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Chained CPI Makes Sense Only Under Certain Conditions

February 20, 2014

We’ve long said that the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) for cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other retirement programs could be a reasonable part of a comprehensive deficit-reduction package — but only under certain conditions.  In the absence of those conditions, the President’s decision not to include...

Still More Bogus Economics From the Medical Device Industry

February 20, 2014

The medical device industry’s trade association, AdvaMed, has released a survey of manufacturers claiming that health reform’s 2.3-percent excise tax on the devices has forced them to move operations overseas, eliminate U.S. jobs, and cut back research and development.  But we debunked...

Why Health Reform Provides Subsidies in All States

February 18, 2014

Two CBPP board members — Henry Aaron and Robert Reischauer — and I are among the 48 economists who filed a brief in federal court yesterday explaining why health reform authorizes the provision of premium subsidies, an essential part of health reform, in all states.

Some opponents of health reform have filed a lawsuit claiming...

Proposed Changes in Budget Process Would Be Counterproductive

February 10, 2014

The House Budget Committee will consider two bills tomorrow that would mark a step backward for the budget process.

  • The Budget and Accounting Transparency Act (H.R. 1872) would add an extra amount to the recorded budgetary cost of federal credit programs, beyond their actual cost to the government, to
  • ...

“Generational Accounting” Far More Likely to Obscure than Illuminate

February 6, 2014

Generational accounting is a method of comparing the effects of budget policies on people born in different years.  But it is hard to interpret and easily misunderstood, and including it in regular budget reports and cost estimates, as the proposed Intergenerational Financial Obligations Reform (INFORM) Act would require, would be a mistake, as we explain in a...

“Save American Workers Act” Would Put More Workers at Risk

February 3, 2014

The House Ways and Means Committee plans to mark up tomorrow the “Save American Workers Act,” a bill to raise the threshold for full-time work under health reform from 30 to 40 hours a week.  As we have previously explained, however, this move would...

Portman Disability Proposal: Correcting the Record

January 13, 2014

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has seriously mischaracterized his proposal to curtail the joint receipt of Social Security disability insurance (DI) and unemployment insurance (UI).  He says that it would merely “[end] double-dipping between unemployment and disability benefits,” but...

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...