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In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:39:04 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on health care, poverty and inequality, state budgets and taxes, and food assistance.




Making Maternity Coverage Optional Would Raise Women’s Health Care Costs

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:51:48 +0000

“Women should be able to make the decisions that work best for them,” including whether their health coverage should include maternity benefits, says Seema Verma, President Trump’s nominee to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).







IRS: ACA’s Coverage Requirement Still in Effect

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 22:05:01 +0000

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate remains in force, so taxpayers “should file their tax returns as they normally would,” the IRS reminded taxpayers yesterday. Specifically, they should continue to indicate on their tax return whether they were insured last year or exempt from the requirement to have health coverage, or whether they owed a penalty for not having coverage.




Take Action to Get Health Coverage and Stay Covered

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 17:43:31 +0000

Some consumers may wonder whether to take steps to get and keep health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), given continual news about Republican plans to repeal the ACA, but the clear answer is, yes, take action. These plans provide access to medical care that includes free preventive services. Otherwise, individuals and families can find themselves uninsured and exposed to financial risk from medical expenses as well as penalties under the ACA for not having coverage. Here are three steps that consumers may need to take to stay covered and secure access to medical care.




Michigan Considering Replicating Kansas’ Failed Tax Cut “Experiment”

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:46:12 +0000

Michigan lawmakers are seriously considering bills to start phasing out the state’s income tax sooner than scheduled under current law. Both proposals would likely force some combination of deep cuts in critical services like education, health care, and infrastructure and increases in sales and other regressive taxes. And, just as Kansas learned from its disastrous “experiment,” cutting personal income taxes won’t likely boost the state’s economy in any meaningful way.




Trump Health Rule Would Raise Consumer Costs, Discourage Enrollment, Weaken Marketplaces

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:10:22 +0000

The Trump Administration proposed a sweeping rule for the individual health insurance market today that would raise consumers’ deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs, reduce premium tax credits that help millions of people buy insurance, and make it harder to enroll in coverage.




Lifetime Coverage Limits Have No Place in Medicaid

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:09:21 +0000

Arizona will soon send a proposal to the federal government to place a five-year lifetime limit on Medicaid coverage for adults under 65 who don’t have a disability. The government should reject the proposed time limit, which would lead to coverage losses and increase hardship among Arizona’s older, low-income residents.




In Poverty and Health Debates, Adults Without College Degrees Have Most to Lose

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:10:06 +0000

With the potential this year for substantial cuts in poverty reduction programs and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) repeal, people without a bachelor’s degree — including working-class whites — have the most at stake, our new analysis







Poverty Reduction Programs Help Adults Lacking College Degrees the Most

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:09:37 +0000

Poverty reduction programs play a much more critical role in the economic security of working-age adults who lack a bachelor’s degree, including working-class whites, than they play for adults with a college degree.




States Can Extract Lessons from Energy-Related Revenue Woes

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 18:08:12 +0000

Energy-producing states that rely heavily on volatile energy-related tax revenues offer a cautionary tale for other states, our new report shows.




Extracting Lessons for State Finances

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:24:36 +0000

The experiences of the energy-producing states demonstrate how better fiscal policy decisions would help lawmakers preserve and invest in the services that underpin their economies and quality of life.




Projected Health Spending Falling — Even with ACA’s Coverage Expansions

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:34:58 +0000

In its latest projections, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) continues to estimate that federal health spending — including the costs of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has enabled 20 million Americans to get coverage — will be less than what it had projected in 2010 without the ACA.




In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 21:40:00 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on state budgets and taxes, a constitutional convention, health care, and the economy.




Kansas Should Reject Call for Constitutional Convention

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 20:54:00 +0000

Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony on House Concurrent Resolution 5005.

My name is Michael Leachman. I am the research director for the State Fiscal Project at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C. We are a research institute that helps states make prudent fiscal policy decisions that build broad prosperity.




Affordable Care Act Repeal Puts Veterans’ Health Care at Risk

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 18:37:27 +0000

The uninsurance rate among non-elderly veterans has fallen by 42 percent since the major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect in 2014. Repealing the ACA, as congressional Republicans plan to do, would reverse these substantial coverage gains and exacerbate challenges facing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system.




Maryland Should Protect the Constitution by Rescinding Past Calls for a Constitutional Convention

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 19:59:16 +0000

Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of SJR 2. 

This is one of the worst times in our nation’s history to call a constitutional convention.  Opening the constitution to major changes would be folly at a time when the country is so deeply divided, when “fake news” and confusion are so prevalent, and when big corporations and other special interest groups have such a powerful influence over our political process.  Maryland should not allow others to count it as supportive of taking such an ill-considered and dangerous step.




Repealing Health Reform Would Undermine Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 16:36:48 +0000

Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would eliminate access to behavioral health treatment for several million people with serious mental illness or substance use disorders, including opioid addiction, our new paper explains.




Equating a Medicaid Per Capita Cap with Capitation Payments Is Highly Misleading

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 15:23:33 +0000

Congressional Republicans who support a per capita cap for Medicaid — including Senator Bill Cassidy, who’s co-sponsored a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act — have conflated such a cap with the widespread practice through which states reimburse health plans and some health care providers in their Medicaid programs through “capitated” payment arrangements.







State EITCs Build Broad Prosperity in Uncertain Times

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 16:07:49 +0000

State legislative sessions are starting amid great uncertainty about potential changes in federal policies that could leave millions of struggling families with less support to meet basic needs like food, housing, and health care. So state policymakers should bolster state services for these families. States can help people keep working, boost incomes, reduce financial hardship, and help build an economy that works for everyone by creating or expanding a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).




Trump Move Harms Retirement Savers, Helps Wall Street

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 14:44:27 +0000

President Trump has directed the Labor Department to review an Obama Administration rule requiring financial advisers to put their clients’ interests first. The directive will likely delay, and possibly derail, this conflict-of-interest rule (also known as the fiduciary rule), scheduled to take effect in April.




Bills Suggest Kansas Is Moving in the Right Direction

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:55:17 +0000

Five years ago, Kansas cut income taxes deeply, on the theory that it would generate a burst of economic growth.




Trump Proposals Could Make Marketplace Coverage More Expensive, Less Accessible

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:50:18 +0000

The Trump Administration appears poised to propose changes for the individual health insurance market that would raise premiums for older Americans, raise deductibles, and make it harder for consumers to enroll in coverage.




HB 2237 Would Help Kansas Get Its Fiscal House Back in Order

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:03:52 +0000

Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony on House Bill 2237.

My name is Michael Leachman.  I am the research director for the State Fiscal Project at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.  We are a research institute that helps states make good fiscal policy decisions. 

Five years ago, Kansas embarked on an experiment in state fiscal policy.  The hypothesis was that deeply cutting income taxes would generate a burst of economic growth.




SB 147 Takes Crucial Steps in the Right Direction, But More Needed

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:01:23 +0000

Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony on Senate Bill 147.

My name is Michael Leachman.  I am the research director for the State Fiscal Project at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.  We are a research institute that helps states make good fiscal policy decisions. 

Five years ago, Kansas embarked on an experiment in state fiscal policy.  The hypothesis was that deeply cutting income taxes would generate a burst of economic growth.




The Healthy Indiana Plan’s Uncertain Impact

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 19:24:45 +0000

Indiana just sent the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a plan to extend its Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0 — the state’s Medicaid expansion that HHS nominee Tom Price called a model for other states — for three years.




Revenue “Triggers” for State Tax Cuts Provide Illusion of Fiscal Responsibility

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 15:28:20 +0000

Triggered tax cuts have caused serious financial problems in some states that have adopted them and will likely continue causing problems as they kick in in additional states.




Phasing in State Tax Cuts Doesn’t Make Them Fiscally Responsible

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 15:11:42 +0000

Some states in recent years have enacted deep cuts in income taxes that phase in over several years rather than take effect all at once.  Eleven states[1] have enacted large, phased-in cuts in corporate or personal income taxes since 2011 that will cost a combined $8 billion a year once fully implemented.[2]  A number of these tax cuts will come on top of other large income tax cuts the state has already implemented.




In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 19:45:19 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on health care, the federal budget and taxes, food assistance, family income support, housing, and the economy.




The Applicability of “Public Charge” Rules to Legal Immigrants Who Are Eligible for Public Benefits

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 20:40:40 +0000

Some legal immigrants fear that if they receive public assistance, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) — or State Department will decide they are likely to become a “public charge.” A public charge finding may result in denial of permission to adjust to lawful permanent resident status, denial of a visa to enter the United States, denial of re-admission to the United States after a trip abroad for more than six months, or, in very rare circumstances, deportation.




The INS Public Charge Guidance: What Does it Mean For Immigrants Who Need Public Assistance?

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 20:12:32 +0000

Many legal immigrants fear that if they receive various public benefits, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or State Department will decide they are likely to become a “public charge.” A public charge finding may result in denial of permission to adjust to legal permanent resident status, denial of a visa to enter the United States, denial of re-admission to the United States after a trip abroad for more than six months, or, in very rare circumstances, deportation.




Policy Brief: TANF Cash Benefits Are Too Low to Help Families Meet Basic Needs

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 19:33:43 +0000

A core purpose of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program is to provide families that have fallen on hard economic times with cash assistance to help them meet basic needs.  But TANF benefit levels are low and have eroded in value since TANF’s creation in 1996.[1]  As of July 2016, benefits for a family of three with no other income:




Roth HSAs in Cassidy-Collins Plan: Little for Most Workers, Tax Shelters for the Top

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 19:05:31 +0000

Legislation from Senators Bill Cassidy and Susan Collins to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA)[1] would rely heavily on a new type of Health Savings Account (HSA) that people could draw upon to purchase health insurance or pay out-of-pocket costs.  The HSAs that their bill proposes, however, would do little to help low- and moderate-income people afford adequate health insurance while greatly expanding tax-sheltering opportunities for high-income people.[2]




Interactives: Watch SNAP Respond to the Economy, as Designed

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 16:55:17 +0000

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) responds to changes in the economy, growing to help those in need during recessions and then shrinking when the economy improves. Our two new interactive graphics illustrate how SNAP has responded to the economy, as designed, in recent years.




Medicaid Incentives Are Poor State Investments

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 15:42:38 +0000

Health and Human Services (HHS) nominee Tom Price called Indiana’s cost sharing and penalties in its Medicaid program “a best practice for states.” But these incentives for beneficiaries to use preventive care and avoid the emergency room are a poor investment — at best — the research shows. At worst, they cause hardship for poor families.




House Republicans’ Short-Term Health Proposals Don’t Address Repeal Disaster

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 19:49:24 +0000

Congressional Republicans who are leading efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) say they’re a "rescue party" for the individual health insurance market, but their ideas don't address the problems they’d create with an ACA repeal.




Existing Medicaid Flexibility Has Broadened Reach of Home- and Community-Based Services

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 14:55:03 +0000

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am Judith Solomon, Vice President for Health Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an independent, non-profit, nonpartisan policy institute located here in Washington.







Commentary: Signs Suggest Trump Budget Will Feature Unprecedented Cuts Plus Large Tax Cuts Favoring Wealthy

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:48:54 +0000

Mounting signs suggest that the forthcoming Trump budget may contain cuts harsher than those in House GOP budgets of recent years.




Sabotage Watch: Are ACA Opponents Trying to Undercut Enrollment So There’s Less Coverage to Replace?

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:07:19 +0000

This is the first in a series of posts that will track policy or process changes that would sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA) even without President Trump and Congress repealing it. These efforts put the health security of people at risk by weakening coverage, raising premiums, and reducing insurer participation in the individual insurance market.




Every State Will Likely Lose Housing Vouchers, Unless Congress Boosts Funding

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 18:29:11 +0000

We’ve updated our year-end report urging policymakers to provide a large funding boost to renew housing vouchers in 2017 so that we could show the potential impact that funding shortfalls could have in every state (see the table below). Without the funding, the number of low-income families receiving help to pay the rent will fall sharply this year.




Interactive Map: SNAP Rose In States to Meet Needs but Participation Has Fallen as Economy Recovered

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 15:49:41 +0000

Since peaking in December 2012, the number of people participating in SNAP has declined by more than 4 million people.Nationally, SNAP caseloads grew substantially between 2007 and 2013 as more households qualified due to the steep recession and sluggish initial recovery and because a larger share of eligible households applied for help.  Since peaking in December 2012, the number of people participating in SNAP has declined by more than 4 million people, or 9 percent, reflecting the program’s responsiveness to an improving economy, as wel




In Case You Missed It…

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 21:00:45 +0000

This week at CBPP, we focused on food assistance, health care, the federal budget and taxes, housing, and the economy.




CBO: SNAP Spending Will Continue Falling

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 19:42:29 +0000

Spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will continue to fall as the economy recovers and the number of SNAP participants falls, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reiterated this week in updated spending projections (see chart). CBO’s estimate of SNAP spending over the next ten years, based on the SNAP rules now in place, is about 7 percent lower than its forecast from a year ago, mainly due to lower food prices.




5 Ways the EITC Benefits Families, Communities, and the Country

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 19:17:34 +0000

Tomorrow is the 11th annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day — a time to help eligible workers learn about and claim this federal tax credit that helps millions of low- and moderate-income working families make ends meet.




Backgrounder: What Is a Health Savings Account?

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 18:41:04 +0000

Leading Republican alternatives to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rely on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

We've created a backgrounder to explain how HSAs work under current law, and why they will do little or nothing to help the uninsured afford coverage but offer high-income people lucrative tax-sheltering opportunities.




Who Are the 30 Million Who Would Lose Coverage Under ACA Repeal?

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 18:05:47 +0000

New Urban Institute state fact sheets describe the nearly 30 million adults and children who would lose coverage in each state by 2019 if the new Republican majority repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — with details by income, age, employment status, race, and education.




Budget Relief Should Go Equally to Defense and Non-Defense

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 15:09:16 +0000

The House reportedly may soon consider a bill to fund the Defense Department for the rest of fiscal year 2017, and it may be because the Republican majority wants to give defense some relief from the sequestration budget cuts without doing the same for non-defense programs.