Author Archives: afscme

Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January – September 2012

Source: Michael E. Martinez and Robin A. Cohen, National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health Interview Statistics, March 2013

Highlights
• In the first 9 months of 2012, 45.3 million persons of all ages (14.7%) were uninsured at the time of interview, 57.5 million (18.6%) had been uninsured for at least part of the year prior to interview, and 33.8 million (11.0%) had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview.
• In the first 9 months of 2012, the percentage of children under age 18 who were uninsured at the time of interview was 6.6%.
• Among adults aged 19–25, the percentage uninsured at the time of interview was 26.3% (7.9 million) in the first 9 months of 2012.
• Among adults aged 19–25, 57.0% were covered by a private plan in the first 9 months of 2012.
• In the first 9 months of 2012, 30.7% of persons under age 65 with private health insurance at the time of interview were enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), including 10.7% who were enrolled in a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP). More than 50% of persons with a private plan obtained by means other than through employment were enrolled in an HDHP. An estimated 21.5% of persons with private health insurance were in a family with a flexible spending account (FSA) for medical expenses.
See also:
Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January–September 2012 National Health Interview Survey
Sections include:
– Lack of health insurance coverage and type of coverage
– Usual place to go for medical care
– Obtaining needed medical care
– Receipt of influenza vaccination
– Receipt of pneumococcal vaccination
– Obesity
– Leisure-time physical activity
– Current smoking
– Alcohol consumption
– Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing
– General health status
– Personal care needs
– Serious psychological distress
– Diagnosed diabetes
– Asthma episodes and current asthma

Inflation Indexation in Major Federal Benefit Programs: Impact of the Chained CPI

Source: Alison Shelton, AARP Public Policy Institute, Fact Sheet, March 2013

From the summary:
Concern over large federal budget deficits has lead to proposals to change the way the federal government measures inflation in federal benefits programs and the tax code. Using the chained CPI (sometimes referred to as the superlative CPI) instead of the currently used CPI measure would reduce the rate of inflation used in numerous provisions of federal benefits programs, and would have far-reaching effects on beneficiaries. While the impact of the chained CPI on Social Security benefits for retirees and the disabled has been widely discussed, less attention has been paid to the chained CPI’s impact on other groups, such as veterans and low-income families.

This Fact Sheet discusses how using the chained CPI would affect Social Security beneficiaries, as well as beneficiaries of other programs such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Medicare, veterans’ retirement and disability programs, and poverty-prevention programs.
See also:
Proposed Changes to Social Security’s Cost-of-Living Adjustment: What Would They Mean for Beneficiaries?
Adopting a Chained CPI Targets the Oldest, Poorest Americans: The Longer You Live, the More Social Security You Lose

Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification

Source: Andorra Bruno, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report for Congress, R40446, March 19, 2013

The 113th Congress is expected to take up comprehensive immigration reform. Some of the most difficult immigration policy questions on the table concern unauthorized immigration and unauthorized employment. Today’s discussions about these issues build on the work of prior Congresses. In 1986, following many years of debate about unauthorized immigration to the United States, Congress enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). This law sought to address unauthorized immigration, in part, by requiring all employers to examine documents presented by new hires to verify identity and work authorization and to complete and retain employment eligibility verification (I-9) forms. Ten years later, in the face of a growing illegal alien population, Congress attempted to strengthen the employment verification process by establishing pilot programs for electronic verification, as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).”

Unfit For Work: The Startling Rise Of Disability In America

Source: Chana Joffe-Walt, NPR, March 2013

The story of disability is, to a large extent, the story of the U.S. economy….

…In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job, and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled. Every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government.

The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined. Yet people relying on disability payments are often overlooked in discussions of the social safety net. People on federal disability do not work. Yet because they are not technically part of the labor force, they are not counted among the unemployed.

In other words, people on disability don’t show up in any of the places we usually look to see how the economy is doing. But the story of these programs — who goes on them, and why, and what happens after that — is, to a large extent, the story of the U.S. economy. It’s the story not only of an aging workforce, but also of a hidden, increasingly expensive safety net.

For the past six months, I’ve been reporting on the growth of federal disability programs. I’ve been trying to understand what disability means for American workers, and, more broadly, what it means for poor people in America nearly 20 years after we ended welfare as we knew it. Here’s what I found…
See also:
Sorry Ira: There are Factual Errors in Your Story on Disability Insurance
Source: Shawn Fremstad, Center for Economic and Policy Research, CEPR blog, March 27, 2013

…I won’t take on the entire story here, but I want to note one quite clear-cut and basic factual error. In the story, reporter Chana Joffe-Walt unequivocally states: “People on federal disability do not work.” This is factually incorrect. According to researchers at Mathematica and SSA, about 17 percent of disability beneficiaries worked in 2007. Their earnings were generally very low (about 4.8 percent had annual earnings of $1,000 or less), but that doesn’t justify the reporter’s unequivocal characterization of all disability beneficiaries as non-workers….

This Is What Happens When You Rip a Hole in the Safety Net
Source: Bryce Covert, Nation, March 28, 2013

TANF and SSI: The Rest of the Story
Source: Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), 2013

Citizens, Values and Cultural Concerns: What Americans Want from Immigration Reform

Source: Robert P. Jones, Daniel Cox, Juhem Navarro-Rivera, E.J. Dionne, William A. Galston,Public Religion Research Institute, Inc., March 2013

From the summary:
The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), in partnership with the religion, policy and politics project at Brookings, conducted one of the largest surveys ever fielded on immigra­tion policy, immigrants, and religious and cultural changes in the U.S.The survey of nearly 4,500 American adults explores the many divisions—political, religious, ethnic, geographical, and generational—within the nation over core values and their relation­ship to immigration.

▪ More than 6-in-10 (63%) Americans agree that the immigration system should deal with immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. illegally by allowing them a way to become citizens, provided they meet certain requirements. Less than 1-in-5 (14%) say they should be permitted to become permanent legal residents but not citizens, while approximately 1-in-5 (21%) agree that they should be identified and deported.
▪ More than 7-in-10 (71%) Democrats, nearly two-thirds (64%) of independents, and a majority (53%) of Republicans favor an earned path to citizenship.
▪ Majorities of all religious groups, including Hispanic Catholics (74%), Hispanic Protestants (71%), black Protestants (70%), Jewish Americans (67%), Mormons (63%), white Catholics (62%), white mainline Protestants (61%), and white evan¬gelical Protestants (56%), agree that the immigration system should allow immi¬grants currently living in the U.S. illegally to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements.
▪ Americans rank immigration reform sixth out of seven issues, far behind economic issues, as the highest political priority for the president and Congress.
▪ Nearly half (45%) of Americans say the Republican Party’s position on immigration has hurt the party in recent elections.

Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, Number 211, AHRQ Publication No. 13-E001-EF, March 2013

From the summary:
Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices (AHRQ Evidence Report No. 211) updates the 2001 report, Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices (AHRQ Evidence Report No. 43). The 2001 report analyzed the strength of evidence for patient safety practices in use at that time. The 2013 report analyzed a growing body of patient safety research to determine the level of evidence regarding the outcomes, as well as implementation, adoption, and the context in which safety strategies have been used.

After analyzing 41 patient safety practices, an international panel of patient safety experts identified 22 strategies that are ready for adoption. Enough evidence exists that health systems and institutions can move forward in implementing these strategies to improve the safety and quality of health care.

Hispanics in the United States: Not Only Mexicans

Source: John R. Logan, Richard N. Turner, Brown University, American Communities Project, March 2013

When studies are done of Hispanics, the results mostly reflect the experience of Mexicans who are more than 60% of the total. But observers would be mistaken if they thought they knew Hispanics in the U.S. by looking only at Mexicans. The differences among Hispanic groups are becoming more salient in three ways. First, non-Mexicans are growing fast and are now present in large numbers… Second, some groups are doing a lot better than Mexicans. Puerto Ricans and Cubans earn more, and Agentinas and Venezuelans earn much more… Third, these groups also have different levels and trends in separation from non-Hispanics. South Americans are less segregated than Mexicans, while Dominicans and Central Americans are much more segregated……This report summarizes what is known about the sizes, social backgrounds and locations of each major Hispanic group. We emphasize the differences among them at the neighborhood level in the extent of their segregation from other groups , and the degree to which they form separate residential enclaves in the metropolis….

Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue: 4th Quarter 2012

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, March 26, 2013

This summary shows quarterly tax revenue statistics on property, sales, license, income and other taxes. Statistics are shown for individual state governments as well as national estimates of total state and local taxes, including 12-month calculations. This quarterly survey has been conducted continuously since 1962. Internet