|Date ||Article Name||Location||About|
|12/16/14||The Obamacare paradox: the law looks terrible but is doing great||vox.com||Health & Welfare & Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)|
|Politically, Obamacare has had a terrible past few weeks. First there was inaccurate enrollment data (the administration wrongly included dental plans). Then there were Jon Gruber's comments on "the stupidity of American voters." And it was capped off with Sen. Chuck Schumer saying that passing the law was a mistake. That led to headlines like: "Dark days ahead for Obamacare," "The Obamacare controversy grows" and my own "Obamacare's terrible, horrible, no good very bad month."|
|12/16/14||The 8 most bogus health claims of 2014||vox.com||Health & Welfare & Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)|
|Every day seems to turn up opportunities to abuse science in new and perverse ways, especially when it comes to health. You open a newspaper or news site, and you read about a health claim making the rounds: a diet that will give you the energy of a teenager, an exercise routine that will elongate your legs, a policy that will protect Americans from scary viruses.
Many of these claims — even the ones that come from the lips of the most esteemed doctors and public officials — aren't backed by any good evidence. Some even...|
|12/15/14||Vivek Murthy is the new surgeon general. Who is he, and what the heck is his job?||vox.com||Health & Welfare, Vivek Murthy & Executive B...|
|The Senate has confirmed Vivek Murthy as United States Surgeon General, overcoming fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association that has blocked the doctor's nomination since February.
Obama nominated Murthy, co-founder of the pro-Obamacare group Doctors for America, in November 2013. At 37, he will be the country's youngest surgeon general, and the first of Indian-American descent. The NRA, however, has long opposed Murthy's nomination.|
|12/08/14||Social Security Q&A: If I Continue Working Past 66, Will My Benefits Be Recalculated?||forbes.com||Social Security|
|Today’s question asks if the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) is recomputed for people who continue working past full retirement age. The answer explains how Social Security calculates your benefit and how frequently it does so, and reviews the benefits that you can potentially increase by continuing to work.|
|12/01/14||Social Security Benefits to Rise 1.7% in 2015||thinkadvisor.com||Social Security|
|In 2015 Social Security benefits will rise by 1.7 percent per the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA), affecting more than 58 million beneficiaries.|
|11/19/14||Is There A Link Between Mental Health and Gun Violence?||newyorker.com||Mass Shootings, Health & Welfare & Maria Kon...|
|On Friday, October 24th, during the busy lunch hour in the school cafeteria of Marysville-Pilchuck High School, in Marysville, Washington, Jaylen Fryberg opened fire on his classmates, killing one student and wounding four others, three of whom later died from their injuries. Then he killed himself.
Just a week earlier, Fryberg had been crowned prince of the school’s homecoming court—he was a community volunteer, student athlete, and all-around “good kid.” But within hours of the shooting, that picture had changed. Quick...|
|11/17/14||When Social Security will let you take only one benefit at a time||pbs.org||Social Security|
|Boston University economist Larry Kotlikoff has spent every week, for over two years, answering questions about what is likely your largest financial asset — your Social Security benefits. His Social Security original 34 “secrets”, his additional secrets, his Social Security “mistakes” and his Social Security gotchas have prompted so many of you to write in that we feature “Ask Larry” every Monday. Find a complete list of his columns here. And keep sending us your Social Security questions.
Kotlikoff’s state-of-the-art r...|
|11/17/14||Poll: Americans Think Ebola Is a Bigger Health Problem Than Cancer and Obesity||newrepublic.com||Health & Welfare, Ebola & Cancer|
|Surgeon Martin Salia, who had contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, died Monday in a Nebraska hospital, becoming the second person to die of the virus in the U.S.
Meanwhile, an estimated 540,000 people have died of cancer so far this year, and another 100,000 from conditions related to obesity.
But a Gallup poll released Monday found that Americans consider Ebola a more urgent health problem than either cancer or obesity. Respondents ranked only healthcare costs and healthcare access higher than Ebola.|
|10/21/14||Scientists Just Discovered How To Determine If Water Contamination Comes From Fracking||thinkprogress.org||Fracking, Health & Welfare & Oil & Gas Indus...|
|A team of U.S. and French scientists say they have developed a new tool that can specifically tell when environmental contamination comes from waste produced by hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.
In peer-reviewed research published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology on Monday, the researchers say their new forensic tool can distinguish fracking wastewater pollution from other contamination that results from other industrial processes — such as conventional oil and gas drilling. Fracking is a c...|
|10/17/14||Joni Ernst: Poor People Aren't Entitled to Food, Clothing, or Health Care||newrepublic.com||Welfare Program & Joni Ernst|
|The unearthed recording of Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst decrying the fact that Americans are insufficiently “self-sufficient” has invited comparisons to the hidden camera footage of Mitt Romney writing off 47 percent of the electorate, and commentary on the candor with which she lumps government health insurance subsidies (which she, too, enjoys as a state employee) together with welfare spending.
But the most revealing thing about the comments is how breezily she renders contradictory judgments about the concept of...|
|10/16/14||Fascinating new study shows that helping poor people vote improves public health||vox.com||Health & Welfare, Right to Vote & Poor|
|Democracy isn't just good for political rights — it's good for public health. A recent paper, written by Princeton economist Thomas Fujiwara, found that, when Brazil made it easier for poor people to vote, the percentage of Brazilian babies born at low birth weight (a strong predictor of infant mortality) declined. In other words, expanding voting rights made babies healthier.|
|10/16/14||Battling Ebola Without a Surgeon General||theatlantic.com||Health & Welfare & Ebola|
|Writing for The Atlantic in 2011, CDC director Thomas Frieden weighed in on the release of Contagion, the modestly successful Matt Damon flick about the outbreak of a deadly and mysterious virus. After clarifying that the movie is not a documentary, Frieden comments:
Contagion shows that fear is also contagious. To address concerns, it's crucial that government promptly communicates what we know, what we don't know, and what we're doing to find out.|
|10/14/14||How the ‘War on Women’ Is Deepening Racial Inequality||thenation.com||Health & Welfare, Racial Politics & Women's...|
|In 1983, when the Department of Health and Human Services assembled the first task force to examine women’s health issues, the appointed experts made it clear that the defining challenges weren’t only related to differences between men and women but also to inequality between some women and others. One fact the panel noted in its final report was that Hispanic women died in childbirth three times as often as white women; black women died four times more frequently. “If a woman is a member of an ethnic or a cultural minority...|
|10/13/14||Ebola’s Fear Factor||newyorker.com||Health & Welfare & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention|
|In early March of 2003, when SARS swept into Hong Kong from Southern China, the streets of one of the world’s most densely populated areas were practically deserted. Venders in kiosks sold face masks and hand sanitizer to anyone brave, or foolish, enough to leave home. The fear of a new highly contagious disease is understandable, and, with no effective treatment or vaccine for SARS, it was difficult to know what to do. The World Health Organization recommended that officials in the countries most affected warn people with...|
|10/09/14||The Supreme Court’s next attack on civil rights: The justices will likely end the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact r...||slate.com||Section 8 Housing & Civil & Human Rights|
|Last Thursday the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project. The case concerns the “disparate impact” rule, a legal guideline embedded in the 1968 Fair Housing Act that says discrimination doesn’t have to be intentional to be discrimination. This rule has been at the bedrock of fair-housing enforcement for more than four decades.
Another way to understand disparate impact is this: It’s a way to confront the realities of rac...|
|09/25/14||'My Degree Has Been Pretty Much Useless'||huffingtonpost.com||Student Loans & Colleges and Universities|
|I am 23 years old. I've got $60,000 in debt from student loans. I make around $10 an hour working as a cook, and I live off of about $20 a week after I cover rent and other expenses.
Since I graduated, my degree has been pretty much useless. When people see that I have a degree, it's like it doesn't even mean anything. Every job that I've done, it's kind of been by personal relation or word of mouth.|
|09/24/14||Subprime students: For-profit universities make a killing from poor and minority students.||motherjones.com||Student Loans & Colleges and Universities|
|Imagine corporations that intentionally target low-income single mothers as ideal customers. Imagine that these same companies claim to sell tickets to the American dream—gainful employment, the chance for a middle class life. Imagine that the fine print on these tickets, once purchased, reveals them to be little more than debt contracts, profitable to the corporation's investors, but disastrous for its customers. And imagine that these corporations receive tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to do this dirty...|
|09/11/14||33,000 senior citizens had Social Security garnished last year to pay back student debt||vox.com||Student Loans, Social Security & Senior Citi...|
|Student debt isn't just a problem for Millennials. It's increasingly common — though still very rare — among the elderly, who have $18.2 billion in student debt, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office:
The total amount of student debt held by people over 65 is still very small compared to the $1 trillion in outstanding debt. But it's grown rapidly since 2005. And the report says that most of these elderly debtors borrowed for their own education, not their children's or grandchildren's.
|09/07/14||Retirement: When to start Social Security||usatoday.com||Social Security|
|Your Social Security can be worth more in golden years' income than your 401(k) or individual retirement account. The trick: Know at what age to best file for benefits.
Consider a married couple who both begin Social Security with a first-year combined benefit of just $23,304, based on the Social Security program fact sheet. As of Dec. 31, 2013, the average retired benefits recipient gets $1,294 a month and a spouse $648 a month. A retirement plan needs a value today of $543,147 to provide the same income as Social Secur...|
|09/02/14||How one family can collect 8 different Social Security benefits||pbs.org||Social Security|
|For some households, it makes sense for a worker to start reduced retirement benefits early in order to permit other family members to immediately start collecting Social Security benefits on the worker’s earnings record. The worker can then suspend his or her retirement benefit at full retirement age and start it up again at 70 at a 32 percent higher value after inflation.
This is the Start-Stop-Start Strategy I discussed in a previous column. Let me share an example of this strategy, which is particularly interesting b...|