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Who will care for my brother-in-law Vincent?

TCF fellow Harold Pollack comments on the fate of individuals who are the recipients of intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) services. In his article for the Chicago Sun Times, he describes the unfortunate circumstances of some states' tax laws that result in minimal funding for allowances and other disability services.

Residents of intermediate care facilities received $30. Imagine if that were all you had for an entire month to cover everything from the copayment on some medicine, a dental visit, the occasional tee-shirt or pair of socks, cup of coffee, or trip to McDonald’s.

Read Pollack's full Opinion article.

Tags: intellectual disability, disability services, disability program, budget deficit, allowance

Another False Alarm on the Costs of Medicaid Expansion

A key question in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is how much the new law's expansion of Medicaid will cost states. In Washington Monthly, TCF fellow Harold Pollack notes a "false alarm" in a new report, which says that costs will increase, but only in the short run, and most of those costs will not fall to the states:

I hunted down the report and ran the numbers. The actuaries did indeed predict higher costs—but almost all in the first year when states wouldn’t have to pay any of these costs. (The higher costs seem to reflect pent-up demand and perhaps more pregnant women than predicted in this particular Medicaid pool. I would like to learn more about what’s happening as states gain experience in the expansion population.)

Pollack's full assessment is available here.

Tags: medicaid expansion, healthcare reform, economic policy, affordable care act

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.


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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