Children’s health insurance, family income, and welfare enrollment

Source: Martin Saavedra, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 73, February 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Children from wealthier families are more likely to have health insurance than children from poorer families on average. However, the relationship between family income and health insurance is non-linear, as children near the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) are less likely to be insured than children from both wealthier families (who obtain health insurance from the private market) and poorer families (who obtain government-funded health insurance). This health insurance dip has persisted even as Medicaid has been expanded to cover those above the FPL. One explanation for this is that families who are far below the poverty line are better connected to the welfare system, and consequently, are more likely to enroll in Medicaid. This study uses data from the 2001–2013 Current Population Surveys and finds that (1) controlling for many of the determinants of eligibility, those on other forms of government assistance are more likely to have health insurance, and (2) the relationship between family income and children’s health insurance status is strictly increasing after controlling for enrollment in other welfare programs


• Children near the poverty line are some of the least likely to have health insurance.
• Children on public assistance are more likely to have insurance.
• The insurance-income relationship is increasing after controlling for welfare enrollment.

The Economic Effects of Public Financing: Evidence from Municipal Bond Ratings Recalibration

Source: Manuel Adelino, Igor Cunha, Miguel A. Ferreira, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11811, January 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We show that municipalities’ financial constraints can have a significant impact on local employment and growth. We identify these effects by exploiting exogenous upgrades in U.S. municipal bond ratings caused by Moody’s recalibration of its ratings scale in 2010. We find that local governments increase expenditures because their debt capacity expands following a rating upgrade. These expenditures have an estimated local income multiplier of 1.9 and a cost per job of $20,000 per year. Our findings suggest that debt-financed increases in government spending can improve economic conditions during recessions.

Concentrating on the Fall of the Labor Share

Source: David H. Autor, David Dorn, Lawrence F. Katz, Christina Patterson, John Van Reenen, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11810, January 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The recent fall of labor’s share of GDP in numerous countries is well-documented, but its causes are poorly understood. We sketch a ‘superstar firm’ model where industries are increasingly characerized by ‘winner take most’ competition, leading a small number of highly profitable (and low labor share) firms to command growing market share. Building on Autor et al. (2017), we evaluate and confirm two core claims of the superstar firm hypothesis: the concentration of sales among firms within industries has risen across much of the private sector; and industries with larger increases in concentration exhibit a larger decline in labor’s share.

60 Caregiver Issues

Source: PHI, 2017

In 2017, PHI began identifying the most pressing policy issues facing direct care workers. Our research, unique industry expertise, and partnerships with state and national leaders aptly position us to address a worsening concern: direct care workers are walking away from this sector at a time when we need critical supports to age in our homes and communities. In turn, families and the agencies that serve them are left with few options.

Recognizing a growing workforce shortage among our nation’s home care aides, nursing aides, and personal care aides, as well as the need to provide quality care to a rapidly growing population of older people and people with disabilities, PHI launched a national campaign: 60 Caregiver Issues.

Over the course of two years, PHI will release a new issue every 2-3 weeks, inspiring policy makers and long-term care leaders to pinpoint what needs to be done to remedy this shortage and create a vibrant, sustainable system of long-term care.

Refinanciang Student Loans

Source: Dustin Weeden, LegisBrief, Vol. 25 no. 8, February 2017

Increasing numbers of students are borrowing money to pay for higher education, incurring historically high levels of debt. Policymakers are concerned about the amount students are borrowing, their ability to repay, and the broader economic impacts of student debt. Refinancing existing loans at lower interest rates is one solution, and at least 12 states currently operate their own refinancing programs for students.

Emergency Medical Services in California: Wages, Working Conditions, and Industry Profile

Source: Ken Jacobs, Nereida Heller, Saba Waheed and Sam Appel, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education – UCLA Labor Center, February 2017

From the press release:
More than 16,000 emergency medical service workers are employed in California, with the vast majority working for private providers. Wages in the industry are low, employees work long hours often without rest and meal breaks, and injury rates are high, according to a joint study by UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education and the UCLA Labor Center. The study looks at working conditions addressed in the Emergency Medical Services Workers’ (EMS) Bill of Rights, or Assembly Bill 263, proposed today by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona/Chino).

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics provide critical pre-hospital emergency care often in life or death situations. Unfortunately, the stress of the job and long work shifts can take a toll on their health. Previous research has found that EMS workers suffer disproportionately from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicidal ideation. ….