue will likely resurface.  We recently updated our paper explaining why the 2.3 percent tax, which helps pay for extending health coverage to millions of uninsured...

CBO’s Timely Reminder on Federal Spending

September 25, 2013

In debates over the federal budget, you sometimes hear the claim that federal spending is “exploding.”  But updated projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show that most federal spending is actually falling as a share of the economy.  It’s a timely reminder as policymakers ponder their next move on deficits.

In a...

“Debt Prioritization” Is Simply Default by Another Name

September 19, 2013

Update, September 26: Although described as a “debt prioritization” measure, the provision in the continuing resolution that the House approved on September 20 really isn’t.  It would actually allow the Treasury to borrow funds that would not count toward the debt limit to pay interest and Social Security benefits.  While that would still leave the Treasury short of funds to pay other...

Long-Term Budget Outlook Challenging But Manageable, New CBO Report Confirms

September 17, 2013

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) new long-term budget projections show that putting the budget on a sustainable long-term course remains challenging but is significantly more manageable than in previous projections.

Under current law, the federal debt will edge down as a percentage of the economy during the rest...