This week on Off the Charts, we focused on health policy, the economy, the federal budget and taxes, Social Security, state budgets and taxes, and housing.
On health policy, Edwin Park explained why the fact that Medicaid enrollment has significantly outpaced enrollment in the new health insurance marketplaces is neither a surprise nor a concern. Matt Broaddus described how the start of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) shows that early enrollment numbers aren’t a reliable indicator of health reform’s long-term performance. Sarah Lueck noted that a bill to allow insurers to offer non-compliant health care plans would undermine health reform. Paul Van de Water explained that raising the threshold for full-time work under health reform from 30 to 40 hours a week may encourage a shift to part-time work. He also warned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership could raise the cost of prescription drugs.
On the economy, Chad Stone highlighted his latest post for U.S. News & World Report, warning that jobless benefits will end abruptly for over a million Americans and be sharply curtailed for many more the week after Christmas.
On the federal budget and taxes, Sharon Parrott explained why pursuing flexibility for the President to shift sequestration cuts among programs is a distraction — or worse. Chuck Marr reminded budget negotiators looking for savings to replace sequestration to consider tax expenditures. We outlined three features of a well-designed agreement to replace sequestration.
On Social Security, Paul Van de Water explained that why the program is particularly important for minorities.
On state budgets and taxes, Michael Leachman showed that most of the states that cut funding for K-12 education the deepest alsocut income tax rates, reducing revenue that might have gone to schools.
On housing, Will Fischer pointed to both good and not-so-good housing ideas in the Congressional Budget Office’s new menu of deficit-reduction options.