This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget and taxes, the economy, health policy, safety net programs, and housing policy.
- On the federal budget and taxes, we debunked the claim that roughly half of Americans pay no taxes. Kelsey Merrick noted that Pell Grants are doing less to help low- and moderate-income people afford college.
- On the economy, Chad Stone explained that while the jobs market is doing better, it needs to improve further to address the nation’s large jobs deficit.
- On health policy, Paul Van de Water countered arguments for eliminating the health reform law’s cost-cutting Independent Payment Advisory Board. Sarah Lueck noted that the Administration’s new rules for the health insurance exchanges that health reform calls for include important improvements. Jesse Cross-Call explained why Rhode Island’s experience under a Medicaid waiver is not a good indicator of how a Medicaid block grant would affect states.
- On safety net programs, LaDonna Pavetti showed that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has become much less effective as a safety net over time, and we updated our map showing how many weeks of unemployment insurance benefits are available across the country.
- On housing policy, Douglas Rice cautioned that the President’s 2013 budget doesn’t fully renew housing assistance for low-income households.
In other news, we released reports on why repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) would be a mistake, TANF’s decreasing role as a safety net, the President’s 2013 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, factors that states should consider regarding health reform’s Basic Health option, and claims that Rhode Island’s cap on federal Medicaid funding has generated large state savings.