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Keep the Medical Device Tax

April 22, 2015

The Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Health Care will hold a hearing tomorrow on the 2.3-percent medical device excise tax that Congress enacted to help pay for health reform.  We recently updated our...

Health - Money and Stethoscope

Health Costs Continue to Slow, Improving Budget Outlook

March 9, 2015

With health care cost growth continuing to slow, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now projects that federal health spending will be nearly $700 billion less over the 2011-2020 period than what CBO projected in ...


Few Disability Insurance Beneficiaries Could Support Themselves by Working

March 9, 2015

The Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program provides modest but vital benefits to workers who can no longer do substantial work due to a severe medical impairment.  Lawmakers will need to replenish...

“Generational Accounting” Is Misleading and Uninformative

February 24, 2015

The topic of “generational accounting” will likely surface when economist Lawrence Kotlikoff, who helped develop the approach over 20 years ago, testifies at tomorrow’s Senate Budget Committee hearing.  Generational accounting purports to compare the effects of federal...

Disability Allowance Rates Fall as Social Security Strengthens Oversight of Hearings

February 10, 2015

The rate at which Social Security administrative law judges (ALJs) approve claims for disability benefits dropped for the fifth straight year in 2014, new Social Security Administration (SSA) data show.  The ALJ allowance rate has fallen from 63 percent in 2008 and 2009 to 45 percent in 2014.  (See figure.)  Thus, claims that ALJs...

Projected Health Spending Has Fallen Since 2010, Even With Health Reform’s Coverage Expansions

January 28, 2015

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now projects that federal health spending — including the costs of health reform’s coverage expansions — will be about $600 billion less over 2011-2020 than CBO projected in January...

Case for Repealing Medical Device Tax Is as Weak as Ever

January 16, 2015

As the New York Times’ Robert Pear explained this week, health reform’s 2.3-percent excise tax on medical devices “has become a prime target for Republicans, some Democrats and a small army of lobbyists for the industry.  But a new report from the Congressional...

House Bill Raising Health Reform Threshold to 40 Hours Would Affect More Workers

January 6, 2015

House leaders have scheduled a vote this week to raise the threshold for health reform’s employer mandate from 30 hours of work per week to 40 hours.  House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell call the 30-hour threshold “an arbitrary and destructive...

Trade Agreement Needs to Protect Access to Affordable Drugs

December 18, 2014

AARP, the AFL-CIO, Doctors Without Borders, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, and Oxfam have written President Obama expressing several concerns — which we share — about the...

New York Times Warns Against “Dynamic Scoring”

December 8, 2014

A New York Times editorial this weekend raised several red flags about so-called “dynamic scoring” — that is, including estimates of the macroeconomic effects of policy changes in official cost estimates for tax and spending legislation.  We strongly agree.  Our recent...