This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, health care, state budgets and taxes, and safety net programs.
On the federal budget and taxes, Paul Van de Water explained that proposed budget process changes before the House Budget Committee would be counterproductive. Joel Friedman argued that House-approved changes to military pensions would violate a key principle of the Murray-Ryan budget deal — that policymakers should not raise defense spending by cutting domestic programs. And we explained why a “clean” bill to raise the debt limit is a welcome change from Republicans’ recent — and costly — strategy of holding the debt limit hostage.
On health care, Edwin Park explained why delaying health reform’s employer responsibility requirement is no reason to delay the individual mandate. He also warned against believing the hype regarding forthcoming payment rates for Medicare Advantage plans. Jesse Cross-Call explained that states’ failure to adopt health reform’s Medicaid expansion has a severe human cost. Sarah Lueck explained that the big concern for the new insurance marketplaces is enrollees’ health, not age.
On state budgets and taxes, Erica Williams explained that a recent push by several states to expand earned income tax credits is great news for low- and moderate-income working families. Michael Mazerov highlighted new evidence that cutting state taxes is a poor way to attract entrepreneurs. We interviewed Vincent Palacios about our major new report that ranks states on their use of common-sense budget tools.
On safety net programs, ZoëNeuberger argued that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack should reject Congress’s recent call to add white potatoes to the WIC program.