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Vox’s Poor Measure of Food Affordability

July 23, 2014 COMMENTARY BY: Michael Cassidy TOPICS: Social Insurance

Mike Cassidy, TCF policy associate, responds to a Vox article by Matthew Yglesias detailing the new affordability of food in America. As it turns out, this isn't the reality for many low-income households.

Tags: vox, michael cassidy, matthew yglesias, low-income, infrastructure, inflation, food prices, food affordability

AIDS Researcher Who Died in Malaysia Airlines Crash Was A Scientific Hero

July 21, 2014 BY: Harold Pollack TOPICS: Social Insurance

TCF fellow Harold Pollack published a piece at New Republic discussing the AIDS researcher, Joep Lange, who died in the Malaysia Airlines crash.


A considerable, but as-yet unknown number of public health activists and researchers were apparently on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, headed to the huge international AIDS conference being held in Melbourne, Australia.
Joep Lange, the 2002–2004 president of the International AIDS Society, was one of those among the confirmed dead. A key figure in the Netherlands' outsized contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Lange was one of the world’s most distinguished researchers in this area. An early proponent of combination therapy in HIV treatment, he was a leader in efforts to make HIV medications accessible to low-income patients around the world.

Read the article here.

Tags: malaysia airlines crash, joep lange, harold pollack, airline crash, aids researcher

Poor Teens’ Health May Benefit From Top Schools

July 21, 2014 BY: Kyra Littlejohn TOPICS: Social Insurance

AP quotes TCF fellow Harold Pollack in a recent article discussing teen health.


Most of the selected kids chose to attend those schools, while 83 percent of those not picked went to schools with worse performance records. Math and English scores after freshman year were higher in selected kids than the other teens. Moreover, just 9 percent of the selected kids dropped out of school, versus almost 1 in 4 of the others.
Prof. Harold Pollack, a University of Chicago public health researcher, said the study is important and highlights the challenge — and need to — create "a much larger number of schools that serve kids well."
Pollack said better academic performance among the charter school kids is likely more important for their long-term health than their risky behavior choices. "Educational outcomes are just so critical for people's well-being," he said.

Read the article here.

Tags: teen health, health care, health and education, harold pollack

How Social Insurance Narrows the “Opportunity Gap”

July 18, 2014 BY: Mark Thoma TOPICS: Social Insurance

TCF fellow Mark Thoma publish a new piece at The fiscal Times discussing how social insurance narrows the "opportunity gap."


The justification for social insurance programs that protect workers is usually based upon the fact that employment in capitalist economies is subject to substantial variation due to cyclical fluctuations and structural change. Economic systems such as socialism have much less variation in employment since everyone, pretty much, is guaranteed a job. But the growth rate of output in those systems is not as high as it is in capitalist economies, and that leads to a lower average standard of living. 

Read more here.

Tags: social insurance, opportunity gap, mark thoma, insurance

Tobacco is Still America’s Top Health Threat. But Washington Doesn’t Treat it That Way.

July 14, 2014 BY: Harold Pollack TOPICS: Social Insurance

TCF fellow Harold Pollack published a recent piece at The Washington Post discussing how tobacco is still America's top health threat.


Kenneth Warner is the Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health at the University of Michigan.
One of the nation’s leading researchers on tobacco concerns, he served as Senior Scientific Editor of the 25th anniversary Surgeon General's report on smoking and health, published in 1989. He chairs the board of the international journal Tobacco Control, and was a founding member of the board of directors of the American Legacy Foundation. From 2001-2002 he served as the World Bank's representative to negotiations on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
I caught up with Warner last week for a conversation about the current challenge of tobacco control, and why the American public seems bored and jaded about our single largest public health problem

Read more here

Tags: washington post, smoking, harold pollack, american health

Let’s Talk About ‘Death Panels’

July 7, 2014 BY: Harold Pollack TOPICS: Social Insurance

TCF fellow Harold Pollack published a new piece at Politico discussing death panels.


Americans with most reason to worry about supposed death panels—individuals with disabilities or costly chronic conditions—rank among the most vocal supporters of health reform. The Arc, America’s leading advocacy organization for people living with intellectual disabilities, concluded in a 2012 report: “Numerous ACA provisions related to both acute care and long term services and supports hold great promise for improving the health and well-being of people with disabilities.”
Ironically, the ACA specifically (and rather foolishly) forbids considerations of cost-effectiveness and quality-of-life in a wide range of coverage decisions. Moreover, the experts who do want to aggressively deploy cost-effectiveness research in coverage decisions are much more passionate about needless endoscopies, back surgeries and CT scans than they are about end-of-life care. An Institute of Medicine report identified “priority topics” in which to apply comparative effectiveness research. None of their top 25 priorities were in end-of-life care.

Read the article here.

Tags: obama care, health care, harold pollack, death panel, affordable care act, aca


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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