Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Medicaid is central to the health care system’s response to the current public health and economic crises. Millions more people will likely enroll in Medicaid in coming months because of the recession, the large majority of whom would otherwise become uninsured. For example, Urban Institute researchers estimate Medicaid enrollment will increase by 8 to 14 million people (16 to 29 percent) if unemployment climbs to 15 percent, consistent with estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other forecasters.
Administration Should Reverse Anti-Immigrant Policies That Will Worsen Impacts of Health and Economic Crises
The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have hit immigrants and their families especially hard, and Trump Administration policies and rhetoric are only deepening the harm.
As states’ revenues plummet and they shift resources to fight the public health crisis, state officials will be looking for ways to fill their budget shortfalls and meet their balanced-budget requirements. In the face of extreme and growing hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic and deep economic downturn, states shouldn’t use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to help balance their budgets as they did during the Great Recession.
State Emergency Assistance Fund Could Help Families Facing Significant Challenges Avoid Increased Hardship
Amid COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout, states will need additional resources to provide basic income assistance and emergency aid to families and individuals facing severe economic hardship. A flexible emergency fund targeted to families and individuals with the lowest incomes, modeled on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund during the Great Recession, could help provide such aid.
The severe and unprecedented size of the health, human, and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 should determine the size of the legislative response.
The Center mourns the loss of Paul Rudd, an esteemed member of CBPP’s Board of Directors since 2008, who passed away this week at age 47.
This week at CBPP, we focused on COVID-19 and the economy.
Some Administration officials are arguing that states don’t urgently need more direct federal relief because they can borrow from the new Federal Reserve program to buy public and private debt, but that argument makes no sense.
We are extraordinarily saddened to report that Paul Rudd, an esteemed member of CBPP’s Board of Directors since 2008, passed away suddenly yesterday in New York at the age of 47.
There is an urgent need to increase funds for housing, food, health, and income assistance to individuals and families that tend to experience the worst health, housing, and employment outcomes.
State budget shortfalls from COVID-19’s economic fallout could total $650 billion over three years, we estimate based on new economic projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and updated projections from Goldman Sachs. The new figures — significantly higher than estimates we recently issued based on economic projections of a month ago — increase the urgency that policymakers enact additional federal fiscal relief and continue it as long as economic conditions warrant.
IRS workers deserve tremendous credit for delivering — in just weeks — 88 million stimulus payments during a pandemic. But the IRS’ challenges in doing so make clear that years of ill-advised funding cuts have left the agency understaffed and technologically out of date. Those challenges should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers on the importance of investing in core government functions like the IRS.
This week at CBPP, we focused on COVID-19, health, Social Security, food assistance, and the economy.
Upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation should place a high priority on protecting people experiencing homelessness and low-income renters.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defends his opposition to more fiscal relief for state and local governments by arguing that it would just “bail out” states that have mismanaged their finances, particularly their state employee pension systems. That’s far off base. In reality, states would use the money to avoid massive layoffs and deep spending cuts due to the public health emergency and its economic effects.
The annual reports released today don’t provide an up-to-date picture of Social Security’s and Medicare’s financial status.
Policymakers are appropriately considering additional stimulus measures in the face of mounting job losses and other dire economic signs due to COVID-19. A top item on their list should be raising SNAP (food stamp) benefits as a way of mitigating hardship and injecting fast, high “bang-for-the-buck” stimulus into the economy.
When a user has difficulty setting up an account or signing in, they must revert to phone calls or in-person visits. To avoid that result, states should pay attention to user needs at the front door of their systems by prioritizing the account sign-in experience, ensuring passwords don’t create insurmountable barriers, and measuring the outcomes of their efforts.
Expanding Medicaid now would cover over 4 million currently uninsured adults in these states and potentially many more who lose their jobs or much of their income in coming months.
Some states are adding unnecessary complexity to Medicaid and SNAP (formerly food stamps) online systems, blocking people from applying, reporting changes, and completing renewals through online portals. One way they do that is by requiring people to verify their identity through a process called Remote Identity Proofing (RIDP) before applying or transacting other business. RIDP is not required to determine eligibility for Medicaid, premium tax credits, or other safety net programs.