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October 28, 2010

As Americans renew their health insurance for the coming year, many are finding their premiums are going up. Insurance companies are raising rates — in some cases dramatically — and some are telling their customers that the new health reform law is to blame, as NPR reported this morning. But as the NPR story explains, health reform is hardly at fault for rising premiums.

October 27, 2010

Many low-income families living in public housing have to cope with crumbling ceilings, faulty plumbing, and other unmet repair needs, the New York Times reported Monday. The main cause is a lack of capital funding to repair and renovate the developments, most of which were built decades ago. Fixing this problem is critical to the long-term success of this essential program.

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Senior Director for Housing Policy and Research

October 26, 2010

In today's Q & A, we discuss how states are continuing to feel the recession’s impact with Policy Analyst Phil Oliff.

October 26, 2010

Most of the attention in this election season is going to candidates, but ballot questions in several states will greatly affect these states’ ability to maintain public services. Some of the ballot measures would make it easier for states to balance their budgets without excessive cuts in areas like education and health care. Others would make it much harder.

October 25, 2010

“State officials worry that sick people will gravitate to the [new health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act], while healthier people who do not need subsidies will buy insurance outside [them],” the New York Times noted on Saturday. Such an outcome, known as adverse selection, could ultimately drive up the cost of coverage in the exchanges significantly and threaten their long-term viability. A report from Health Policy Analyst Sarah Lueck explains how states can design their exchanges to minimize the risk of adverse selection. The introduction to that report is below; you can read the full report here.

October 25, 2010

Over 1.2 million Americans will face a cutoff in unemployment benefits in December if Congress (which returns to work for a week in mid-November) does not extend the emergency unemployment insurance program for the long-term unemployed before it goes home for Thanksgiving, according to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project.

October 23, 2010

This week on Off the Charts, we blogged about income inequality, taxes, Social Security, and state budgets.

October 22, 2010

FactCheck.org has a useful analysis debunking the misleading and downright false statements about taxes in a chain email that’s been circulating the country. The email’s most egregious claim — that taxpayers will owe taxes on the value of their job-based health coverage starting next year — is simply untrue, FactCheck explains.

October 22, 2010

Kudos to sharp-eyed Seattle technology blogger Eric Engleman, who broke the news today that Texas issued a $269 million assessment against Amazon.com last month for failing to collect sales taxes on its sales in the state. Engleman spotted the disclosure in the company’s third-quarter earnings report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was issued yesterday.

October 21, 2010

In 1926, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that the rich “are different from you and me,” and Ernest Hemingway supposedly retorted, “Yes, they have more money.” The recent recession didn’t change things much.

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