2020 Discussion Archive

Friday, May 15, 2020

Focusing efforts on reducing costs of COVID-19 for those least able to bear them

Elaine Weiss, Lead Analyst for Income Security

Over the past two months, it has become clear that, like many other crises to hit the United States in recent decades – Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, and Maria and the floods and droughts that have wiped out farms across the Midwest and California – the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately hurting those with the fewest resources to cope. The second Virtual Roundtable in the Academy’s Responding to COVID-19 series highlighted these realities.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Social Security's Financing and Benefits

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

The 2020 Report of the Social Security Trustees, released on April 22nd, notes that, using its best-estimate assumptions, the reserves of the combined Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds along with projected program income are sufficient to cover projected program cost over the next 10 years. By 2035, however, these combined reserves are projected to be depleted. Unless Congress acts, the projected revenues will be sufficient to pay only 79% of scheduled benefits.

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Posted on May 12, 2020  |  Write the first comment
Friday, May 8, 2020

Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis: Impacts on the Disability Community

Bethany Cole, Research Assistant for Health Policy

On Tuesday, May 5th, 2020, Academy Members and partners convened for the Academy's third Virtual Roundtable on Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis: Impacts on the Disability Community, moderated by Rebecca Vallas, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. The online discussion featured three Academy experts:

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Posted on May 8, 2020  |  Write the first comment
Monday, April 20, 2020

In Memoriam: Paul O'Neill

William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

Academy Founding Member Paul H. O’Neill passed away on April 18th. Paul O’Neill’s career was characterized by candor, foresight, and courage. His tenure at Alcoa was marked by his commitment to worker safety and better labor relations. As Treasury Secretary in 2001 and 2002, he opposed tax cuts and urged more aggressive measures to combat global warming. He prided himself on being a non-ideological pragmatist who valued facts and evidence.

Before serving as Secretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush, O’Neill was Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Alcoa and President of International Paper. He also served as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (then called the Bureau of the Budget). His first job after graduating college was at the U.S. Veterans Administration.

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Posted on April 20, 2020  |  6 comments  |  Add your comment
Friday, April 17, 2020

Biden’s proposal to lower Medicare eligibility to 60: Design options and potential impacts

Bethany Cole, Research Assistant

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?


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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Unemployment Insurance Benefit Adequacy and Recipiency Report

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst for Income Security

State Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs support individual workers between jobs and serve an important role in supporting the economy as a whole during downturns. However, they have been eroding for several decades, handicapping their capacity to fulfill these important roles. Unfortunately, neither state agencies nor the federal government responded to the alarm bells being sounded by researchers and advocates until the COVID-19 pandemic put them in stark relief for all to see.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

COVID-19 pandemic spotlights both critical importance of and structural gaps in Unemployment Insurance

Robert Pavosevich, Office of Workforce Security, Department of Labor (Former)

Stephen Wandner, Senior Fellow, National Academy of Social Insurance

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst for Income Security, National Academy of Social Insurance

Researchers have been sounding the alarm about weaknesses in our Unemployment Insurance (UI) program for many years. Unfortunately, it has taken a pandemic for state governments and Congress to pay attention. As a result, this core social insurance program will not be able to perform its key functions – supporting individual workers and their families in challenging times and acting as a financial cushion – to full effect. Workers, especially the most vulnerable ones, will suffer more harm than they should in the coming months, and the nation’s economy will not receive the much-needed boost it could and should have.

The good news is that we have a unique opportunity at this moment, when Congress is exploring and enacting a broad range of policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis, to not only provide temporary emergency UI benefits, but to shore up and reform the program in several key ways.

The Erosion of UI

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Monday, March 30, 2020

CARES Act Rebates: Who, How Much, When, and How?

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

Historic legislation passed by the Senate (S. 3548) and the House (H.R. 748) – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – and signed into law on March 27, 2020, includes the provision of one-time payments to individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements. The effectiveness of the CARES Act’s one-time infusion of financial assistance to eligible individuals will need to be assessed, as Congress works to further address the economic catastrophe confronting our nation.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Study Panel on Medicare Eligibility: Message from the Co-Chairs

Marilyn Moon and Cori Uccello

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.

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Posted on March 26, 2020  |  Write the first comment
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Healthcare Coverage and Costs: Assessing Medicare-Based Approaches (Conference Recap)

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

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Posted on March 19, 2020  |  Write the first comment
Monday, March 16, 2020

COVID-19 and Social Insurance

William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer

COVID-19, officially a pandemic as of March 11 (WHO), has generated proposals to deal with the health and income security needs of all Americans. This article serves as a summary of some of the latest proposals (as of March 15**) and issues to address.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Recognizing African-American Leaders

In honor of Black History Month, the National Academy of Social Insurance wishes to recognize African American public servants who have led the nation’s major federal social insurance programs, Social Security and Medicare, as well as the Department of Labor, which plays a role in state-based social insurance programs, Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance.

(In alphabetical order)

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Posted on February 19, 2020  |  Write the first comment
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The importance of values-driven social insurance

William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

The month of February typically connotes a “V”- phrase: Valentine’s Day. For me, another word comes to mind: values.

What are the underlying values that make social insurance resonate with most Americans? Is there a normative framework through which social insurance might be viewed?

Media coverage seldom focuses on the core principles that drive discussions of programs and proposals. Yet, such principles are critical to truly understanding the rationale for, and philosophy of, programs like Social Security, Medicare, Workers’ Compensation, and Unemployment Insurance. They are also fundamental to policy debates about these programs’ futures.

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Posted on February 19, 2020  |  2 comments  |  Add your comment
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Paid Family Leave and Designing Social Insurance Options

In last evening’s State of the Union speech, President Trump highlighted paid family leave as one of his Administration’s priorities.

In June 2019, the National Academy of Social Insurance issued an in-depth report, Designing Universal Family Care, in partnership with Caring Across Generations. The report was developed over a year of deliberations by a Study Panel of 29 experts in care policy from a variety of perspectives. Academy members Marc Cohen, Co-Director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, and Heidi Hartmann, former President and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, served as Study Panel Co-Chairs.

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Posted on February 5, 2020  |  Write the first comment
Monday, January 27, 2020

In Memoriam: Pete Stark

Bill Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance


Congressman Fortney H. "Pete" Stark passed away on January 24, 2020. To read Congressman Stark’s official obituary or to share your memories of Pete and read memories shared by others, please visit:

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Posted on January 27, 2020  |  Write the first comment