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Friday, June 26, 2009

Administering Health Insurance Mandates

C. Eugene Steuerle
Vice President, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

Paul N. Van de Water
Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Mandates form an integral part of many proposals to expand health insurance coverage. Often, however, too little attention is paid to how and whether they can be administered.

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Posted on June 26, 2009  |  Write the first comment
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paying a Fair Share for Health Coverage and Care

Jill Bernstein
Health Policy Consultant

Expanding health coverage will involve changes in the premiums and taxes people pay for health insurance and the amounts they pay out-of-pocket for specific health care services. Payment arrangements must generate sufficient revenue, promote efficiency in health care delivery, assure access to care for people who have low income or are in poor health, and minimize administrative costs and burden. Paying a Fair Share for Health Coverage and Care evaluates alternative approaches—including social insurance programs, means-tested premium assistance, and income-related cost sharing—according to these criteria.

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Posted on June 24, 2009  |  Write the first comment
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy: Characterization of Social Security Trust Funds

A. Haeworth Robertson
Former Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration, 1975-78

The nature and significance of Social Security trust funds is sometimes misrepresented to the public. This appears to be the case in Social Security Brief #30 issued on May 12, 2009 by the National Academy of Social Insurance. The section of this brief entitled “Where does the Social Security surplus go?” states essentially the following:

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Posted on June 19, 2009  |  6 comments  |  Add your comment
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Strengthening Social Security Wage Reporting For Farm Workers

Barbara Robles
Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Arizona State University

Farm workers are at risk of not having their work count toward Social Security benefits because their employers may erroneously classify them as independent contractors or simply fail to pay Social Security taxes and report wages. Strengthening Social Security for Farm Workers: The Fragile Retirement Prospects for Hispanic Farm Worker Families supports legislation introduced in the 110th Congress, along with stronger enforcement of existing laws, to strengthen wage reporting. The proposal also notes that the changes would increase tax receipts and benefit the Latino farm worker population by increasing their Social Security benefits, providing better access to the Earned Income Tax Credit, and easing the burden on adult children of farm workers who have the triple burden of school debt, raising children and supporting aging parents.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Increasing Social Security Benefits for Low-Wage Single Retirees

Patricia E. Dilley
Professor of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Single retirees (that is, never married, divorced or widowed) are at high risk of being poor in old age. The decline in private pensions, rising out-of-pocket health costs, and declining housing values can be expected to make the already precarious financial situation of unmarried retirees even worse. Restoring Old Age Income Security to Low-Wage Single Workers proposes a change to the basic Social Security retired-worker benefit formula that would increase benefits for single retirees with at least 30 years of covered employment and low lifetime earnings. A second change would target single beneficiaries over age 85. Those who had at least 30 years of covered work, and received relatively low benefits (less than 75 percent of the average benefit), would receive a 10 percent benefit increase at age 85.

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