ItemSpreadsheet of Dunlop Commission Testimonies and Reports(2008-01-03)A complete listing of all documents related to the Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations (or Dunlop Commission) housed on Digital Commons. The spreadsheet is sortable by title, author, document type, and date. Links to each document are provided. ItemWorker Participation in Employer-Sponsored Pensions: A Fact SheetTopoleski, John J. (2017-02-27)This fact sheet provides data on the percentage of U.S. workers who have access to and who participate in employer-sponsored pension plans. The data are from the National Compensation Survey (NCS), conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). ItemPrivate Pensions: Timely Action Needed to Address Impending Multiemployer Plan InsolvenciesJeszeck, Charles A. (2013-03-01)Multiemployer pension plans—created by collective bargaining agreements including more than one employer—cover more than 10 million workers and retirees, and are insured by the PBGC. In recent years, as a result of investment market declines, employers withdrawing from plans, and demographic challenges, many multiemployer plans have had large funding shortfalls and face an uncertain future. GAO examined (1) actions that multiemployer plans in the weakest financial condition have taken to improve their funding levels; (2) the extent to which plans have relied on PBGC assistance since 2009, and the financial condition of PBGC’s multiemployer plan insurance program; and (3) options available to address PBGC’s impending funding crisis and enhance the multiemployer insurance program’s future financial stability. GAO analyzed government and industry data and interviewed government officials, pension experts—including academics, actuaries, and attorneys, multiemployer plans’ trustees and administrators, employers and trade associations, unions, advocacy organizations, and other relevant stakeholders. ItemOlder Workers: Phased Retirement Programs, Although Uncommon, Provide Flexibility for Workers and EmployersJeszeck, Charles A. (2017-06-01)[Excerpt] As the large baby boomer generation retires, the workforce will lose much of their knowledge and experience. Encouraging phased retirement, in which older workers reduce their work hours with their current employer to transition into retirement, has been cited by retirement experts as one way to mitigate this loss. GAO was asked to review the work patterns of older Americans and phased retirement programs. In this report, GAO examines (1) recent trends in the labor force participation of older workers, (2) the extent to which employers have adopted phased retirement programs and what type of employers offer them, and (3) what challenges and benefits, if any, exist in designing and operating phased retirement programs. GAO analyzed data from two nationally representative surveys, the Health and Retirement Study (2004-2014) and the Current Population Survey (2005-2016); reviewed relevant federal laws and regulations; conducted a literature review; and interviewed 16 experts on retirement and 9 employers who offer or considered offering phased retirement programs. While phased retirement programs exist in both the private sector and government, this report focuses on private sector programs. ItemHealth Insurance Basics: Roles for the Market and Government in Providing, Financing, and Regulating Private Insurance CoverageJenson, Jennifer; Fernandez, Bernadette (2007-09-18)[Excerpt] Both the market and government have important roles in ensuring the availability, affordability, and adequacy of private health insurance. These roles complement one another, but even together the market and government have limitations. The market provides a variety of insurance products for consumers and employers with different needs and preferences. These products differ on many dimensions, including the breadth of provider networks, amount of beneficiary cost-sharing, and techniques for managing the use of health care services. Large employers, small employers, and individuals have different health insurance options, but all must make tradeoffs between the cost of coverage and desired features. A strength of the market is its flexibility to adapt over time to changing circumstances. As economic conditions, consumer preferences, and government policies evolve, the market generates different products with different features. The primary limitation of the market is its failure to provide affordable options for all consumers. The federal government helps ensure access to health coverage through public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and it influences the market for private insurance through tax and regulatory policies. Some tax subsidies help people purchase insurance, and others — including those for Health Savings Accounts — help pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance. By far the largest subsidy is the tax exclusion for employer-provided health benefits. Because of this exclusion, most people get health insurance through work. Tax subsidies make health insurance and health care seem more affordable for certain taxpayers, but do not provide equivalent support to everyone. In addition, subsides may increase health care spending by reducing the apparent cost of health insurance and health care services. Regulations affect both access to insurance and the adequacy of benefits. States have primary responsibility for regulating insurance, but the federal government has sought to address selected issues regarding health coverage. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 include provisions that allow certain people to obtain or continue health coverage under certain circumstances. In addition, several federal laws mandate coverage for specific health benefits. Although regulations provide some protection for consumers, neither federal nor state rules guarantee access to coverage for everyone. In addition, even where regulations require insurers or employers to offer coverage, consumers may find this coverage unaffordable. This report will be updated. ItemSpending by Employers on Health Insurance: A Data BriefJenson, Jennifer (2007-10-10)[Excerpt] To attract and maintain a skilled workforce, many businesses provide health insurance and other benefits for their employees. As the cost of health insurance rises, employers face a growing challenge paying for benefits while managing labor costs to succeed in a competitive market. All types of businesses report problems, including both small businesses and firms with thousands of employees and retirees. Despite concerns about the cost of benefits, small and large employers together provide health coverage for most Americans, about 60% of the population in 2006.1 But as the amount that employers pay for health insurance has been increasing — both absolutely and as a share of labor costs — the percent of the population covered has been decreasing. To describe employer contributions for health insurance, this report presents data from two employer surveys. The first, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, provides information on premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance. The second, from the Department of Labor, provides information on employer costs for employee compensation, including costs for wages and salaries, health insurance, and other benefits. ItemSpending by Consumers on Health Care and Health Insurance: A Data BriefJenson, Jennifer (2007-12-21)Over the 20-year period from 1986 to 2005, health care accounted for 5.4% of consumer spending, on average. According to data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), health care accounted for 5.7% of consumer spending in 2005, slightly higher than the 20-year average but lower than the 2004 share of 5.9%. In the CES, consumer spending for health care includes spending for health insurance and spending for other health care (medical services, medical supplies, and drugs). In 2005, health insurance accounted for 2.9% of consumer spending. Other health care accounted for 2.8% of spending. Consumers spent less on health care than on housing or transportation or food, both in 2005 and in every year since 1986. In 2005, housing accounted for 32.7% of consumer spending; transportation, 18.0%; and food, 12.0%. Average spending in these categories exceeded spending on health care in part because some consumers spend little or nothing on health care and health insurance. Those who spend relatively little on health may do so because they are healthy, because they have generous employer-sponsored or government health benefits, or because they are uninsured and lack access to care. Health care accounts for a higher share of spending, on average, for lower-income people. In 2005, health care accounted for 7.6% of spending by consumers in the lowest income quintile, compared with 4.4% of spending by those in the highest income quintile. Housing and food also account for a higher share of spending for lower-income people. In 2005, housing accounted for 39.4% of spending by those in the lowest income quintile, compared with 31.0% for those in the highest quintile. The spending shares for food were 15.9% and 11.1% for the lowest and highest income quintiles, respectively. As people age, they spend more on health care. In 2005, health care accounted for 2.5% of spending by consumers younger than 25, compared with 15.6% of spending by those 75 or older. Health care is different from other spending categories in its consistent pattern of increasing spending with increasing age. It accounted for 3.4% of consumer spending for those in the 25-to-34 age group, 4.1% of spending for those 35 to 44, 4.8% of spending for those 45 to 54, 6.9% of spending for those 55 to 64, and 10.8% of spending for those 65 to 74. Within the health care category, as people age, they spend more, on average, on both health insurance and other health care. The data in this report reflect direct spending by consumers on health care. They do not include spending by employers for employee health benefits, even though consumers may pay indirectly for such benefits through lower wages. Similarly, the data presented here do not include government spending for health care programs, even though consumers help pay for government benefits through income and employment taxes. This report will be updated. ItemHealth Care Spending: Context and PolicyJenson, Jennifer (2007-10-02)[Excerpt] The United States spends a large and growing share of national income on health care. In 2007, health spending is expected to approach $2.3 trillion and account for more than 16% of gross domestic product (GDP). We spend substantially more than other developed countries, both per capita and as a share of GDP. However, given our wealth, such spending is not necessarily a problem. On the one hand, depending on our preference for health care compared with other things, we may wish to spend even more. On the other hand, regardless of the preferred level for national spending, our nation might use available resources more efficiently and equitably. Health care costs put significant pressure on the federal budget — both directly, through spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal benefits, and indirectly, through tax expenditures for health insurance and expenses. The Congressional Budget Office projects that spending for Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program will total $634 billion and account for about 23% of federal outlays in 2007. Federal tax expenditures for health benefits; health coverage for military personnel, veterans, and federal employees; and spending by Public Health Service agencies are expected to add $272 billion in costs. Given competing constituent interests and the complex interdependence of public and private benefits and actors, policymakers face difficult challenges in helping to ensure access to health care and health insurance without exacerbating federal budget pressures or contributing to marketwide inflation. Three broad policy directions have both promise and limitations for addressing health spending: (1) changing health care, (2) changing federal programs, and (3) changing tax policy. The first, changing health care, considers the potential for influencing spending by improving the quality and delivery of health care services. A key limitation of this direction is uncertainty about whether any particular change will reduce or increase health spending. The second direction, changing federal programs, focuses more narrowly on federal spending for federal benefits. To influence spending, policymakers can set budgets for programs, services, or beneficiaries. They can change eligibility rules or program benefits. And they can change other program features, including payment methods and amounts, and how beneficiaries obtain coverage. In this category, the primary challenge is balancing explicit tradeoffs between competing goals regarding access and spending. The final direction, changing tax policy, focuses both on making health care more affordable for individuals and families, and on influencing consumers’ choices as they purchase health insurance and health care. A key benefit of tax subsidies — including exclusions, credits, deductions, and tax-advantaged accounts — relates to flexibility. In general, these tools help consumers buy the health insurance and health care they prefer. A drawback is that tax subsidies may drive up consumer demand and spending on the one hand, while failing to help ensure access to health coverage on the other. This report will be updated. ItemAnalyzing the Impact of Trade in Services on the U.S. Labor Market: The Response of Service Sector Employment to Exchange Rate ChangesJensen, J. Bradford (2010-09-24)[Excerpt] The size of the service sector and growing trade in services present the possibility that international trade in services could affect labor market outcomes in the U.S. Yet, very little is known about the impact of trade in services on employment or wages. The objective of this report is to start to address this shortage of empirical evidence and investigate one possible channel – exchange rates – through which international trade in services might influence labor market outcomes. ItemFederal Workforce Statistics Sources: OPM and OMBJennings, Julie; Nagel, Jared C. (2020-03-25)[Excerpt] According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the federal workforce is composed of an estimated 2.1 million civilian workers. Several federal agencies collect, compile, and publish statistics about this workforce. Sources may vary in their totals due to differences in the methods used to compile these statistics. For example, some sources rely on “head counts” of employees (OPM), some on total hours worked (such as the Office of Management and Budget [OMB]), some on surveys of employing agencies, and others on self-identification by workers surveyed in their homes. In addition, federal civilian employee databases may exclude particular departments, agencies, or branches of government. Some may also account for temporary or seasonal employees (such as those employed by the U.S. Census) depending on the time of year the statistics are generated. This report describes these sources and identifies key differences in methodologies, including data collection used by OMB and OPM. Understanding these sources and their differences will facilitate selecting appropriate data for specific purposes.