New Brief Analyzes the Composition and Cost of Louisiana’s Uninsured Population After Hurricane Katrina

Source: Stephen Zuckerman and Jack Hadley, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, July 2007

Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured: “The new brief, Louisiana’s Proposed Section 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Project: Estimating the Numbers of Uninsured and Projected Medicaid Costs, analyzes the composition and medical costs of the uninsured in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. The estimates in the brief are the first available that are based on a detailed analysis of who the uninsured are in Louisiana, their current medical spending, and what their spending might be under Medicaid. The findings show that expanding Medicaid coverage to Louisiana’s uninsured would cost an estimated $2.3 billion in 2006 dollars. It also suggests that many of those who left Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina had coverage, so the number of uninsured in the state remained about the same, but their share of the total population increased. The brief was commissioned by Kaiser and prepared by Stephen Zuckerman of the Urban Institute and Jack Hadley of George Mason University.”

Fixing the Tax System: Support Fairer, Simpler, and More Adequate Taxation

Source: William G. Gale, Opportunity 08: A Project of the Brookings Institution, 2007

A good tax system raises the revenues needed to finance government spending in a manner that is as simple, equitable, stable, and conducive to economic growth as possible. But the challenge for the next President will be to make reform work not just in the abstract, but in the real world, where special interests often rule the roost. The next President should support reforms that would tax all income once (only) at the full tax rate, simplify and streamline the tax code, and, of course, raise sufficient revenues. To achieve these goals, the package of specific reforms proposed in this paper would:

tax all new corporate investment income only once
remove all corporate subsidies in the Code and strengthen corporate anti- sheltering provisions
integrate payroll and income taxes for individuals
introduce return-free filing for many taxpayers
consolidate and streamline tax subsidies for education, retirement and families
eliminate or revise various tax deductions
create a value-added tax that would, eventually, raise 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in revenues
+ Fact Sheet

Democratic Candidates Labor to Win Union Support: Union Label

Source: Richard Auxier, Pew Research Center, August 8, 2007

An analysis of voters’ views on unions and other pertinent issues in light of Democratic candidates’ efforts to win union support.

Seven Democratic candidates met on Soldier Field in Chicago on Tuesday to address a predominantly union audience at a candidate forum sponsored by the AFL-CIO. While membership in labor unions nationally has been declining in recent decades, nearly two-in-10 self-described Democrats (18%) live in households with a union member, according to a January poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Health Care Costs: A Primer

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Publication number 7670, 8/8/2007

This primer on health care costs examines the rapid growth in the nation’s health care costs since 1970, when the average growth in health spending exceeded the growth of the economy as a whole by an average of 2.5 percentage points. It also examines the impact of health care costs on families, with insurance premiums rising 87% between 2000 and 2006, more than four times the growth in wages.

The primer describes the types and sources of health care spending and the demographic factors associated with higher or lower levels of spending. It also discusses other factors that influence health care spending growth, including the use of new medical technology, population changes, and changes in disease prevalence.

Future of Medicare: Report on Expert Views

Source: Keith D. Lind and Jackson T. Williams, AARP Policy & Research, #2007-12, May 2007

From press release:
Marking the 42nd anniversary of the Medicare program Monday, July 30th, AARP released new research that examines the future of Medicare through the eyes of 20 national health policy experts. “The Future of Medicare: Report on Expert Views” found no single answer to preserve Medicare for future generations, but those interviewed agreed there are several areas where Medicare can make improvements to help the program.

Bias in the Workplace: Consistent Evidence of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

Source: M.V. Lee Badgett, Holning Lau, Brad Sears, Deborah Ho, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, June 2007

This report reviews more than 50 studies over the last decade and demonstrates a disturbing and consistent pattern: sexual orientation-based and gender identity discrimination is a common occurrence in many workplaces across the country. Surveys of GLBT individuals, studies of the sexual orientation earnings gap, and controlled experiments all provide evidence of discriminatory treatment.

The Importance of the EITC to Urban Economies

Source: Alan Berube, The Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution, July 13, 2007

Though most do not recognize it as an “urban” program, the Earned Income Tax Credit provides significant benefits to families in cities and suburbs, and stimulates local economic activity. In this presentation to Congressional staff organized by Living Cities, Alan Berube examines what Members can do to maximize the benefits of the EITC for lower-income families and communities in their districts.

Joint Committee on Taxation Description Of Present Law Relating To Section 501(C)(3) Organizations

Source: Joint Committee on Taxation, JCX-53-07, July 19, 2007

The House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Oversight, has scheduled a public hearing for July 24, 2007, regarding an overview of tax-exempt charitable organizations.
This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a brief description of present law provisions relating to organizations described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”), and provides a summary description of the section 501(c)(3) organization-related provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and related proposed legislative proposals.

2006 Data Added to the Medicaid Benefits Online Database

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, August 2007

Kaiser Family Foundation: “The Foundation’s online tool examining Medicaid benefits for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Territories has been updated with data as of October 2006. The online database allows comparison of Medicaid benefits by state and service with information about benefits covered, limits, co-payments and reimbursement methodologies. Data for 2003, 2004, and 2006 are available.”

A Comprehensive Cure: Universal Health Care Vouchers

Source: Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Victor R. Fuchs, The Brookings Institution (The Hamilton Project), Discussion Paper 2007 – July 11, 2007

The Universal Healthcare Voucher System (UHV) achieves universal health coverage by entitling all Americans to a standard package of benefits comparable to that received by federal employees. Enrollment and renewal are guaranteed regardless of health status, as is the individual’s right to buy additional services beyond the standard benefits with aftertax dollars. Health plans would receive a risk-adjusted payment based on their enrollment. UHV is funded entirely by a dedicated value-added tax (VAT) with the rate set by Congress. A VAT of approximately 10 to 12 percent would insure all Americans under age 65 at a cost no greater than current public and private health care expenditures.

UHV offers true universality, individual choice, effective cost control, and competition based on quality of care and service. To foster accountability and efficient administration, the voucher system creates a National Health Board and twelve regional boards with a governance structure and reporting requirements similar to the Federal Reserve system. The National Board establishes the overall rules and procedures and sponsors an independent Institute for Technology and Outcomes Assessment, which will slow the rate of growth of expenditures by encouraging cost-effective innovations. In each region a Center for Patient Safety and Dispute Resolution replaces the dysfunctional malpractice system. UHV is relatively simple compared with other reforms that have similar objectives. Most importantly, it is congruent with basic American values: equality of opportunity and freedom to pursue personal goals.
+ Related policy brief
+ Presentation
See also:
Achieving Universal Coverage Through Medicare Part E(veryone)
Universal, Effective and Affordable Health Insurance: An Economic Imperative