Now, perhaps more than ever, the vital role of social insurance in providing economic and health security needs to be reinforced. Our focus must be not only on the urgent need for an effective national response to the distress caused by COVID-19, but also on the growing gaps in our social insurance, social assistance, and tax policy infrastructure that need to be addressed.
Long before the pandemic, we knew that our economy and society needed major structural improvements to enhance economic security. Now, more policy makers and the public are finally coming to that same realization. Let’s seize on this increased awareness to build systems that work for everyone and support our economy as social insurance does.
We need a cohesive menu of government solutions that address both the individual risks associated with widespread job loss and the community risks associated with a public health crisis. An a-la-carte approach to deal with risks that are too large for individuals, their families, and communities to handle – and that balkanizes Americans into groups that “deserve” help from the government and those that do not – will see disparities in income and overall inequality worsen.
How you can help
We need your ongoing support of our work. In addition to your treasure, your time and talent will be foundational to enabling us to fulfill our mission and make a real difference. Please share your suggestions and relevant writings with our community. They will add to our nation’s search for effective policy solutions.
On behalf of the Academy’s Board of Directors and staff, thank you and please stay well.
COVID-19 and Social Insurance (March 16, 2020): A summary of proposals and issues to consider as Congress was passing the first of several major bills in response to the pandemic.
CARES Act Rebates: Who, How Much, When, and How? (March 30, 2020): A summary of the rebates provisions in the CARES Act
COVID-19 Pandemic Spotlights Both Critical Importance of and Structural Gaps in Unemployment Insurance (April 8, 2020): A look at fixes Congress and states should consider
Paid Leave Provisions in Recent Federal COVID-19 Response Legislation (April 17, 2020): A summary of provisions pertaining to paid leave and discusses the impact on workers and their families
Analyses of how federal COVID-19 relief legilsation impacts Medicare, Medicaid, and the Uninsured
- Analysis of how two central features of the Workers’ Compensation program are particularly challenging during the COVID-19 crisis.
We will continue to update our website with other resourcesby Academy staff and Members, to explore the wide range of social insurance issues that this pandemic is bringing to the forefront of our nation’s response.
Resources from partners
From the ARC, a fact sheet covering major issues addressed in (or not in) the CARES Act for people with disabilities. (View here)
Lessons from the last recession
Older but still relevant resources for the challenges we face today include:
- A 2011 piece by Member Wayne Vroman explaining why many state Unemployment Insurance programs were in such poor shape and a follow-up piece providing more detail.
- A look at the impact of unemployment and actions that Congress might take to support long-term unemployed workers.
- Public support for Social Security, especially during a major economic downturn and an important reminder of Social Security’s invaluable role during economic meltdowns.
- How critical social insurance programs keep people out of poverty during crises
- A book on Confronting Policy Challenges of the Great Recession: Lessons for Macroeconomic Policy – with articles by Members Gary Burtless, Brad DeLong, and Larry Summers.
- 2010 Policy Conference: Beyond the Bad Economy: Jobs, Retirement, Health, and Social Insurance, which we both co-chaired.
Other Academy activities related to COVID-19
Economic Security Study Panel
Launched in November 2019, the Economic Security Study Panel is examining the range of risks to economic security that Americans face, many of which have been made more evident and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Study Panel will be issuing its final report in January of 2021. It will identify options to modify and adapt current social insurance and other programs to better address these economic insecurities and risks that Americans face.
Virtual Roundtables for Members
April 7th on changes in Medicare and other health programs, Unemployment Insurance, and income supports (CARES Act rebates) as a result of the first three phases of federal legislation
April 21st on addressing the disproportionate impacts on low-income communities
May 5th on impacts of the pandemic on the disability community and the legislative response thus far
Future roundtables will examine other social insurance and related issues, including Universal Family Care, the changing dimensions of work, and Workers’ Compensation. (More TBA)
“Main Street” Virtual Forums
State-focused online forums in collaboration with Caring Across Generations. These events will highlight findings from our 2019 report, Designing Universal Family Care: State-Based Social Insurance Programs for Early Child Care and Education, Paid Family and Medical Leave, and Long-Term Services and Supports.
We continue to build on this track record of timely analyses and impactful research. Again, we welcome your suggestions for issues we should address and products we should pursue. Please contact Bill Arnone, CEO, at email@example.com.