Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Strike Signals Uncertainty in Auto Industry • Making Money HeathMon, 16 Sep 2019 15:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFewer Americans Have Health Insurance - Why?<p> New federal data show that the number of Americans without insurance increased in 2018 to <a href="">27.5 million</a>. This is the first increase since 2009. Why is this happening?&nbsp;</p> <p> Let&#39;s take a look at recent history: In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law. Most of its major provisions didn&#39;t take effect until 2014. The law created new rules for insurance companies, provided income-based subsidies and tax credits for people who buy their own insurance, and expanded Medicaid, the government insurance program for low-income people.&nbsp;</p> <p> Most of the present decrease in the number of people with insurance is attributable to Medicaid. Some states have recently put more stringest eligibility rules in place. But there&#39;s another phenomenon at work: The strong economy has lifted the incomes of many low-income people to the point they are no longer eligibile. In the grand scheme of things, a good economy is, well, good. But for people who lose access to Medicaid, it doesn&#39;t feel good. While many public programs phase out benefits as income increases, Medicaid faces what we call a &quot;benefit cliff.&quot; Either you&#39;re eligible or you&#39;re not. And if you&#39;re not, private insurnace can be hard to afford.</p> <p> Because of the well-intended changes the ACA made to private insurance (an effort to make coverage more robust), premiums have soared. Most recently, they went up 34 percent just from 2018 to 2019. And in spite of the current Administration&#39;s efforts to expand access to more affordable insurnace options (like short-term or Association Health Plans), many people still face a very limited set of health insurance options at very high prices.&nbsp;</p> <p> Another one of the unintended consequences of the ACA was that, although the subsidies for private insurance plans *start* at 100 percent of the federal poverty line, not all Medicaid eligibility goes *up* to 100 percent FPL. For example, 100 percent of the federal poverty level for a single person is about $12,000 annual wages. Some states don&#39;t offer Medicaid to able-bodied childless adults, so a person who makes less than $12,000 per year would face a HIGHER premium than someone making $15,000 per year (who is eligible for a subsidy).&nbsp; Importantly, all 50 states offer Medicaid to children, pregnant women, and parents (at varying income eligibility thresholds). You can see a <a href="">state-by-state breakdown here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> So changes to Medicaid eligibility, whether the result of public policy changes or increases in income, are mostly to blame for the uptick in uninsured people. Although exiting dependency on government is good, we don&#39;t want to see Americans lose public benefits if they lack other good options. This news is another reminder that policymakers should be working to improve the affordability of private health insurance, which will require rolling back some of the most counterproductive regulations in the ACA. It&#39;s a difficult political battle, but one worth fighting on behalf of the many Americans who are working hard to provide for themselves and their loved ones.&nbsp;</p> HeathWed, 11 Sep 2019 11:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCA Putting More Restrictions on the Gig Economy • Making Money with Charles Payne HeathWed, 11 Sep 2019 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAmerica Is In a Strong Position to Negotiate with China • Making Money with Charles Payne HeathThu, 22 Aug 2019 18:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTakeaways: Addressing America's Immigration Challenges<p> Immigrants contribute to the diversity of the U.S. culture as well as to the strength of our economy. America is such a desirable place to live that millions of people would immigrate to America if they were allowed to do so. Given that we cannot allow everyone who wants to be an American to gain citizenship, how many people do we allow and how do we prioritize them?</p> <p> <a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 250px; height: 41px;" /></a></p> HeathWed, 21 Aug 2019 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDeclining Union Membership Proves that Labor Market is Strong • After the Bell HeathWed, 21 Aug 2019 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumVIDEO: How American Health Care Stacks Up<p> In the 2018 midterm elections, <a href="">41 percent of voters</a> (a plurality) said health care was their top issue. The way things are shaping up, health care is likely to be a top issue in the 2020 elections, too.</p> <p> We hear candidates on both sides of the aisle talking about their solutions, but in order to find the best solution, we have to understand the nature of the problem. One popular talking point is that America&rsquo;s healthcare system performs poorly compared to other nations and costs twice as much. This point is only partially true.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s true that we have a health costs crisis, but it&rsquo;s not true that Americans receive poor quality medical care compared to the rest of the world. Watch this video to learn more:</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div wibbitz="wbtz-static-embed" wibbitz-clip-id="bf908f1991fe746169fba331a5087a6ac"> &nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { if (d.getElementById(id)) return; var js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; d.getElementsByTagName("body")[0].appendChild(js); }(document, "script", "wibbitz-static-embed"));</script> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> For citations and more information, visit <a href="">this webpage</a>.</p> <p> Of course our healthcare system isn&rsquo;t perfect. Hospitals, doctor&rsquo;s offices, academic researchers, and others are striving everyday to study what works best for patients and make improvements. A <a href="">forthcoming book</a> by Dr. Marty Makary offers some excellent advice for improving &ldquo;appropriateness&rdquo; in medical care and offering doctors more time with patients (boy &ndash; wouldn&rsquo;t that be nice for both of us)!</p> <p> But it&rsquo;s not fair to say the American health system provides a low quality of care compared to other nations, for all of the reasons cited in the video.</p> <p> It <em>is</em> fair to say we overpay. This is due to a complex web of factors, including: 1) a messy payment pipeline where third-parties (middlemen) play too large a role, 2) distortions in our tax code and health insurance regulations that increase costs and 3) a lack of price transparency, limiting patients&rsquo; ability to shop for value in care.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s hope that policymakers on both sides of the aisle focus on solving these cost-related problems first. With greater competition and choice, we will see not only lower prices <em>but also</em> better incentives for improvements in quality. The truth is, when medical care is more affordable and straightforward, it&rsquo;s easier for everyone to get, and to get the best in quality.</p> HeathMon, 19 Aug 2019 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPolicy Focus: Addressing America's Immigration Challenges<div> In his farewell address, former President Ronald Reagan envisioned America as a city &ldquo;...wind-swept, God-blessed, teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The United States has a proud heritage of welcoming immigrants from around the world.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Immigrants contribute to the diversity of the U.S. culture as well as to the strength of our economy. America is such a desirable place to live that millions of people would immigrate to America if they were allowed to do so. Given that we cannot allow everyone who wants to be an American to gain citizenship, how many people do we allow and how do we prioritize them?</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> And there are other questions: How should we address illegal immigration? What about illegal immigration by minors (&ldquo;Dreamers&rdquo;)? How can we best balance the promise of freedom for immigrants with legitimate concerns about national security, the labor market, cultural assimilation, public health, taxes, public safety nets, and more?</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> We address these questions in this policy focus with the view that, like any sovereign country, the U.S. must control immigration, U.S. immigration law must put American interests first, and the rule of law must be followed.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href=""><font face="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><img alt="" src="" style="width: 300px; height: 50px;" /></span></font></a></div> HeathTue, 13 Aug 2019 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGetting Real About a Trade War with China: What will it look like? • Making Money with Charles Payne HeathMon, 12 Aug 2019 15:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCurrency Manipulation in China Makes Reaching Trade Deal Much Harder • Coast to Coast HeathTue, 6 Aug 2019 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOpposition to National Popular Vote Makes History in Colorado<p> Colorado is a very interesting state, politically. It is, like many states, red, with dark blue urban centers like Denver and Boulder, where the Univerity of Colorado is.&nbsp;</p> <p> In 2018, the midterm elections changed the state&#39;s government from divided to completely controlled by Democrats. The last legislative session was a busy one as Democrats sought to capitalize on this new control and pass bills related to sexual education, health care, paid family leave, and regulations on energy and the environment. One of the most controversial moves, though, was a new law that joins Colorado to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).</p> <p> The NPVIC only takes effect if enough states join. There&#39;s a thresold of 270 electoral votes to win an election, so if states with 270 electoral votes join the compact, then all the states in the compact are committed to casting their electoral votes in favor of the winner of the national popular vote. Currently, 15 states and DC have joined the compact.&nbsp;</p> <p> Many Colorado voters were not happy with the legislature&#39;s move to join the NPVIC. In response, Coloradans launched a petition drive to get a repeal measure added to the 2020 ballot. If successful, this would give Colorado voters the chance to decide if their state will continue to be a part of the traditional Electoral College as designed by America&#39;s founders, or if they prefer to see those electoral votes go to the winner of the popular vote instead.</p> <p> The petition drive was successful. In fact, <a href="">it made history</a>. No petition drive in the state&#39;s history has ever collected as many signatures.&nbsp;</p> <p> The Electoral College is something that voters of all parties are really fired up about, and for good reason. I had the chance to comment on the Electoral College in this TV interview below and share my perspective:</p> <p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> If you want to learn more about the Electoral College, take <a href="">this quiz</a> and read this <a href="">legal brief.</a></p> HeathTue, 6 Aug 2019 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMedicare for All Would Bring Woes of Canadian Health System to U.S<p> During the Democratic Presidential Debates last night and Tuesday night, we heard a lot about America&rsquo;s healthcare laws and candidates&rsquo; plans to change them. Some candidates are fond of &ldquo;<a href="">Medicare for All</a>,&rdquo; a plan that would replace today&rsquo;s private insurance companies with one government program to pay for and manage all health care publicly.</p> <p> This is similar to the healthcare system in Canada. Sen. Bernie Sanders frequently praises the Canadian system, even though <a href="">it actually allows a greater role for private insurance</a> than does his Medicare for All proposal.</p> <p> Still, the Canadian system has <a href="">well-documented shortcomings</a>. In this new video below, a Canadian watchdog organization, Second Street, interviews Christina Sanford, a nurse and mother about her experience as a patient. When Christina injured her back, she was told that despite severe, life-altering pain and numbness, she did not meet the categorical government standard to qualify for surgery. Instead, she was prescribed opioid painkillers for years while she suffered.</p> <p> Finally, Christina traveled to Mexico for a 30-minute back surgery that addressed her back injury. She&rsquo;s not alone: Many Canadians travel outside of their country for treatment when they are denied care or when they languish on long wait lists. As Christina said, &ldquo;&ldquo;It&rsquo;s terrifying to leave your country to go somewhere to get spinal surgery&hellip; but I don&rsquo;t regret this a bit. Sometimes you just have to leave in order to get better.&rdquo;</p> <p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> When asked about her feelings toward the Canadian health system, Christina said, &ldquo;I feel somewhat cheated. It&rsquo;s something as simple as a half-hour surgery that could completely turn my life around&hellip; why don&rsquo;t we have that option here?&rdquo; Sadly, countries with socialized medical systems have to deny options to many patients.</p> <p> Americans should pay attention and beware.</p> HeathThu, 1 Aug 2019 14:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumOptimistic New Report on Huge Economic Expansion to Come • After the Bell HeathWed, 31 Jul 2019 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBernie's Campaign Staff Unionized and Suffered the Consequences • Making Money with Charles Payne HeathMon, 22 Jul 2019 22:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Wage Gap is Misrepresented<p> Americans should all stand and cheer for our U.S. Women&rsquo;s Soccer Team, now four-time World Cup champions.&nbsp; After their latest championship victory, the crowd even broke out into chants of &ldquo;Equal pay!&rdquo; in support of the team&rsquo;s wage-discrimination lawsuit against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, and for their broader effort to bring attention to the disparity between men and women&rsquo;s pay.</p> <p> The U.S. Women&rsquo;s Team represents our country when they take the field, but they do not serve as a good representation of the so-called wage gap.</p> <p> The pay gap in soccer is actually quite complicated, as players draw income at a variety of levels: their club teams (based in U.S. cities), the national teams (where the women get salaries and the men get only bonus-based pay that depends on whether they win, lose or make the roster), and international prize money (determined by the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA).</p> <p> But most important, there&rsquo;s a particular reason that sports has a pay gap: Athletics &mdash; like acting, another industry prone to wide pay differentials between the sexes &mdash; is sex-specific. The sex of players is literally in the job description. No one cares (or should care) if an accountant (or physician or janitor) is male or female, but in sports, men and women play on separate teams and for good reason.</p> <p> So, while professional female athletes train just as hard as their male counterparts, and play with just as much passion, the two groups are really doing different jobs. They are not interchangeable, meaning a member of the U.S. Women&rsquo;s Team couldn&rsquo;t quit her job as a female soccer player and seek employment on the U.S. Men&rsquo;s Team. (Otherwise, this would be an easy fix to their wage gap.)</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s an analogy: Rock and jazz musicians are both in the entertainment business (and so are athletes, by the way). They both practice just as hard, but one group might get paid more money on average due to the fact that rock and jazz music attract different (not mutually exclusive) audiences and are therefore subject to the different market conditions that drive pay (e.g. concert ticket and record sales).</p> <p> Supporters of the U.S. Women&rsquo;s Team&rsquo;s equal-pay effort are quick to point out that, when it comes to market forces, the women&rsquo;s team has recently surpassed the U.S. Men&rsquo;s Team in terms of revenues. This is true, but leaves out the fact that women&rsquo;s club teams in the United States are still very far behind men&rsquo;s teams in revenues, and that the international prize money for women is a function of the worldwide demand for women&rsquo;s soccer, which is much lower than that for men&rsquo;s soccer.</p> <p> This isn&rsquo;t to say that the U.S. Women&rsquo;s Team is paid enough or paid fairly; that&rsquo;s a negotiation that should take place among players, their union and their employer. And, as their lawsuit now goes to mediation, we are likely to see concessions in favor of the high-profile plaintiffs/players who brought the case. Good for them.</p> <p> But Americans should not see the U.S. Women&rsquo;s Team as victims of sex discrimination or as representatives of women in the broader economy. We&rsquo;re often told that sex discrimination in pay is widespread (even though it has been illegal since the 1963 Equal Pay Act). In fact, American women often hear the wage gap statistic that shows that we earn only &ldquo;80 cents on the dollar&rdquo; compared to men.</p> <p> Fortunately, this statistic does not mean what it is often purported to mean. It is a raw comparison of averages that doesn&rsquo;t take into account profession, benefits, working conditions, hours, experience, seniority or any other pay-related factor.</p> <p> Indeed, a 2009 study for the Department of Labor concluded that &ldquo;differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.&rdquo;</p> <p> In other words, the wage gap between men and women is complicated, and it becomes even more so in the world of sports. Rather than seeking to close the wage gap (and fixating on parity between men and women), we should simply seek to ensure that all workers in all industries &mdash; including players on the U.S. Women&rsquo;s Team &mdash; are rightfully paid what they deserve.</p> HeathFri, 19 Jul 2019 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum