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Medicare and Health Policy

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Socialism or Social Insurance?

Bill Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

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:

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Taxes, Contributions, and Social Insurance

Bill Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

 

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:

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Regenerating Social Insurance for Millennials and the Millennium: Lessons Learned

Bill Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

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.

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Achieving Access to Health Care Coverage and Services to Promote Economic Security and Ability to Participate in Work

Renée M. Landers, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School and Faculty Director, Health and Biomedical Law Concentration

“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.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

One of the Top Challenges Facing the Academy

William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

For all of us who are dedicated to the Academy’s mission – “increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security” – 2019 has the makings of a challenging year.

One of the top challenges facing us as we begin a new year is to develop and refine a common language that connects with the public at large. When distraction, detraction, and discord seem so prevalent in the nation’s political discourse, we need new ways to refocus the conversation on unifying issues that matter most to many. When it comes to providing greater economic security and reducing inequality in our nation, we need to reframe how we discuss social insurance, so that its enduring value as shared protection will be communicated more effectively.

If we were to measure the American people’s current understanding of social insurance, what might we find?

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