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Comparing Federal Government Surveys that Count the Uninsured: 2014

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Comparing Federal Government Surveys that Count the Uninsured: 2014
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Estimates of the number of people who are uninsured are available from several different sources. This brief provides an annual update to comparisons of uninsurance estimates from five federal surveys. It presents trends in national estimates of uninsurance, presents the most recent available state-level estimates from these surveys, and describes the main reasons for variation in the estimates across the different surveys.

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Exploring Gender Imbalance Among STEM Doctoral Degree Recipients

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Exploring Gender Imbalance Among STEM Doctoral Degree Recipients
Source: American Institutes for Research

Gender imbalance in doctoral education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields raises important questions about the extent to which women experience differential access, encouragement, and opportunity for academic advancement. Through primary school and middle school, girls and boys typically indicate an equal interest and demonstrate equivalent levels of achievement on several science and mathematical indicators, but girls’ interest in pursuing scientific degrees and careers wanes by high school.

Accurately identifying the nature of the imbalance is an important first step in addressing it. The alternate method used in this brief to account for the gender breakdown among undergraduate degree recipients provides a more reliable gauge of gender imbalance at the doctoral level.

Cyber Attacks Likely to Increase

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Cyber Attacks Likely to Increase
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Experts believe nations, rogue groups, and malicious individuals will step up their assaults on communications networks, targeting institutions, financial services agencies, utilities, and consumers over the next decade.

Explaining Health Care Reform: Questions About Health Insurance Subsidies

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Explaining Health Care Reform: Questions About Health Insurance Subsidies
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Good health insurance can be expensive, and is therefore often out of reach for lower and moderate income families, particularly if they are not offered health benefits at work. To make coverage obtainable for families that otherwise could not afford it and to encourage broad participation in health insurance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes provisions to lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs for people with low and modest incomes. The adequacy of this assistance will be a key determinant of how many people ultimately gain coverage and whether or not lower-income people will be able to use the health insurance they obtain.

This brief provides an overview of the financial assistance provided under the ACA for people purchasing coverage on their own through health insurance Marketplaces (also called exchanges). In addition to offering financial assistance to some people purchasing their own private coverage, the ACA also gives states the option to bolster public coverage by expanding their Medicaid programs to cover people with incomes under 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). While this brief focuses on the premium tax credit and cost-sharing subsidies for marketplace enrollees, expanded coverage for low income people through Medicaid and new tax credits for small businesses are addressed in other reports.

New Report: Spending Per Privately Insured Grew 3.9% in 2013, as Falling Utilization Offset Rising Prices

October 28, 2014 Comments off

New Report: Spending Per Privately Insured Grew 3.9% in 2013, as Falling Utilization Offset Rising Prices
Source: Health Care Cost Institute

Privately insured Americans spent more on medical services in 2013 even though they used fewer of them, according a new report by the Health Care Cost Institute. Spending per enrollee in employer health plans grew by 3.9%, continuing the moderate growth trend that began in 2010. But falling utilization helped mask continued growth in health care prices.

In the 2013 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report—an annual study of health care price and utilization trends for Americans younger than age 65 participating in employer health plans—HCCI finds that health care spending averaged $4,915 per enrollee in 2013, up $185 from the year before.

Out-of-pocket costs, including co-payments and deductibles paid directly by consumers, remained stable as a percentage of overall health spending. A companion issue brief, Out-Of-Pocket Spending Trends (2013), details these trends by demographic groups and service category.

LGB Families and Relationships: Analyses of the 2013 National Health Interview Survey

October 27, 2014 Comments off

LGB Families and Relationships: Analyses of the 2013 National Health Interview Survey
Source: Williams Institute

The addition of a sexual orientation identity measure to the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) offers a new data source to consider characteristics of families and explore differences among those led by same-sex and different-sex married and unmarried couples and LGB individuals who are not married or cohabiting. These analyses consider differences and similarities across these groups with regard to demographic characteristics including gender, age, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, geographic location, and child-rearing. In 2013, there were an estimated 690,000 same-sex couples in the US, of whom approximately 124,000 were married. In the last three years, the number of married same-sex couples in the US has increased by an estimated 50%. Same-sex couples were raising an estimated 200,000 children under age 18, of whom 30,000 are being raised by married same-sex parents. LGBT individuals who are not part of a couple are raising between 1.2 and 2 million children (depending on which estimate is used regarding the proportion of adults who are LGB or LGBT).

The Impact of Piketty’s Wealth Tax on the Poor, the Rich, and the Middle Class

October 24, 2014 Comments off

The Impact of Piketty’s Wealth Tax on the Poor, the Rich, and the Middle Class
Source: Tax Foundation

In his bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty recommends a wealth tax as a remedy to inequality. The basic version of Piketty’s wealth tax would impose a tax rate of 1 percent on net worth of $1.3 million and $6.5 million and 2 percent on net worth above $6.5 million. Piketty contemplates additional tax brackets, including a bracket of 0.5 percent starting at about $260,000.

We used the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth (TAG) model, augmented with wealth data from the University of Michigan’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics, to estimate how the U.S. economy would respond to Piketty’s wealth taxes.

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