2017 Premium Changes and Insurer Participation in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces

Source: Cynthia Cox, Michelle Long, Ashley Semanskee, Rabah Kamal, Gary Claxton, and Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation, Issue Brief, October 24, 2016

Health insurance premiums on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces (also called exchanges) are expected to increase faster in 2017 than in previous years due to a combination of factors, including substantial losses experienced by many insurers in this market and the phasing out of the ACA’s reinsurance program. We analyzed 2017 premiums and insurer participation made available through Healthcare.gov on October 24, 2017, as well as data collected from states that run their own exchange websites. At this time, data are not available for all states; we will update as more complete information becomes available.

Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety

Source: John Howard, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: 25 October 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Arrangements between those who perform work and those who provide jobs come in many different forms. Standard work arrangements now exist alongside several nonstandard arrangements: agency work, contract work, and gig work. While standard work arrangements are still the most prevalent types, the rise of nonstandard work arrangements, especially temporary agency, contract, and “gig” arrangements, and the potential effects of these new arrangements on worker health and safety have captured the attention of government, business, labor, and academia. This article describes the major work arrangements in use today, profiles the nonstandard workforce, discusses several legal questions about how established principles of labor and employment law apply to nonstandard work arrangements, summarizes findings published in the past 20 years about the health and safety risks for workers in nonstandard work arrangements, and outlines current research efforts in the area of healthy work design and worker well-being.

6 Million Lost Voters: State-Level Estimates of Felony Disenfranchisement, 2016

Source: Christopher Uggen, Ryan Larson, and Sarah Shannon, The Sentencing Project, 2016

From the abstract:
A record 6.1 million Americans are forbidden to vote because of felony disenfranchisement, or laws restricting voting rights for those convicted of felony-level crimes. The number of disenfranchised individuals has increased dramatically along with the rise in criminal justice populations in recent decades, rising from an estimated 1.17 million in 1976 to 6.1 million today.

Gender pay gap calculator – What could you be making?

Source: Economic Policy Institute, 2016

The gender wage gap has lowered pay for working women, and growing inequality affects nearly everyone who works.

Enter your information to find out how much you could be paid in a more equal economy.
Related:
In the federal government, how likely is it that a woman will make more than a man?
Source: Leslie Shapiro and Ted Mellnik, Washington Post, October 25, 2016

If men and women were evenly distributed among federal jobs and pay ranges, you’d expect women to make more than men about half the time. But women make more than men only 41 percent of the time. That’s according to a Washington Post analysis comparing people with similar education, experience and job categories.

Three reasons the US doesn’t have universal health coverage

Source: Timothy Callaghan, The Conversation, October 25, 2016

….Given these facts, it is important to ask: Why isn’t universal coverage through a national health insurance system even being considered in America? Research in health policy points to three explanations.

No. 1: We don’t want it
….In other words, Americans, and conservatives in particular, have a strong belief in classical liberalism and the idea that the government should play a limited role in society……

No. 2: Interest groups don’t want it
….The insurance industry was a key player in this process, spending over $100 million to help shape the ACA and keep private insurers, as opposed to the government, as the key cog in American health care……

No. 3: Entitlement programs are hard in general to enact
….The political system is prone to inertia and any attempt at comprehensive reform must pass through the obstacle course of congressional committees, budget estimates, conference committees, amendments and a potential veto while opponents of reform publicly bash the bill……

Waiting for the Payoff: How Low Wages and Student Debt Keep Prosperity Out of Reach

Source: Allyson Fredericksen, People’s Action Institute, Job Gap Economic Prosperity series, People’s Action Institute, October 2016

From the summary:
Education is often lauded as the great equalizer and a solution to the growing income gap. But, as the cost of college breaks family budgets and requires students to take out thousands of dollars in educational loans, wages, even for those with a degree, have not kept pace, and have even declined in many occupations.

Though campaigns to increase the minimum wage have been won in cities and states across the country, current minimum wage rates do not provide a living wage for even a single adult. Research on living wage rates produced by People’s Action Institute shows that, nationally, a living wage for a single adult is $17.28 per hour. For those with student debt, that living wage rises to $18.67 per hour.

Increasing the minimum wage to a living wage and abolishing the tipped subminimum wage will help more workers make ends meet, but student debt forgiveness is also vital. And, because systemic barriers mean women and people of color are disproportionately impacted by low wages and student debt, more must be done to strengthen and enforce equal opportunity statutes.

At a minimum, working full-time should ensure financial stability, including the ability to pay off student loan debt. It’s time for elected officials to take action to make that a reality.
Table 1: Single Adult Living Wage vs Minimum Wage by State
Table 2: Median Student Debt and Monthly Payment for Graduates by State
Table 3: Traditional Single Adult Living Wage vs Student Debt Living Wage by State
Related:
Executive summary

Black workers’ wages have been harmed by both widening racial wage gaps and the widening productivity-pay gap

Source: Valerie Wilson, Economic Policy Institute, October 25, 2016

From the summary:
Participants in the ongoing discussion about how to remedy centuries of economic inequality experienced by African Americans generally fall into one of two camps. One group calls for explicitly race-based or racially targeted solutions, while the other group supports race-neutral, or universal, progressive economic policies and programs. This brief focuses on the damage done to typical black workers’ wages in recent decades and demonstrates that progress on both fronts is necessary to undo the damage. Specifically, widening black-white wage gaps and growing overall wage inequality between 1979 and 2015 imposed a dual penalty on black workers’ wage growth. Therefore, a dual strategy is necessary to put black workers’ wages back on a trajectory that lets them share in the fruits of overall economic growth while also closing persistent gaps with white workers.
Related:
Press release

Student Debt May Be Contributing to Racial Inequality

Source: Shahien Nasiripour, Bloomberg, October 24, 2016

Black college grads owe more on their student loans while being paid less than their white counterparts.
Related:
Black-white disparity in student loan debt more than triples after graduation
Source: Judith Scott-Clayton and Jing Li, Brookings Institution, Evidence Speaks Reports, Vol 2 #3, October 20, 2016

The moment they earn their bachelor’s degrees, black college graduates owe $7,400 more on average than their white peers ($23,400 versus $16,000, including non-borrowers in the averages). But over the next few years, the black-white debt gap more than triples to a whopping $25,000. Differences in interest accrual and graduate school borrowing lead to black graduates holding nearly $53,000 in student loan debt four years after graduation—almost twice as much as their white counterparts. While previous work has documented racial disparities in student borrowing, delinquencies, and defaults, in this report we provide new evidence that racial gaps in total debt are far larger than even recent reports have recognized, far larger now than in the past, and correlated with troubling trends in the economy and in the for-profit sector. We conclude with a discussion of policy implications. Black-white disparity in student loan debt more than triples after graduation.

County Benchmarking Engine

Source: OnlyBoth, 2016

Benchmark a U.S. county or county-equivalent against all 3,143 counties described by 104 attributes.

There are 170,250 insights, or about 54 per county.

County data relates to geography, population, education, housing, income, employment, healthcare, resources, religion, land, and arrests.

Data sources are USDA ERC, CDC, HUD, CMS, DHSS, DOJ FBI, and USGS (all federal) plus the Association of Religion Data Archives (thearda.com).
Related:
Benchmark a hospital
Benchmark a nursing home
Benchmark a [private] college’s finances