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The Impact of the ARRA, Health Care Implementation and Reform, The State of Metropolitan America and Much More

Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from January 2010 Through March 2010 - This Congressional Budget Office report finds that Recovery Act spending raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 4.2 percent, lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points, increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million, and increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 1.8 million to 4.1 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise.

The State of Metropolitan America - This Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program report portrays the demographic and social trends shaping the nation’s essential economic and societal units -- its large metropolitan areas.  It highlights the rise in exurban sprawl at the same time new patterns of density are also rising in urban and suburban areas, the rising diversity of the population, the aging of the population, the effects of uneven higher education attainment, and income polarization across different metropolitan areas.

America’s Future: Latino Child Well-Being in Numbers and Trends - This National Council of La Raza (NCLR) data book offers 25 indicators of child well-being for Latino children across the nation.  The data and trends clearly show that Latino children face multiple obstacles and inequalities that impede them from enjoying a successful adulthood.

Health Care Implementation and Reform:

  • Health Care Reform and the Class Act - This brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation explains the functions and long-term costs savings to state Medicaid programs from the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program (CLASS Act) program in the federal health reform law.  When individuals begin receiving CLASS long-term care benefits after 2017, those benefits will be used to partially offset the costs to the states of Medicaid.
  • Optimizing Medicaid Enrollment: Perspectives on Strengthening Medicaid’s Reach Under Health Care Reform - The Kaiser Family Foundation uses interviews with Medicaid program directors and other experts to highlight how strengthening enrollment procedures can recast Medicaid as an affordable program for working people and families and fulfill the reform’s coverage goals.
  • Federal Government Will Pick Up Nearly All Costs of Health Reform's Medicaid Expansion - Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains why the Medicaid expansion included in health reform is a good deal for states.  In its first five years, the expansion will add a mere 1.25 percent to what states were already projected to spend on Medicaid over the same period.  The huge benefit of this very modest price tag will provide health coverage to 16 million more low-income adults and children.  Plus, expanding health coverage will help states reduce spending on other services for the uninsured.
  • New Citizenship Documentation Option for Medicaid and CHIP Is Up and Running -  States using a new data matching system to verify eligibility for benefits report that this option simplifies enrollment, produces significant administrative savings, and may help states coordinate eligibility determinations for Medicaid, CHIP, and the new subsidies, according to this Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report.  This is encouraging news, since the same data matching system will be used for the new health care exchanges.
  • Brand Name Drug Prices Continue to Climb Despite Low General Inflation Rate - The AARP finds that average prices for brand name drugs rose far faster than prices for other consumer goods during the last year, while prices for generic drugs fell during the same time period. 
  • Healthy Students Are Better Students: Health Reform Bill Gives a Boost to School-Based Health Centers - One important part of the federal health reform law will provide more funding for health services at school, according to this Center for American Progress report.  These school-based health centers are typically located in medically underserved communities -- almost a third in rural areas -- so this will enhance a key component of promoting the "community school" concept of addressing non-academic needs in schools.

Out of the Shadows: Massachusetts Quasi-Public Agencies and the Need for Budget Transparency - A majority of Massachusetts quasi-public agencies do not provide the public with complete information about their budgets or finances, even though they perform vital state functions, such as operating bus and rail systems, building schools, and delivering drinking water, according to this report by MASSPIRG.  MASSPIRG finds, "the quasi-public agencies represent almost one-third additional government activity that is exempt from even limited normal transparency and oversight rules."  The group recommends budget transparency as a means to promote efficiency and prevent potential abuse and corruption.