The Health Care State of Play, Market Power on the Rise, and Working Through the Opioid Crisis

September 22, 2017

The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top 5 stories of the week.

1. The Health Care State of Play

Well, there they go again (maybe?). Republicans are attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, this time with the Graham-Cassidy bill that health policy experts say would devastate millions of American families. (Sen. McCain’s announcement today that he won’t support the bill certainly changes the calculus.) In The Washington Post, Dave Weigel examines how the bill’s passage could end up setting the stage for Medicare for All, with commentary from Roosevelt Fellow Mike Konczal. With an eye on 2020, Pacific Standard follows the health-insurance money in politics. And Roosevelt’s Andrea Flynn discusses how the latest repeal attempt will be especially harmful to women in unseen ways. “We are shifting from explicit to implicit discrimination.”

2. Market Power on the Rise

“Market power is the story that explains everything,” says Roosevelt Research Director and Fellow Marshall Steinbaum, in a conversation about America’s start-up slump with the NYT. In a new ProMarket blog post, Steinbaum outlines our take on antitrust in the labor market. Both of these stories point to what we’ll discuss next week in D.C.: an imbalance of power—built by corporations and the very wealthy—has taken hold of our economy and is restricting equitable participation and healthy growth. Significant policy change is required to take that power back.

3. Working Through the Opioid Crisis

In The Guardian, Roosevelt’s Rakeen Mabud explores the connections between the failures of our economy and the “deaths of despair” caused by the opioid epidemic. The latest paper from labor economist Alan Krueger reveals that in areas where the number of opioid prescriptions is up, employment is down. This growing crisis is not only a national public health emergency, says Mabud; it’s an economic problem, too. Our so-called “jobs president” must act if he intends to follow through with his pledge to strengthen the job market in the communities most affected by this epidemic.

4. Two Sides of UBI

On Wednesday, CNBC’s Shawn M. Carter looked at the future of work by exploring the latest research on the concept of a universal basic income. Our report, which analyzes the macroeconomic effects of a UBI, is a helpful guide for this important conversation. As Carter reveals, top executives, including Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, are proponents of the concept. Former Vice President Joe Biden, on the other hand, sees a better way forward for the social safety net. “Let’s instead figure out how we’re going to train [workers] for the jobs of the future,” he said.

5. Roosevelt’s Young Leaders

A chapter of Roosevelt’s national network was in the news this week for its efforts to educate students on food sustainability. Yale Dining, a program created to tackle food waste on campus through green initiatives, was featured in the Yale Daily News. Pamela Torola, a Roosevelter involved in the Yale Roosevelt Institute Center for Energy and the Environment, views the chapter’s sustainability work as “local, eco-sensitive, humane, fair.”

What We’re Reading:

This New York Times piece explores the H.I.V. crisis in the African-American community, revealing hidden rules that determine many health outcomes. In a raw and honest account, Daryl Hannah writes on his struggles as a gay black man to overcome societal, economic, and emotional barriers to his own health and the way these barriers exist throughout his community. As Hannah explains, we cannot overcome decades of racial inequality and trauma in the health care system without changing the structures and institutions currently in place that account for that history. Learn more about the hidden rules in our new book.

What We’re Watching:

After Senator Bill Cassidy claimed that his health care bill would pass the “Jimmy Kimmel Test,” the television host had a few things to say. With lifetime caps and no protections for pre-existing conditions, among other grave concerns, the Graham-Cassidy bill fails any and all tests of adequate health care.


We are only weeks away from the 2017 Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards Ceremony—and you’re invited! Join us on Tuesday, October 10th in NYC as we honor five outstanding laureates, including Harry Belafonte and Dan Rather. In an age of uncertainty and fear, FDR’s Four Freedomsfreedom from want, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom of speech and expressionare a reminder that we as a country can rise above. RSVP today.