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Expert Predictions of the Outcome in King vs. Burwell

In Washington Monthly, TCF fellow Harold Pollack analyzes how the predictions of policy experts for the Supreme Court's decision in King v. Burwell, the case regarding Obamacare, fared:

Judging by my admittedly-clunky informal poll, the Obama administration’s emphatic victory surprised many close observers on both sides. Many Democrats reported that the plaintiffs had more than 0.5 probability of winning. Otherwise, why would the Supreme Court have jumped to take the case? We may never know the answer to that question.

Pollack's full column is available here.

Tags: supreme court, obamacare, king v. burwell, healthcare

Ten days that turned America into a better place

In The Guardian, TCF fellow Michael Cohen looks to make sense of an extraordinarily eventful ten-day stretch in American history:

Nations do not usually change course on a dime and one must be careful not to overstate what’s happened. But in the 10 days after a uniquely American tragedy, this diverse, rancorous, often conflicted nation became slightly freer, slightly more generous, slightly more cognizant of its past and slightly more progressive than it was before. To paraphrase vice-president Joe Biden, that’s a big deal.

Read Cohen's full column here.

Tags: supreme court, obamacare, marriage equality, confederate flag, aca

How to make Obamacare better

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's federal subsidies. TCF fellow Michael Cohen spoke with healthcare experts, including TCF fellow Harold Pollack, to contemplate what improvements could be made to Obamacare.

There needs to be more money and better training for health care navigators, exchange websites need to be made more intuitive to help consumers make the best insurance decisions, and, above all, insurance companies should be forced to maintain up-to-date provider lists so consumers know, in advance, which doctors they can see. Now that Obamacare is free from legal challenges, perhaps the private sector can fill some of this gap.

Cohen's full column is available here.

Tags: obamacare, healthcare reform, healthcare policy, affordable care act, aca

The Greatest Trolling Exercise in the History of Health Policy Is Over

With today's Supreme Court King v. Burwell decision, the Affordable Care Act has been upheld, and millions of Americans will remain covered by the law of the land. TCF fellow Harold Pollack discusses the decision and why he's glad that the "trolling exercise" is over and that politicians on both sides of the aisle can now get back to work on improving health care.

The government’s emphatic victory certainly embeds ACA more firmly in American life. Of course the political battle continues into the 2016 presidential election. If a Republican wins, major components of ACA will be constrained or altered. If a Democrat wins, many more states will participate in ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The components of ACA will become a more normalized arena of American interest-group and party politics. In either case, now that millions of people receive subsidized health coverage, and millions more enjoy other benefits associated with the new law, ACA is here to stay. 

Read Pollack's piece in POLITICO.

Book Review: We Are Better Than This

Writing for the CFA Institute, Matthew Gelfand reviews TCF fellow Edward Kleinbard's We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money. Gelfand discusses the significance of Kleinbard's book for the financial industry.

"Kleinbard has written two books in one. The first is a philosophical road map of the progressive case for economic policies on income distribution, infrastructure spending, and social insurance, among others. This discussion is of less utility to financial analysts but—despite Kleinbard’s clear philosophical leanings—is worth mentioning here because his comments on the topic establish that he is a nonideological student of fiscal policy."
"The second book-within-a-book will be of interest to financial analysts who want to understand the mechanics of fiscal policy. It is an informed instruction manual that draws on a large body of data and insightful analysis yet drives forward in layman’s terms rather than economic jargon."

The rest of Gelfand's review is available here.

Tags: tax system, tax reform, social security, fiscal policy, economic policy

We Can’t Talk About Housing Policy Without Talking About Racism

A Clinton-era study called Moving to Opportunity (MTO) that looked at the effects moving individuals out of high-poverty neighborhoods with vouchers and into census-tracts with less than 10 percent poverty to see if this would improve their life outcomes. TCF fellow Stefanie DeLuca countered the article and says that programs like this do not go far enough to assist those living in poverty.

For DeLuca and Rosenblatt, there’s plenty that MTO did right but confronting endemic poverty and segregation requires a more systematic approach. That is, something perhaps more akin to the Baltimore Mobility Program (BMP), through which 2,400 Baltimore families have relocated since 2003. Whereas MTO offered housing search counseling to program participants, BMP provided that plus post-move counseling, second move counseling if necessary, and financial literacy and credit repair training.

Read the full article featuring Stefanie DeLuca's work.

Tags: low-income families, inner city, baltimore housing mobility program


Social Insurance

Social Insurance

Compared to other advanced nations, America’s retirement security and health care systems offer weaker protections against risks we all face. The Century Foundation’s work focuses on ideas for strengthening Social Security, pensions, and health care – including steps for building on the Affordable Care Act.

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