A hefty statistic on the collective number of seats in government that Democrats have lost since President Obama took office in 2009 has been making the rounds lately. But as TCF fellow Michael Cohen writes, while these numbers may be "ugly," they are slightly misleading. What's more, they fail to recognize the major gains that Obama and the Democratic majority achieved during his first few years in office — including passing Obamacare into law.
It’s not surprising that, in a horserace political environment, we overemphasize political results. And there are certainly negative consequences for Democrats of losing so much political ground, particularly in state legislatures. It will take years to claw those seats back, and Republicans still have the ability to repeal major elements of Obama’s legislative legacy. But ultimately, Democrats were likely going to lose many of those seats anyway — what matters most is not politics, but policy, and what Democrats did with their fleeting majorities.
Read the rest of Cohen's article in the Boston Globe.
There's been a longtime stigma that suggests welfare recipients are often also users of illicit drugs. In reality, welfare recipients are no more likely to involved with drug use and testing often turns out to be a pointless endeavor. TCF fellow Harold Pollack is quoted in a Salon article saying that this process is only shaming welfare recipients. He says:
University of Chicago social scientist Harold Pollack, who has studied drug use among recipients of welfare (TANF) benefits, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “However one runs the numbers, illicit drug use disorders are not common among welfare recipients. Other physical and mental health problems are far more prevalent. Yet these less-moralized concerns receive much less attention from legislators or the general public.”
Read the full Salon article about drug testing.
The resources available to women that claim to provide reproductive health services may not always be as open and genuine as they claim to be, an issue that needs to be addressed to keep women healthy and safe.READ MORE
TCF fellow Harold Pollack responded to the recent shooting on an Oregon college campus, saying that if we are to use mental illness as a scapegoat for many shootings, then we must seriously consider providing better treatment to patients. He suggests better treatment in the form of Medicaid expansion—as opposed to gun reform.
Cornyn’s proposal does not address the most glaring issue in American mental health policy: the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion was always the public health cornerstone of ACA. It remains the single most important measure to expand access to mental health and addiction treatment, serving severely vulnerable populations such as the homeless, addressing the complicated medical and psychiatric difficulties of many young men cycling through our jails and prisons.
Check out the rest of Pollack's article on Medicaid expansion via the Washington Post.
TCF fellow Harold Pollack authored a piece featured in Democracy Journal, which praises the already successful Affordable Care Act, and goes beyond to offer specific policy upgrades that could make the system even more of a win. He suggests:
1.) Allow employed parents greater access to the new marketplaces, and allow employers greater flexibility to offer—or not offer—health insurance coverage.
2.) Hire a new corps of 10,000 full-time federal enrollment assisters to help Americans enroll in Medicaid or the new marketplaces.
3.) Offer “public option” early Medicare coverage within health insurance marketplaces to people over 60.
Read Pollack's expanded explanation for his policy recommendations.
TCF fellow Harold Pollack wrote in Washington Monthly's "Ten Square Miles" that despite the U.S. healthcare and insurance system being a disaster, the nation's mortality rate has surely impressively improved in terms of human mortality rates. Pollack shares some graphs that show these findings:
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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