Happy New Year from all of us at CBPP. We started the year at Off the Charts by focusing on health reform, Social Security, food assistance, the federal budget and taxes, and jobs.
On health reform, Paul Van de Water explained that raising the threshold for the employer mandate to 40 hours would place more workers at risk of having their hours cut. Robert Greenstein rebutted the claim that raising the threshold would safeguard the 40-hour work week. Judy Solomon noted that residents of 34 states with federally run health insurance marketplaces won’t have to repay their premium tax credits regardless of the outcome of a related Supreme Court case. Matt Broaddus highlighted data showing that the uninsured rate among adults fell sharply in 2014, the first year of health reform’s major coverage expansions.
On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing described how a new House rule will make it harder to replenish Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund. She also explained why DI is an essential part of Social Security and listed key factors affecting disability receipt rates in different geographic areas.
On food assistance, Ed Bolen warned that about 1 million unemployed childless adults will lose SNAP (food stamp) benefits in 2016 as a three-month time limit for benefits returns in many states.
On the federal budget and taxes, we highlighted our recent report on a new House rule on “dynamic scoring,” which could ease the passage of deficit-increasing tax cuts.
On jobs, Chad Stone illustrated the December employment figures. Mike Leachman pointed out that local school jobs rose in December but are still far from recovered from the recession.