The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both the severe inadequacy and major inequities in our country's caregiving infrastructure, including the high out-of-pocket costs of long-term services and supports (LTSS). For many families, care demands may become unmanageable, or manageable only at significant cost to family members’ health, well-being, income, and careers.
Emphasizing stakeholder voices and new partnerships The Academy’s 33rd annual policy conference, Pathways to Economic Security: Bringing All Voices to the Table, was held virtually on March 2-4, 2021. Stakeholders' perspectives led policy conversations around economic security throughout the keynotes, panel dialogues, and workshops. (While we are all stakeholders in economic security
When Medicare was enacted 55 years ago, the minimum eligibility age was selected to match the full retirement age of 65 for Social Security. Prior to Medicare, the elderly were the most likely to be in poverty, had medical expenses twice as high as those under 65, and only half of retirees had any source of health coverage. Together, Social Security and Medicare are crucial to protecting the health and financial security of over 60 million older people and younger people with a disability.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has called for lowering Medicare’s eligibility age to 60. What are the potential impacts and policy design issues to consider?
Proposals to adapt Medicare to extend coverage to new beneficiary populations present a significant set of technical and program design challenges. As a leading hub for health policy experts, the National Academy of Social Insurance formed the Study Panel on Medicare Eligibility to examine the options for, and implications of, extending eligibility for Medicare beyond the current covered populations.
The Academy’s 32nd annual policy conference explored the implications of using Medicare as a coverage expansion platform for the overall health care system. Below are a few highlights and key takeaways from the convening.
Speaker slides and more info can be found on the conference page.
Healthcare and the 2020 Elections
The political air is charged these days with claims that various policy ideas, like Medicare-For-All and the Green New Deal, are “socialistic.” Such charges have been made in American history since the late 19th century, often in response to bold new policy concepts put forward to address gaps in income and health care security. This leads us to revisit a fundamental question – what differentiates Socialism from Social Insurance?
Social Insurance as Collective Action
In the words of Robert M. Ball, Founding Chair of our Academy: “Social insurance derives its unique strength from the principle that the best form of self-protection is mutual aid on a universal scale; when everyone contributes, everyone can be protected.” Academy Member and historian Edward D. Berkowitz also quotes Bob Ball:
With most Americans focused on taxes this month, it’s a good time to take a look at the relationship between federal income taxes and social insurance contributions.
Overview of Federal Taxes and Distributional Effects
The latest report by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Overview of the Federal Tax System As In Effect for 2019, provides a comprehensive starting point. This report breaks out the current federal tax system into four elements:
The Academy’s 31st annual policy conference – Regenerating Social Insurance for Millennials and the Millennium – was by all measures a success. It represented a different approach to one of the Academy’s signature events in both style and substance.
Achieving Access to Health Care Coverage and Services to Promote Economic Security and Ability to Participate in Work
“The first wealth is health.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson offered this observation in The Conduct of Life published in 1860, and the statement remains centrally true to the human condition today. The simple sentence belies the range of factors that have an impact on the health of individuals and populations, including the social insurance and other public policies that affect the ability to maintain health insurance and to obtain access to necessary health care services on a consistent basis throughout the lifespan. Good health is essential to the ability of people to participate effectively in education, productive work, recreation, and civic and community life. The current political and economic environment presents several threats as well as opportunities for ensuring access to health care across the generations.