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|1||Show/Hide More||Class Thirteen -- January 21, 2016|
With today's class, we will turn our attention to entitlement reform and related topics. We will begin our discussion with two Supreme Court cases involving Social Security. The first upholding the program's constitutionality and the second dealing with Congress's authority to make benefit changes (and whether taxpayers acquire a property interest in their future Social Security benefits).
We will then discuss briefly Chapter 13 of Fiscal Challenges, in which John Harrison explores New Property, Entrenchment and the Fiscal Constitution.
Next, please take a look at the eight-page portion of the CBO's Long Term Budget Outlook that addresses the long-term future of Social Security. Also, take a look at the CRFB's one-page primer on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, an important and sometimes-overlooked part of the Social Security program.
Finally, please review the CFRB's Social Security “Reformer” website and devise your own solution to problems facing Social Security: http://crfb.org/socialsecurityreformer/.
Team Assignment (Teams B, D,F & J): Please write a short memorandum (3-5 pages), presenting and defending a joint team plan to reform Social Security. The plan should have unanimous approval of group members.
|2||Show/Hide More||Class Fourteen -- January 22, 2016|
Today, we will discuss reform of federal health programs, focusing on Medicare.
For an overview of federal health programs, please read Part 2 of the CBO's 2015 Long-Term Outlook, “The Long-Term Outlook for Major Federal Health Care Programs.”
Then, please read the briefing paper on “bending the health care cost curve” and prepare to discuss the pros and cons of various reform ideas.
Finally, please review the press clippings about the 2015 legislation that ended the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), a mechanism to control Medicare payments to doctors that had been in place since 1997 (but waived on an annual basis via a “Doc Fix” bill). Notice that the CRFB and Wall Street Journal editorial page, both typically hawkish on budgeting issues, come out on opposite sides of the issue.
For reference, the 2015 Medicare Trustees Report and a briefing paper on entitlement reform in foreign countries are included.
Third Individual Response Paper: Drawing on course readings and class discussions over the past three weeks, please write a short (3-5) page memorandum summarizing your views on the appropriate goals for and reasonable expectations with respect to federal budget policy in the United States. How should our public budgeting decisions be structured to serve the public interest? To the extent that you believe certain aspects of the current system should be reformed, please explain how and why? Please submit your response to Carole Mason by email by 8:00 am on the morning of January 22nd. Good luck.
|2.1||Show/Hide More||Congressional Budget Office, 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook, Part 2 (June 2015)|
|2.2||Show/Hide More||Readings on the end of the Sustainable Growth Rate/Doc Fix in 2015 for Jan. 20, 2016|
|2.2.3||Show/Hide More||“Hours from Deadline, Bipartisan Medicare Bill Heads to White House," Washington Post (April 14, 2015)|
January 20, 2016
Howell E. Jackson
James S. Reid, Jr. Professor of Law
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