EPI News

Supreme Court’s ruling allows health care coverage for millions of Americans

EPI welcomes the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, which provides a necessary safety net for millions of Americans who could not otherwise afford health care. The decision keeps valuable provisions intact, making sure that everyone—regardless of their health status—can get insurance, and ensures a more stable risk pool, which will keep costs under control.

Earlier this week, EPI’s Elise Gould, director of health policy research, explained why upholding the law with the individual mandate component was critical. In this week’s Economic Snapshot she explained that if the Supreme Court had removed the individual mandate, the number of newly insured individuals would have been reduced by about 62.5 percent (from 32 million with the mandate to about 12 million without). Without this provision to stop free-riding, too many healthy people would wait until they got sick before they enrolled in insurance and started paying premiums, meaning the insurance pool at any point in time would be less healthy, and thus more expensive.

Watch Lawrence Mishel and Jared Bernstein discuss how the productivity/wage gap affects you

Watch this new video of EPI President Lawrence Mishel with Jared Bernstein, economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden from 2009 to 2011 and former director of EPI’s Living Standards Program. In the video, they discuss the disconnect between productivity and wages and the role policy has played in generating wage inequality.

Influencing the debate

  • In yesterday’s Wonkblog, Washington Post’s Ezra Klein cited Elise Gould’s analysis to explain what would have happened if the Supreme Court had ruled the Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate unconstitutional. He wrote, “The Economic Policy Institute estimates that “the cost per newly insured person under health reform without the mandate is 93.3 percent higher than under health reform with the mandate.”
  • Slate.com’s Matt Yglesias praised an EPI study showing how an increase of immigrants in the labor force has a positive effect on the wages of U.S.-born workers up and down the skill spectrum. Yglesias wrote, “The research that really changed my thinking on this is ably covered in this great [report] Heidi Shierholz did for EPI back in February 2010. Note that EPI is the premiere labor-liberal think tank in Washington and hardly a hotbed of apologism for the top one percent.”
  • With new graduates currently seeking jobs, media outlets continue to rely on EPI’s research to assess what opportunities await them. Highlighting challenges these recent graduates face, CNBC’s Mark Koba wrote, “Nearly 17 percent of high school graduates had no job or were not enrolled in college in 2011, up from 13.7 in 2007, according to the Economic Policy Institute.”
  • In an op-ed for Politico, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm cited EPI to help explain why the implementation of Paul Ryan’s proposed budget would be disastrous for the labor market. “If Congress opts to pass the House Republican budget proposal as Romney urges, it would cost us 4.1 million jobs through 2014, according to the Economic Policy Institute,” she wrote.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek’s Richard Rubin quoted EPI’s Ethan Pollack to explain how the payroll tax cut has a direct positive impact on working families. “The payroll-tax cut puts money directly in the hands of consumers who are likely to spend it,” said Pollack. “In the short run, we want additional consumer spending because that will create jobs and get the economy back on track,” he continued.
  • Grist.org’s Philip Bump cited EPI economic analyst David Cooper’s recent report detailing the many benefits of increasing investment in public transit in Los Angeles. Bump wrote,A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found that increased investment in public transit in Los Angeles would bear economic benefits in multiple ways. In addition to expanding access for residents to find jobs (an area in which certain parts of the city already do well), the construction itself would put a lot of people to work.”