Trouble for the ACA, SNAP, and single parent families
GRAPH OF THE DAY
Catherine Rampell extracted interesting data from the OECD’s annual education report. The average age of first childbirth across the developed world was 24.3 in 1970 compared to 27.8 in 2009. The average age for first births in the U.S. is 25—making the U.S. second only to Mexico with an age of 21.3 for first childbirth.
In an instant, the hoopla attached to the new health care law came to a sudden stop and then jumped into light-speed with the announcement that the ACA’s Employer Mandate will be postponed for a year.
The requirement—that companies with more than 50 full-time workers provide insurance or pay a fine—is designed to prevent firms from dropping health benefits once the government offers subsidies to help individuals buy coverage. The delay does not affect other provisions of the ACA, like the individual mandate. But, one of the main side effects may be more people purchasing individual coverage through the law’s new insurance exchanges, which are supposed to be open for enrollment by October 1. READ»
Valerie Jarrett explains the reasons behind the White House’s decision. Kaiser Health News assembles key reactions to the announcement. The political fallout stemming from the delay is considerable. Opponents of the law released their criticism without holding back their glee. Ezra Klein, Jonathan Cohn, Jared Bernstein, Tim Jost, Jonathan Chait and Jeffrey Anderson—trackers of health care policy offer varying opinions on the delay and how it will impact the ACA and the American public.
Calling attention to other issues being addressed in Washington—an activity of equal importance and pertaining directly to the well-being of our Nation’s children—the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on how current federal budget decisions are impacting the future prospects of America’s kids. In response, CAP reviews the cuts the Sequester imposes on Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, WIC, Childhood Immunization Grants and the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant. All of these cuts impact low-income children and come at a time when the Obama Administration continues to promote its plan for early education and scholars, military and business leaders concur an investment in early childhood realizes the greatest rate of return.
Elsewhere on the HILL, the proposed cuts to SNAP, $20.5 Billion in the House and $3.9 Billion in the Senate, are universally perceived as the primary reason for Congress’s failure to pass the Farm Bill. A recent Op Ed summarizes the position held by those who favor cutting the program. Greg Kauffman of The Nation staunchly defends the flip side of the argument. For those wishing the program would simply disappear, Charles Lane offers up a strategy with a caveat. And, an effort, to split off the food stamp and farm subsidy portions of the bill, continues to meet considerable resistance.
Two new reports—from Pew and Brookings—reveal how the American family is being radically reshaped. Over the past five decades, Pew reports the number of U.S. households headed by single fathers has jumped from less than 300,000 in 1960 to over 2.6 million in 2011, an increase from 1% to 8%. From Brookings, Isabel Sawhill’s research adds additional detail toward understanding the plight of low-income families, many of them headed by single mothers. Her main focus—short, intermediate and long-term policies that can help parents bootstrap themselves and their children into the middle class. As a recent New York Times article on the high cost of childbirth in America confirms, the stress experienced by America’s families accumulates quickly.
According to demographers at the California Department of Finance, California’s Hispanic and white populations are now equal in number; and, Latinos will become a plurality in 2014. Looking down the road, Think Progress emphasizes how the future of California’s economy depends on educating young Latinos. Given that the return on investment in early education is anywhere from $7 to $13 for every $1 spent, it’s no surprise education experts agree the time is ripe to institute an early learning plan for California.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“…there’s one group in particular whose voices are not often heard when it comes to the federal budget process, and that’s our nation’s children.” Senator Patty Murray in hearings before the Senate Budget Committee on: The Impact of Federal Budget Decisions on Children.
"vital breathing room” James A. Klein, President of the American Benefits Council, which represents Fortune 500 companies that sponsor or administer health plans, on what the delay in the ACA’s Employer Mandate provides to the business community, quoted in the LA Times.
“Drop and dump.” Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin predicting what he thinks employers will do to their employees now that the Employer Mandate in the new health law is delayed, quoted in The Hill.
“…delaying the employer mandate probably won't do much damage to the law’s basic goals—making health insurance more available and, over time, containing the rise of health care costs. Jonathan Cohn in the New Republic commenting on the Obama Administration’s decision to delay the ACA’s Employer Mandate for a year.
A DELAY IN THE HEALTHCARE LAW
INVESTMENT IN CHILDREN AND EARLY EDUCATION
MORE ON SNAP