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Changes in average income under ACA
Changes in average income under ACA
Henry J. Aaron and Gary Burtless (Brookings):  
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will improve the well-being and incomes of Americans in the bottom fifth of the income distribution. Under our broadest and most comprehensive income measure we project that incomes in the bottom one-fifth of the distribution will increase almost 6%; those in the bottom one-tenth of the distribution will rise more than 7%. These estimated gains represent averages. Most people already have insurance coverage that will be left largely unaffected by reform. Those who gain subsidized insurance will see bigger percentage gains in their income.
Christopher Meyer and Julia Kirby (Harvard Business review):
But it’s a false dichotomy to separate business issues from social issues. Peter Drucker wrote: “One is responsible for one’s impacts, whether they are intended or not. This is the first rule. There is no doubt regarding management’s responsibility for the social impacts of its organization.” Even as a pure “business issue,” engagement with social problems is justified. The business community has learned over the past three decades that, sooner or later, a company’s track record on social issues will affect its business. Consumers will demand that Apple’s Chinese workers be treated fairly, that P&G’s post-consumer waste not end up in landfills, or that Tyson’s chickens be hormone free, well beyond what is required by regulation. Meanwhile, the world’s largest companies have begun to understand that their viability depends on a healthy world. As The New York Times reports, Coca-Cola and Nike have come to see climate change as a threat to their ability to source the materials they need cost-effectively and reliably. Business by now has a well-developed playbook for dealing with such sustainability issues.

It’s time to recognize that income inequality is a sustainability issue, too.

Especially notable because of the source.

Want some trenchant SOTU analysis? Here's Dana Houle with a preview before the speech and Bill Galston with reaction after. But the emotional highlight came at the end.

A great moment of unity and the longest applause of the night. If you are not moved, something's wrong with you. #SOTU
It was about this guy.

More politics and policy below the fold.

chart of positive minus negative opinion of selected institutions from NBC WSJ poll
From latest NBC/WSJ poll
The best thing going for Democrats is that they run against Republicans.

Stan Greenberg:

Forget The Conventional Wisdom: What The Numbers Really Say About President Obama

Many compare Obama’s number after his inauguration and make that the standard for his standing. He took a very hard hit that hurt Democrats. But his position is improving and health care is no wedge issue. The Congress is on the ballot in November, and I urge those reporting on polls to escape the conventional wisdom about the narrative.

NY Times features Ezekiel Emanuel on the new GOP Senate health care plan:
Despite all the heated rhetoric from Republicans about Obamacare laying ruin to America, the plan would actually keep some of the law’s key provisions. It would preserve some subsidies for lower-income people to buy private insurance, though it would change the way they are calculated. Those $700 billion worth of Medicare savings Mitt Romney denounced during the 2012 campaign? Republicans would keep them. Allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26? Republicans would keep that, too. And the ban on lifetime insurance caps, so people with very expensive diseases don’t lose insurance? Republicans wouldn’t touch it.

But in other crucial ways, the Republican plan is different. First, Obamacare’s absolute ban on withholding coverage from people with pre-existing conditions would be rolled back. Those who remained continuously insured would stay protected, so they couldn’t be charged higher rates or be excluded entirely. But if their insurance lapsed, health insurance companies could charge more or refuse to cover them.

Second, it would shrink the Medicaid expansion. Pregnant women, children and families below the poverty line would still be eligible, but childless adults would not. States would be given a fixed amount per person enrolled in Medicaid to reduce spending.

Third, the Republicans would provide tax credits for people to buy insurance, but only for families earning up to $70,650 per year. (The Affordable Care Act’s subsidies go to families earning up to $94,200.) And employees of large companies, even if those companies did not offer health insurance, would be exempt, regardless of income.

The largest difference is in cost control.

More from Joan McCarter, Sarah Kliff, and Sam Baker, same topic. The individual mandate is gone, and so is banning pre-existing conditions [except if you never lose insurance. That's the incentive to buy insurance in place of the mandate. But woe to you if you lose it through no fault of your own.] The GOP bill might have started some conversation 5 years ago, but not now.


During tonight's State of the Union, President Obama will announce an Executive Order requiring government contractors to raise the minimum wage for their lowest-paid workers to $10.10. Federal contract workers organizing with Good Jobs Nation paved the way for this victory, and many stakeholders have supported the Americans working on behalf of the country for low pay. Today’s victory is especially meaningful for us here at Demos—here, in images, are some highlights of our contribution to this historic moment.
Important note about Dems re-taking Senate.. LG cannot break ties on budget bills.. will make it difficult to pass Medicaid expansion. #VaGA
Dahlia Lithwick:
The Little Sisters case is not about a form. It’s about who gets to decide what the form means.

The substitution of the court-ordered form for the Obama administration form has led more than one commentator to point out that the “Sisters don’t have to fill out the specified government form, but they do have to fill out a form that says exactly the same thing.” In a case pitting the religious freedom of the nuns against the rights of American women to affordable health care, the fact that nobody agrees whether and if the Supreme Court’s new order actually changes anything for the Little Sisters, highlights one basic underlying fact: It remains fundamentally unclear to most of us what part of the self-certification process the nuns, and the other plaintiffs in the various challenges, actually object to.

Michael Powell lays out the Christie administration's approach to justice:
This gentleman is Daniel Aubrey, a 62-year-old man with a gray-flecked goatee. He and his wife, an artist, live in a modest home on a modest block just outside Trenton. A friend called him that day and exclaimed: The lieutenant governor just spelled out your name and said there was contract fraud!

New Jersey’s lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno Lucas Jackson/Reuters
A day later, an assistant attorney general called Mr. Aubrey. You are involved in an illegal contract, the prosecutor said. Do you have a criminal attorney?

He did not.

Just like that, Mr. Aubrey fell into reputation’s ditch, and the Christie administration piled dirt atop him. Except — and this is not incidental to our story — Mr. Aubrey did nothing wrong.

His work as a writer and art contractor is well regarded. Three former employers say he is honest to a fault; he’ll cut costs even when those costs are his own. An audit and report showed he could account for every cent. “I’m corny,” he says. “I believe in documenting taxpayer dollars.”

Such facts did not matter.

That's how it works in NJ. Read this piece if you think Chris Christie will "come back".


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