off the charts
POLICY INSIGHT
BEYOND THE NUMBERS

You are here

Limiting the Disability Insurance-Unemployment Insurance Overlap

January 10, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has proposed curtailing the joint receipt of Social Security disability insurance (DI) and unemployment insurance (UI) to help pay for extending federal UI benefits.  Reid’s DI proposal — which is identical to a proposal in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget — is far preferable to a harsher one by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), although it raises...

Slowing of Health Care Spending Is Good News for the Budget

January 8, 2014

Health spending growth in 2012 remained low for the fourth consecutive year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports,...

Trade Agreement Threatens to Increase Drug Prices

November 15, 2013

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a trade agreement that the United States and 11 other Pacific-rim countries are negotiating — could raise the cost of prescription drugs and increase health-care spending by governments and private payers.

TPP negotiations are largely secret.  Although the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) consults with representatives of the drug and...

“Forty Hours Is Full Time Act” Would Be Step Backwards

November 14, 2013

A small bipartisan group of senators has asked Senate Budget Committee leaders to include their Forty Hours Is Full Time Act in a final fiscal year 2014 budget resolution.  But raising the...

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.

Health...

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,...

Pages