Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution and Maya MacGuineas of the New America Foundation offered a plan last week to reduce federal deficits and push down debt held by the public to 60 percent of gross domestic product by 2020. The plan explicitly recognizes that it would be unrealistic to hold federal revenues and outlays to the averages of recent decades, a topic on which we’ve recently written. We commend Galston and MacGuineas for proposing reasonably specific tax increases and spending cuts rather than relying largely on mechanical formulas that avoid making the hard choices.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The Senate is expected to vote today on a proposal from Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) to overturn federal regulations related to some of the Affordable Care Act’s key health insurance market reforms that took effect last week.
Today, we sat down with Jim Horney, the Center’s Director of Federal Fiscal Policy, to discuss how federal programs are affected by the start of the new fiscal year.
In addition to the sharp funding cuts we noted yesterday, another major component of the legislative blueprint some House Republicans issued yesterday is near-full repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — i.e., health reform. In its place, the House Republicans propose the same policies they offered as an alternative to health reform last fall.
Today, we sat down with January Angeles, health policy analyst, to discuss an important milestone for the health reform law that takes place this week.
The Census Bureau data for 2009 reflect the severity of the recent recession, as poverty rose sharply and the number of uninsured spiked. The new figures somewhat overstate the rise in poverty, however, because they do not count the bulk of direct assistance that the 2009 Recovery Act provided to households, which kept millions of Americans from falling into — or deeper into — poverty (as a broader measure of poverty that Census will release later this year is sure to show).
Today’s Census Bureau report shows that the number and share of Americans without health insurance rose by 4.3 million and 1.3 percentage points, respectively — the largest single-year increases on record on data that begin in 1999.
Since last October, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued several projections of national health spending under various versions of health reform legislation, the most recent of which came out last Thursday. Each time, health-reform critics have contended that the projections show that health reform won’t slow the growth of health care costs. And each time (see here, here, and here), we have explained why the critics are wrong. So here we go again.
The Senate will vote tomorrow on an amendment to small business legislation that would seriously weaken an essential element of the new health reform law — the requirement that individuals obtain health insurance or pay a penalty — and eliminate preventive care funding aimed at reducing the onset of chronic diseases and improving overall health.