This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and health care and concluded our special series on safety net programs.
- On the federal budget, Kelsey Merrick discussed how the cuts to Pell Grants for fiscal year 2012 that Congress recently agreed to would make it harder for many low-income students to afford college.
- On health care, Paul Van de Water explained why the premium support proposal from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Wyden would likely shift substantial Medicare costs to beneficiaries.
- On our special series on safety net programs, Stacy Dean elaborated on the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (i.e., food stamps) in helping families afford an adequate diet. Chad Stone showed that unemployment insurance plays a vital role in helping families stay afloat during periods of high unemployment. Indivar Dutta-Gupta concluded the series by noting that while the safety net works, we should do more to reduce poverty.
In other news, we held a media briefing on the Ryan-Wyden premium support plan for Medicare and released a report on the case against premium support.