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2010 Discussion Archive

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How Do We Provide Affordable Care For Millions Of People, Preserving Their Independence, Without Breaking Their Pocketbooks Or Bankrupting The Taxpayers?

Bob Rosenblatt
Senior Fellow, National Academy of Social Insurance

Each summer, NASI’s Somers Aging and Long-Term Care Research Internship program selects 5-7 graduate students to spend 12 weeks receiving high-quality training in policy research skills on challenging issues facing the diverse aging population of the United States.

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Posted on December 9, 2010  |  9 comments  |  Add your comment
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Compromise and Release in Worker's Comp

Frank Fennerty
Board Member, Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals

Since our State has never allowed Compromise and Release in Worker's Comp. I am curious if their are any studies on the impact of C&R on Worker's Comp. This will be a issue of importance in our upcoming legislative session.

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Posted on December 8, 2010  |  Write the first comment
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

What does the Report of the Fiscal Commission's Co-Chairs Mean for Social Security?

Ben Veghte
Income Security Research Associate, National Academy of Social Insurance

Social Security changes recommended by the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR) on December 1, 2010  include: extending coverage (to uncovered state and local employees); three benefit reductions (affecting the benefit formula, cost of living adjustments, and retirement age); two benefit increases (a new special minimum and a 5 percent boost for longtime recipients); and a revenue increase (lifting the cap on taxable wages). In addition, the recommendation to lower personal income tax rates would reduce revenues to Social Security funds from the taxation of benefits.

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Posted on December 2, 2010  |  Write the first comment
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

What does the Report of the Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs Mean for Health Policy?

Lee Goldberg
Director of Health Policy, National Academy of Social Insurance

The Co-chairs of the President’s Commission presented a number of policy proposals aimed primarily at reducing the growth spending on Medicare and Medicaid. Given the size of the two programs, some of these changes may impact health care spending patterns in the private economy, but many will simply shift costs to other payers. Few, if any, proposals would address the underlying growing demand for services triggered by an aging population and a long term care system that relies on private savings.

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Posted on December 2, 2010  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Why No Social Security COLA for 2011?

Ben Veghte
Income Security Research Associate, National Academy of Social Insurance

In January 2010, for the first time since 1975, when Social Security benefits were first indexed to the Consumer Price Index, Social Security benefits were not inflation-adjusted with a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), because the CPI-W had not increased from the third quarter of 2008 to that of 2009. Today, the Social Security Administration announced that 2011 will be the second consecutive year without a COLA.

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Posted on October 15, 2010  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Social Security and Budget Deficits: Don’t Lose Sight of the Facts

Janice Gregory
President, National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI)

With the release of the new Social Security Trustees annual report, we can expect to hear sharp debates on Social Security’s financial picture. We must ensure these discussions do not lose sight of some important facts. Despite concerns about Social Security’s long-term stability, the truth is that the program is in good financial shape and, with some sensible improvements, will continue to provide security to millions of American’s for generations to come

As in previous recessions, Social Security income and outgo today are performing as they were designed, as a counter-cyclical insurance program. That is, with more people out of work, contributions from wages decrease and more program participants retire sooner than they had planned. These facts are not a cause for alarm. Rather, they demonstrate the insurance function of Social Security and how critical it is to the economic security of American workers and their families.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy

Janice Gregory
President, National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI)

You might have heard about AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy, a national non-partisan conversation on June 26, 2010 on the federal budget. Thousands of people will weigh the options available, including options that affect our national social insurance programs, and will voice their priorities in 19 facilitated discussions in cities that are linked from location to location by satellite and webcast.

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Posted on June 9, 2010  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Social Insurance Approach to the Problem of Paying for Long-Term Care

Bob Rosenblatt
Senior Fellow, NASI

The United States is going to try something new – a social insurance approach to the problem of paying for long-term services and supports. As more and more of the 76 million baby boomers move into their 60s and beyond, there will be a growing population of people who need help with the activities of daily living (using the toilet, dressing, bathing, eating, getting in and out of bed, walking around in the house or apartment). To date, this has been a private responsibility, with individuals and families providing care or paying for it out of their own funds. The government gets involved only if you go into a nursing home and “spend down,” using all your money until you have just $2,000. Then you qualify for Medicaid, the government’s health program for the poor.

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Posted on June 2, 2010  |  Write the first comment
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Focusing on Lifetime Income is the Best Way Women and Men Can Manage Their Retirement

Cindy Hounsell
President, Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER)

The topic of retirement security has implications for a range of stakeholders—the financial services industry, employers, policymakers, individuals and their families, and societies in general.  For so many years, so much of the public discussion on retirement income security has been about inadequate savings.  This subject continues to merit significant attention, but now we are starting to look at the phase of retirement itself and asking what people can do to ensure lifetime income and protect themselves from poverty.  All stakeholders have a role to play in reframing the way people think about retirement income.

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Posted on May 14, 2010  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Calling All Champions of Social Security

Harry C. Ballantyne
Cheif Actuary, Retired, Social Security Administration

In going to the Baltimore Museum of Art recently, I saw a painting that had, as an artist's name "Circle of Rembrandt." When I asked one of the docents at the museum what that meant, I found that originally, it was thought to be a painting by Rembrandt, but found later not to be. The painting turned out to be by one of Rembrandt's students, so they decided to credit the artwork to the name "Circle of Rembrandt."

Consequently, in honor of Bob Ball and his legacy, I think it would be fitting that future good (and, they would have to be good) ideas for improvements in the financing and adequacy of Social Security benefits may merit the name "Circle of Bob Ball."

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Contributions or Taxes? Two Social Security Funding Paradigms

Benjamin Veghte

April 15th is a day we contemplate our financial relationship to government. It thus provides a suitable occasion to reflect on the distinction between Social Security contributions and income taxes. In discussions of Social Security, many disagreements stem from the fact that we view its funding from within different paradigms, namely some of us see these payments as insurance contributions, others as just another form of income tax.  On this year’s Tax Day, this post considers the historical origins of this conceptual distinction, arguments for each of the two paradigms, and their implications for strategies of fiscal reform.

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Posted on April 15, 2010  |  Write the first comment
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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Addressing Health Reform Implementation Challenges

Pamela Larson

On Tuesday, March 31, 2010, the last piece of historic health care reform legislation was signed into law. NASI members participated in a variety of ways – from crafting the legislation to scoring its costs and effects to debating its pros and cons.
 
In July of 2009, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) released a timely study panel report on Administrative Solutions in Health Reform, produced in conjunction with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
 
The study panel created a road map of administrative issues key to the successful implementation of the new legislation.
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Posted on April 1, 2010  |  Write the first comment
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Steve Goss, SSA's Chief Actuary, on the Death of Robert J. Myers

Stephen C. Goss

Robert "Bob" Myers was indeed the father of all actuaries who have worked on Social Insurance. As a junior actuary he was deeply involved in the development of the Social Security program even before its inception in 1935. As Chief Actuary at SSA he later did the development work and estimates for Medicare. Although contentious at times in the past, his relationship with Bob Ball reflected mutual respect and principles that now seem far closer together than they believed at the time. Bob was active, engaged, and advising to those who followed to the end. He is singularly responsible for the strength and principles now cherished and guarded at the office he formed. But he will be best remembered by many of us for his simple and modest disclaimer at the beginning of public comments for decades where he proclaimed himself "a lifelong student of Social Security."
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Posted on February 17, 2010  |  5 comments  |  Add your comment
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New PEW Survey Reinforces Findings of NASI Report on “Americans’ Views on Social Security”

Deric Joyner

According to a new PEW Research Center For the People and the Press survey report, “Public’s Priorities For 2010: Economy, Jobs, Terrorism,” Social Security ranks fourth in Americans’ top priorities for President Obama and the Congress for 2010, ranked just below the Economy, Jobs and Terrorism. The PEW poll shows that six-in-ten Americans (66%) say that securing the Social Security system should be a top priority. Near uniformity in opinion between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — (Dem. 68) (Rep. 62) (Ind. 66) — on Social Security provides further context on Americans overall opinion on the subject.

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Posted on January 27, 2010  |  Write the first comment
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