Posts Tagged "low-income families"
September 27, 2022
Good News on Health Insurance in Pandemic
To paraphrase a U.S. senator in 1977, the moral test of government is how it treats the sick, the poor, and its children. That rings especially true during an historic public health emergency like COVID.
Congress came through with financial relief to blunt the pandemic’s impact, and the money that flowed through the economy provided more Americans with health insurance, while also reducing poverty.
Several newly released U.S. Census reports “show how much vigorous policies can do to prevent poverty and preserve access to health care,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded.
The Uninsured. During the pandemic, the share of all adults lacking health insurance declined from 9.2% in 2019 to 8.6% in 2021, reversing the trend of a rising uninsured rate in prior years. The rate dropped as Congress improved access and affordability during COVID by passing large premium reductions for policies purchased on the federal and state exchanges and by requiring states that receive Medicaid funds to expand their coverage of poor and low-income workers during the pandemic.
Congress has extended the premium reductions through 2025, but the federal enhancements to Medicaid are set to expire, leaving states to determine the extent to which they will cover their low-income workers in the future.
The Poor. The COVID aid passed by Congress lifted nearly 14 million Americans out of poverty over the past two years, according to Census. This statistic aligns with earlier research showing the financial assistance was particularly effective in helping low-income workers and people who were struggling financially prior to the pandemic. …Learn More
September 2, 2021
Federal Aid May Help Kids Later in Life
President Biden has said he wants to increase the benefits in a federal program for low-income children and adults with disabilities. But a long-running debate about the program is whether the direct cash assistance helps children when they grow up.
The Supplemental Security Income program, or SSI, clearly has immediate benefits. SSI provides nearly $800 in monthly cash payments and Medicaid health insurance to help parents care for their children and teenagers and manage their physical, cognitive, or behavioral disabilities. However, policy experts disagree on the program’s long-term effects.
Critics say it creates a negative dynamic if it causes poor parents, consciously or unconsciously, to lower their expectations for a child in order to preserve the payments. If the child has a relatively mild disability, the stigma might discourage educational achievements that would ultimately boost his earnings potential as an adult.
However, one analysis in a new study found no evidence that the future earning power of children receiving SSI was affected. This analysis compared kids whose benefits started before and after a 2001 administrative change that led to more benefit terminations.
A second analysis supported the argument made by SSI’s proponents that the program has broader long-term benefits for children. The additional financial resources enable parents to provide more of the educational experiences, nutritious meals, or stable home life that can improve their children’s future prospects.
To assess the merits of this long-term benefits story, the researcher used a different, more indirect approach. This approach was based on a medical exam for 18-year-old SSI recipients that was introduced in 1996 to determine whether their benefits would continue. The researcher compared the future earnings of the younger siblings in poor families in which the 18-year-olds did and did not lose their benefits.
When the 18-year-olds retained their SSI benefits, their younger siblings earned more as adults than the younger siblings in families that had lost benefits. This pattern held true both for the younger siblings who received SSI themselves and for the siblings who did not receive SSI. …Learn More