William Arnone, CEO, National Academy of Social Insurance

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, nearly eight-in-ten Americans say that, when it comes to important issues facing the country, most Republican and Democratic voters not only disagree over plans and policies, but also cannot agree on basic facts.

Only 18% of Republicans and 23% of Democrats surveyed said that voters of the two parties can agree on basic facts, even if they disagree over policies and plans. Among the differences in respondents of the Pew survey, their ages were most telling. Younger Americans were less likely than older Americans to say that the two parties cannot agree on basic facts.

The Academy’s primary obligation is to ensure that any serious national debate about social insurance is based on evidence and facts, instead of myths and unsupported opinions. We are committed to activities that: examine the role of social insurance in our economy and society, with particular emphasis on mitigating inequality and the changing range of risks facing people; educate policymakers, advocates, researchers, students, and the media about our findings; and engage more of our Members, supporters, and other stakeholders in our endeavors.

In this spirit, our 31st annual policy conference to be held in DC on Thursday, January 31, 2019  will examine the intergenerational role of social insurance, with a focus on Millennials and younger generations. Our 2019 conference planning committee is comprised mostly of Academy Members under age 40, including those who received symbolic torches at our 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2017. The committee is developing issues to be addressed at the conference and identifying presenters, as well as innovative ways to engage participants.

Among the themes and issues the 2019 conference may address are:

  • The growing evidence of risks to which younger generations are exposed (e.g.,  various work arrangement trends, the next recession and unemployment insurance, types of debt, including student loans)
  • How social insurance programs might adapt to become more relevant to, and useful for, younger working families, without undermining the effectiveness of existing programs (e.g., by supporting child care, long-term services and supports, and family leave)
  • Intergenerational benefits conferred by existing social insurance programs (e.g., funding health care and  retirement to relieve younger relatives of some financial responsibilities for elders)
  • Long-range financing of current programs (e.g., Social Security, Medicare)
  • Healthcare options (e.g., Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid)
  • Attitudes toward governmental and other institutions among Millennial voters and other age groups, and implications for the efficacy of democracy in addressing economic risks through social insurance

We are excited about the conference’s potential to help make social insurance concepts and current programs more relevant to younger generations, while also exploring emerging risks that are not addressed by these programs.

As always, we welcome your suggestions about all aspects our 31st annual policy conference, including:

  • Topics
  • Presenters
  • Format
  • Sponsors

Please send them directly to me at warnone@nasi.org.

Posted on: September 6, 2018


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