This week on Off the Charts, we covered the jobs bill making its way through the Senate, a provision of the health reform law that will help young adults, a tax loophole, the origins of the deficit, and possible improvements to the WIC nutrition program for low-income mothers and children.
On Monday, Nicholas Johnson, director of state fiscal policy, commented on a David Broder column about cuts to education that are undermining reform efforts. Johnson pointed out that including more federal aid to states in the forthcoming jobs bill would help states avoid further cuts. When the Senate did just that on Wednesday, Michael Leachman, senior policy analyst, applauded the move. He also discussed how last year’s Recovery Act created jobs and boosted the economy in our latest Q & A.
Edwin Park, co-director of health policy, explained that some families with unemployed workers will face significantly higher health care costs if Congress fails to renew a Recovery Act provision that made COBRA coverage more affordable.
Also on health cost control, Sarah Lueck, health policy analyst, highlighted one of the first pieces of the new health reform law to take effect: starting this fall, insurers and employers that offer dependent coverage will have to allow parents to include children up to age 26.
On taxes, Chuck Marr argued for efforts that would partly close a tax loophole that enables equity fund managers to pay much lower tax rates on their income than other workers do. Kathy Ruffing, senior policy analyst, addressed recent comments by Rep. John Boehner about where the deficit came from.
And, Zoë Neuberger, senior policy analyst, questioned whether the extra $90 million that WIC spends each year on higher-priced infant formula is worth the cost.