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人権侵害と批判されたイギリスのSocial Care [Social Policy]

イギリスの話が続きますが,イギリスの緊縮財政によって制約された高齢者へのSocial Care,特にhome care help が人権侵害に当たると批判されています.

Basic care for the elderly in their own homes in England is so bad it breaches human rights at times, an inquiry says.
The home care review by the Equality and Human Rights Commission highlighted cases of physical abuse, theft, neglect and disregard for privacy and dignity.

Ministers have already promised they will be revamping social care.と政府も対応を約束していますが,最近のヨーロッパの不安な経済状況をみると,大丈夫なのかなと強い懸念が残ります.

あまり紹介する気持ちが進まない記事ですから,あとは,どうぞご自由に,ご渉猟下さい.

ただ,忘れてならないのは,わが国の累積財政赤字,GDPの180%超は,世界の先進国中最悪で,いったん金利水準が上がり始めると,国債は大幅に値下がりしかねず,たとえ約95%が国内で購入保有されているとはいえ,日本の金融機関の保有額は小さくありませんから,ギリシャ,スペイン,イタリア,フランスなどと同様,日本の金融機関の格付けが引き下がり,ヨーロッパの二の舞を招かないという保障はないことを銘記すべきです.

また,国債発行額を抑制するために,消費税や一部の所得税,相続税などの引き上げ,他方では年金,医療,介護の抑制が真剣に検討されていますが,(1)増税が決して財政収入を増大させないことは,ヨーロッパの消費税引き上げの失敗が実証していますし,(2)社会保障支出の削減は,人々の消費意欲をいっそう冷え込ませるでしょう.
円高,株安の同時進行は,輸出依存の日本企業の海外流出を促進しそうです.多くの場面で世界の頭脳に遅れをとった日本企業が,日本を見限る可能性は小さくありません

私が提案する代替策は,GDP の増大,つまり経済成長を促進させることこそが,最優先の課題だと考えるものです.そのためには,海外からの優秀な人材を,日本社会のあらゆる面で,導入促進すべきです.無用の資格障壁は撤廃し,海外の資格を進んで認証すべきだと考えます.

日本で,一方で,英語だけで大学卒業,就職機会の保障を図っている反面で,他面では日本にだけしかない資格障壁を維持するのはナンセンスでしょう.

 

 

 

Elderly person

Ministers have already promised they will be revamping social care

Related Stories

Basic care for the elderly in their own homes in England is so bad it breaches human rights at times, an inquiry says.

The home care review by the Equality and Human Rights Commission highlighted cases of physical abuse, theft, neglect and disregard for privacy and dignity.

It said on many occasions support for tasks such as washing and dressing was "dehumanising" and left people "stripped of self-worth".

The findings have added weight to calls for a complete overhaul of the system.

Campaigners described the situation as "shameful", while councils, which are in charge of providing such services, said without urgent reform services would just get worse.

There are currently nearly 500,000 people who are getting council-funded support in their own homes.

The home care review said about half of people who had given evidence reported real satisfaction with care, but a number of common complaints were made by others. These included:

'Pushed me back'

The physical abuse reported was most often in the form of rough handling or unnecessary physical force.

A 78-year-old woman who lives alone told the commission about her treatment.

She said: "Most of the girls [from the agency] were nasty. They were rough. Rather than say 'Sit in the chair', they'd push me back into the chair, that sort of thing, and I didn't like that.

"I couldn't do anything about it. I can't even walk and I think they know this, you see. They know you're vulnerable."

  • Older people not being given enough support to eat and drink, with some staff arguing health and safety restrictions prevented them preparing hot meals
  • Neglect because care workers stick rigidly to their tasks, such as a case when a woman was left stuck on the toilet because staff were too busy
  • Financial abuse, including money being systematically stolen over a period of time
  • Chronic disregard for privacy and dignity, such as leaving people unwashed and putting them to bed in the afternoon
  • Patronising behaviour, with cases highlighted including staff talking on mobile phones while they tended to clients
  • Physical abuse involving pushing and rough handling

The commission said such problems could be said to be in breach of various parts of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ann Reid says one of her husband's carers refused to help him go to the toilet, because he was reading the newspaper

In particular, it highlighted article eight, which guarantees respect for dignity and personal autonomy, article three, which covers the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment, and article two, governing the right to life.

To rectify the situation, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the law needed extending to clear up a potential loophole.

Councils are already covered by the Human Rights Act, but as they buy most home care services from the voluntary and private sector, it remains unclear how well protected the elderly are.

Ignoring pleas for help

A number of people complained that services were inflexible with staff keeping rigidly to set tasks. Taken to the extreme, this can result in serious situations being ignored.

A council officer recounted a case where one woman's pleas for help were ignored by her carer.

"I had a lady who was on the toilet when the carer came. She shouted 'I'm stuck, I need some help'. The carer shouted up: 'Can't do that, but I've made you a butty and I'm going now.'"

The commission also called on councils to ensure they balanced quality of service with price when tendering for services.

But it made clear that part of the problem was a basic lack of compassion and common sense among staff, pointing out simple measures such as staff covering someone with a towel while washing them could make all the difference.

Age discrimination was also highlighted as a significant barrier as older people were getting less money towards their care than younger people with similar problems.

But the commission suggested the prospects for the future looked bleak as one in three councils had already cut back on home care spending while a further one in five were planning to.

'Simply unacceptable'

EHRC commissioner Baroness Sally Greengross, who led the report, said it was time home care provided by councils was encompassed by the Human Rights Act.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Two messages came out loud and clear. This poor care mustn't continue.

"And one of the ways to stop it continuing is to close the loophole, which means that any care that's commissioned by a local authority or another public body should come under the Human Rights Act so people are protected from abuse."

Linda Stephens, whose mother suffered from dementia and had home care, and who also worked as a carer herself, told the BBC there had been a lack of understanding of people and their needs.

She said: "Although I gave them quite an in-depth idea of what care was needed for mum - a lot of it would have been prompting and support - but unfortunately because of time restraints on them they were task orientated."

Left to heat own meals

One of the common complaints was a lack of help the elderly were given eating and drinking.

The report highlighted cases where people unable to feed themselves were given no help or where uneaten meals were left for days.

In one incident a carer watched as a 76-year-old cancer patient struggled from her lounge to her kitchen to microwave her meal because the worker argued they could not help because of health and safety.

The woman's daughter said: "It is hard to think of a reason or excuse big enough adequately to cover such a fundamental lack of care from one adult to another."

Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, described the findings as "shameful".

"It is simply unacceptable that care in people's own homes, where they can be at their most vulnerable, is often inadequate, disrespectful and lacking in dignity."

Ministers have already promised the whole social care system - including care homes as well as help at home - will be looked at, with initial plans expected to be published in the spring.

This comes after a recent government-commissioned review recommended costs - the system is means-tested - be capped, while the regulator has promised to toughen its inspections of home care providers.

But councils pointed out such promises have been being made for over a decade.

Councillor John Merry, of the Local Government Association, said: "These results are symptomatic of a social care system that is under-funded and in need of urgent reform. The longer ministers procrastinate, the more our population ages and the worse things will become."


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UK の Long Term Sick 判定方法変更 [Social Policy]

このEnglandの問題は医療におけるLong-term-care 問題ではありません.イギリスを含む多くの欧州諸国の医療が国営サービス(National Health Service) ないし公営医療サービスとなっており,介護保険などという愚策が論じられることはないからです.社会保険大国ドイツの介護保険は,生活保護からの分離という命題があったのです,日本は既に生活保護から老人福祉法に分離していたところへ,さらに医療から分離して作ったという,超分離政策の結果で,厚生労働省の拡大政策目標の成果というべきモノでしょう.

このイギリスの議論は,社会扶助の,働けるモノで生活保護に依存し続ける人を選別するために,働けるか否かの判断に委員会を加えようというモノです.

Around 300,000 people a year are absent from work due to long-term sickness.
The review also calls for a new government backed job-brokering service, to find work for people cannot stay in their current job because of their condition.

A survey suggested 77% of GPs (General Practitioners:家庭医)had admitted they signed people off sick for reasons other than their physical health, the report authors told the BBC.
とイギリスでも,働けるのに働かない人(欠勤者を含む)が,高まっているということがあるようです.

そこで政府が委嘱した調査チームが,対策を報告したのですが,そこでは,
people who are signed off sick would also be put on to Job Seekers' Allowance, instead of Employment Support Allowance, for a period of three months.They would receive less money and have to prove they were looking for work."The economy loses £15bn in lost economic output each year due to sickness absence and we cannot continue to foot this bill.

"But even more important is the impact of needless inactivity on people's lives, the damage to their aspirations and their health and the damage to their families and communities.
"The report authors estimate the changes could
save taxpayers at least £350m each year.

勧告された大きな点は,People should be signed off for long-term sickness by an independent assessment service not GPs, a government-backed review says...the new service was likely to asses people "more quickly and more stringently".
つまり診断書だけではダメとするようです.

この政策変更の目的は,"something for something" society.を作ることだといいます.しかし,一部の間には,But there will be concern, particularly among the most vulnerable, especially those who suffer fluctuating illnesses, about how stringent and flexible any new assessment could be. と懸念の声が上がっているようです.

イギリスはEURO圏ではないのですが,EU加盟国として,ヨーロッパの厳しい経済状況を踏まえて,いよいよ社会政策の引き締めが進みそうです.

あとは,ご自由に,ご渉猟下さい.


 


 


 


 

 

 

GPs should 'not sign off long-term sick'

Around 300,000 people a year are absent from work due to long-term sickness.

The review also calls for a new government backed job-brokering service, to find work for people cannot stay in their current job because of their condition.

A survey suggested 77% of GPs had admitted they signed people off sick for reasons other than their physical health, the report authors told the BBC.

The government asked Professor Carol Black and the former head of the British Chambers of Commerce David Frost to consider radical changes to deal with the human and financial cost of sickness absence in the workplace.

Tax breaks

If the recommendations are accepted people who are signed off sick would also be put on to Job Seekers' Allowance, instead of Employment Support Allowance, for a period of three months.

They would receive less money and have to prove they were looking for work.

Tax breaks for firms which employ people who suffer from long-term conditions are also being suggested.

The DWP spokesman said: "The economy loses £15bn in lost economic output each year due to sickness absence and we cannot continue to foot this bill.

"But even more important is the impact of needless inactivity on people's lives, the damage to their aspirations and their health and the damage to their families and communities."

BBC political correspondent Robin Brant said the new service was likely to asses people "more quickly and more stringently".

The report authors estimate the changes could save taxpayers at least £350m each year.

 

RELATED

Prof Carol Black says an independent assessment service would enable more people on long-term sickness to return to work.


 

 

People should be signed off for long-term sickness by an independent assessment service not GPs, a government-backed review says.

The review also suggests tax breaks for firms which employ people who suffer from long-term conditions.

It is estimated the changes would send 20% of those off sick back to work.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "The government is committed to supporting more people with health conditions to work."  

Related Stories

Analysis

The authors of the independent review believe that one in five of people currently on "the sick" could be back at work if their recommendations are accepted.

That is the kind of change that David Cameron and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith want to
see if they are to deal with a welfare dependency which they believe has spiralled out of control.

There's talk of tax incentives for firms to take on or retain staff with long-term conditions and government-backed help to find a more appropriate job for those who can no longer do what they have been doing could also be on offer.

Both the prime minister and Labour's Ed Miliband have talked recently about a "something for something" society.

The emphasis is on putting in if you want to get something out.

But there will be concern, particularly among the most vulnerable, especially those who suffer fluctuating illnesses, about how stringent and flexible any new assessment could be.


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US Supreme Court & Political Parties [Social Policy]

Health Care Law が合憲か否かの判断がSupreme Court の判断にかかっている形になっていますが,Supreme Sourt の判事は,欠員が生じた時に,大統領が指名し,議会の同意を得て決まることになっています.

そのため,政党色を持った判事が多く,しばしば判決は,何党の大統領によって指名されたを反映した決定になる可能性が高いといわれています.

そこで現在の判事9名がどの政党の大統領によって任命されたかを下記に書き出してみました.
▲が共和党,△が民主党です.

Chief Justice
John Roberts (2005-present)President George W. Bush nominated him as Chief Justice ofthe United States, and he took his seat on September 29, 2005.
Associate Justices
Samuel Alito(2006-present)Nominated by George H.W. Bush on February 20, 1990, to a seat vacated by John Joseph Gibbons; Confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 1990, and received commission on April 30, 1990.
Stephen Breyer(1994-present)Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, August 3, 1994 (nominated by President Clinton)Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-present)Nominated by President Clinton as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; took oath of office August 10, 1993.
Elena Kagan (2010-present):President Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 10, 2010, and she assumed this role on August 7, 2010.
Anthony M. Kennedy(1988-present)Nominated by President Reagan as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court; took oath of office February 18, 1988.
Antonin Scalia(1986-presnet)Nominated by President Reagan as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court; took oath of office September 26, 1986
.
Sonia Sotomayor((2009-present)President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role on August 8, 2009.

Clarence Thomas(1991-present)
Nominated by President Bush as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court: took oath of office October 23, 1991.


これによりますと,W. Bush 
 の指名3人,Clinton の指名が2人,Reagan の指名が2人.Obama の指名が2人となっており,政党別には共和党(野党)指名が5人,民主党(与党)指名が4人になっています.

ただ,最高裁判事に任期や定年はありませんから,かなり長く勤めている判事がおり,その人たちの判断がどちらにいくかの予想が困難な情勢です.

ご参考までに...
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アメリカ主要3紙の Supreme Court への論説要約 [Social Policy]

アメリカの主要3紙の論説(要約)を紹介します.

なお,主要な論点は2つあり,
(1)interstate commerceに当たるかどうか,inner stateには連邦政府は関与できない.
(2)個人に民間医療保険購入を義務づけるばかりでなく,購入しないモノには$2000の一種の罰金支払いを命ずることにしているが,これは個人の自由権の侵害にならないか.
です.

New York Times:
In reviewing the health care reform law, the Supreme Court ought to show judicial restraint and uphold its constitutionality.
すなわち,最高裁が判断すべき領域を超えていると判断すべきだと合憲判決を期待しています.

The Wall Street Journal:
選挙民が2012年の選挙投票前に最高裁の判断を聴けることは歓迎すべきことだ.とした上で, The health care reform law は違憲とすべきだとして,.” The paper also voices the concern that if the federal government has the authority to order everyone to purchase health insurance, “then there is no limit to what commercial activity the government can command.” 
と論じて,もしこれを合憲としたら,どんなcommercial activity にも連邦政府が制約する権限を持つことになりかねない,と論じて違憲判決を期待しています.

Washington Post:
Charles Lane wonders why the Obama administration was eager to have a quick ruling–before the 2012 election. He suggests that true “judicial restraint,” in this case, would involve the Supreme Court determining that they don’t have jurisdiction to consider the constitutional issues until the law actually goes into effect. 
と Obama が予想外に早い最高裁判断を求めたのは,最高裁の違憲,合憲判断は,現実に法律が施行されてからしか出せないからだと見通しています.
しかし,アメリカの場合には,違憲立法審査権に基づく事前審査ができるとする前例があり,最高裁の判断が注目されます.

 

 

 

 

November 15, 2011, 8:29 am

Opinion Report: Health Care and the Supreme Court

From the editorial page

Every now and then, Verlyn Klinkenborg forgets to turn off the lights in the barn.

Three Republican presidential candidates, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney, have come out in favor of the torture technique known as waterboarding. The fact that torture diminishes the nation’s standing doesn’t seem to faze them.

In reviewing the health care reform law, the Supreme Court ought to show judicial restraint and uphold its constitutionality.

From other sources

The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post also devote editorials to the Supreme Court’s review of the health care reform law.

In The Post, Charles Lane wonders why the Obama administration was eager to have a quick ruling–before the 2012 election. He suggests that true “judicial restraint,” in this case, would involve the Supreme Court determining that they don’t have jurisdiction to consider the constitutional issues until the law actually goes into effect.

The Journal, however, is pleased that voters will “have the chance to include the Court’s verdict on the law when they go to the polls in 2012.” The paper also voices the concern that if the federal government has the authority to order everyone to purchase health insurance, “then there is no limit to what commercial activity the government can command.”


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Health Care Act からClass(長期ケァ)を削除 [Social Policy]

Health Care Reform が US Supreme Court で審理されることになりましたが,それと相前後して,日本の介護保険のCommunity care に重点を置いた Class がReform 内容から削除されました.

Classは,下の記事にあるように,Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (Nursing home への支払いも含む)の略称です.Community Living の援助に重点があり,若者からの加入,保険料支払いを求めるモノでしたが,今頃になって,保険数理上,保険制度にはなじまないという判断で未施行の法律から,Class を削除することにしたのです.

The Obama administration announced Friday that it was scrapping a long-term care insurance program created by the new health care law because it was too costly and would not work.

日本の実績では,介護保険の利用者は対象年齢者の10人に2人ということですが,それではそれを社会保険制度として維持する正当性があるのでしょうか?
保険料支払い年齢を引き下げようという案が真剣に検討されているようですが,アメリカではCommunity Living Assistance Services and Supports でさえ社会保険として維持するのは困難と判断した事実を直視すべきでしょう.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said she had concluded that premiums would be so high that few healthy people would sign up.

Kathy J. Greenlee, the assistant secretary of health and human services in charge of the program, said: “We do not have a viable path forward. We will not be working further to implement the Class Act.” と完全に断念しています.

Ms. Sebelius said her decision “does not affect the rest of the health care law,” which is supposed to provide coverage to more than 30 million people who are uninsured. と 主管長官は,Health Care Reform の他の部分は大丈夫といっています.

しかし,野党側は,“The Obama administration ignored repeated warnings about the financial solvency of this massive new entitlement and suppressed information on the viability of the program,”  the long-term care program was “only one of the unwise, unsustainable components of an unwise, unsustainable law.” He and other Republicans in Congress want to repeal the entire law. と議会での正式な廃案を意図しています.
 

 

 

Health Law to Be Revised by Ending a Program

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced Friday that it was scrapping a long-term care insurance program created by the new health care law because it was too costly and would not work.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said she had concluded that premiums would be so high that few healthy people would sign up. The program, which was intended for people with chronic illnesses or severe disabilities, was known as Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or Class.

“We have not identified a way to make Class work at this time,” Ms. Sebelius said. She said the program, which had been championed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, was financially unsustainable.

Kathy J. Greenlee, the assistant secretary of health and human services in charge of the program, said: “We do not have a viable path forward. We will not be working further to implement the Class Act.”

The administration’s decision was another setback for the new law, which is under attack in court, in Congress and in many state legislatures. Ms. Sebelius said her decision “does not affect the rest of the health care law,” which is supposed to provide coverage to more than 30 million people who are uninsured.

But the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the long-term care program was “only one of the unwise, unsustainable components of an unwise, unsustainable law.” He and other Republicans in Congress want to repeal the entire law.

Advocates for older Americans and people with disabilities expressed disappointment at the decision, and Ms. Sebelius said Americans still had an “enormous need” for long-term care insurance. “At $75,000 a year for a nursing home and $18,000 a year for home health care, most families cannot afford to pay out of pocket,” she said.

The program was intended for people with severe disabilities who wanted to live in the community, though benefits could also have been used to help pay for nursing home care or assisted living. It would have been financed with premiums paid by workers, through voluntary payroll deductions, with no federal subsidy. Premiums were supposed to have ensured the solvency of the program over 75 years.

But Ms. Sebelius said she agreed with actuaries who feared that “not enough young, healthy people” would enroll. “This could have led to a vicious cycle where premiums would have to be set higher and higher to cover the likely costs of benefits, leading fewer and fewer healthier people to sign up for the program,” Ms. Sebelius said.

Two early critics of the Class program — Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Representative Charles Boustany Jr. of Louisiana, both Republicans — said they had been vindicated.

“The Obama administration ignored repeated warnings about the financial solvency of this massive new entitlement and suppressed information on the viability of the program,” Mr. Thune said.

In an interview, Mr. Boustany said that “in their haste to get the bill passed,” President Obama and Congressional Democrats ignored warnings about the program’s financial risks.

When Congress was developing the program in late 2009, Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and chairman of the Budget Committee, described it as “a Ponzi scheme of the first order” because it required an ever-increasing stream of premiums to cover the cost of benefits. Connie Garner, who helped devise the long-term care program as an aide to Mr. Kennedy, said she was “very, very disappointed” by the decision. “The program could have been made to work” if the administration had tried harder, Ms. Garner said.


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Obama Health Care Law goes to Supreme Court [Social Policy]

Obama の大きな Sales Point である,the Patient Accountability and Affordable Care Act いわゆるすべてのアメリカ人をHealth Insurance でカバーしようという法律(未だ未実施)を巡っては,個々のアメリカ人にPrivate Health Insurance の購入を義務づけるのは,個人の自由を定めたアメリカ合衆国憲法に違反するという主張があり,26州がまとまって違憲訴訟を提起していた他,各地で違憲訴訟が起こされていたのですが,これまで連邦高等裁判所レベルの判断は分かれていました,

それで,とうとう連邦最高裁判所(判事9人:ただし,これまでにこの件に何らかの関係を持った判事は,除外を申し出ることになっています)が,このケースを取り上げることにしたそうです.日程としては,来年3月に審理して,6月に判決ということですから,その帰趨は,来年の大統領選挙に大きな影響を及ぼすことが予想されます. 

 

 

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Health Care Law

Published November 14, 2011

FoxNews.com

health_care_law_graphic

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to President Obama's signature law on health care, it said Monday in an announcement that has nearly as much impact on partisan politics as the final decision has on the law itself.

The challenge in the case, brought by 26 states out of Florida, is based on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Patient Accountability and Affordable Care Act, which requires that all Americans purchase health insurance.

 

Which way will each judge go in deciding if law is unconstitutional?

The nine-member court will also look at severability, meaning if the mandate falls, could the rest of the law survive since it is primarily built on the revenues collected by forcing people to buy health care.

The court is also folding in an additional case on the tax implications of the law.

The case is one that all sides want heard. But hearing the case this session -- arguments could come in March -- means that a ruling will come in June -- in the heat of the 2012 election cycle.

Some argue that a defeat for Obama would be as beneficial as a victory since it would take away an economic and philosophical argument that Republicans have used to bash the law that will impact roughly 18 percent of the nation's annual gross domestic product. Others say nothing good could come for Obama if his premier legislative victory is declared unconstitutional.

If the mandate is wiped off the map but the law itself isn't, the president would be able to promote aspects that most Americans say they accept, including leaving 26 year olds on their parents insurance and not allowing insurers to reject clients with pre-existing conditions.

"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 1 million more young Americans have health insurance, women are getting mammograms and preventive services without paying an extra penny out of their own pocket and insurance companies have to spend more of your premiums on health care instead of advertising and bonuses," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement.

The 11th Circuit Court, where the case comes from, has ruled in favor of the opponents. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, said the high court brings the challenge one step closer to elimination.

"Given the substantial implementation costs associated with this 2,700-page law--and the unconstitutional mandate that it will impose on all Americans -- we are pleased that the Supreme Court has moved quickly and agreed to hear this very important case," he said.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican presidential candidate who has made repeal and replacement of the law the first plank of his economic plan, tweeted that he is "pleased" the court has agreed to hear the case.



 


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US Bleak Portrait of Poverty is “flawed.”→日本の生活保護批判 [Social Policy]

先のブログで書いた,アメリカのセンサス局が公表したアメリカの貧困についての数字を巡って,様々な議論が沸き起こっていますが,貧困問題研究者の間では,「あの数字は間違っている」という議論が展開されています.

When the Census Bureau said in September that the number of poor Americans had soared by 10 million to rates rarely seen in four decades, commentators called the report “shocking” and “bleak.” Most poverty experts would add another description: “flawed.”

以下,長文のリーポートをごく要約しますと,貧困と判断された人の()収入面,()支出面,の両面に問題あがあるといいます,

(1)      
収入面: センサス局の統計には,Concocted on the fly a half-centuryago, the official poverty measure ignores ever more of what is happening to the poor person’s wallet — good and bad. It overlooks hundreds of billions of dollars the needy receive in food stamps and other benefits (一例としてSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) があります).

(2)      
支出面: the similarly formidable amounts they lose to taxes and medical care. It even fails to note that rents are higher in places like Manhattan than they are in Mississippi. 

こうした批判に答えて,センサス局が新しい数字を発表したというのです
the Census Bureau releases a long-promised alternate measure meant to do a better job of counting the resources the needy have and the bills they have to pay
. Similar measures, quietly published in the past, suggest among other things that safety-net programs have played a large and mostly overlooked role in restraining hardship: as much as half of the reported rise in poverty since 2006 disappears.

この新しい数字によれば,
2006年以来の貧困増大のほぼ半数は貧困からはずれるだろうといいます.アメリカでは,AFDC(Aid to Families with Dependent Children) が1996年にTANF(The Temporary Assistance for Needy Familiesに転換されましたが,その根拠法は the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act – PWRORA – Public Law 104-193 ですPersonal Responsibility and Work Opportunity に重心がありAssistance はTemporary に限定されました

話を具体例にしましょう

Angelique Melton was among the beneficiaries. A divorced mother of two, Ms. Melton, 42, had worked her way up to a $39,000 a year position at a construction management firm. But as building halted in 2009, Ms. Melton lost her job.
Struggling to pay the rent and
keep the family adequately fed, she took the only job she could find: a part-time position at Wal-Mart that paid less than half her former salary. With an annual income of about $7,500 — well below the poverty line of $17,400 for a family of three — Ms. Melton was officially poor. Unofficially she was not. After trying to stretch her shrunken income, Ms. Melton signed up for $3,600 a year in food stamps and received $1,800 in nutritional supplements from the Women, Infants and Children program. And her small salary qualified her for large tax credits, which arrive in the form of an annual check — in her case for about $4,000.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Along with housing aid
, those subsidies gave her an annual income of nearly $18,800 — no one’s idea of rich, but by the new count not poor. “They help you, my God,” Ms. Melton said. “I would not have made it otherwise.”


あとはご自由にお読みいただくとして.私がアメリカの例をあげてとくに強調したいのは次の点です.

1.生活保護法が「最低生活保障の最後のより所」という発想は速やかに捨て去るべきです.  
Safety Net
Nets でなければ成立しないのです.

.社会保障法関係者の誤った「より所」説を解消するためにも,日本でも,もっと多彩な受けやすいプログラムを開拓すべきです.たとえば,消費税と輸入関税を援助するポイント制度を作れば,米,肉,その他の食品,その他がずっと安価になります.

3 
Housing Choice Vouchers制度を用意すれば,狭義の貧困ビジネスを抑制できるでしょう.


以下若干追記しますと,欧米の公的扶助制度は,「Work incentive」に強い関心を払ってきたということがあります.イギリスのWorkhouse, Less eligibility の2大原則は,1975年まで存続しましたし,アメリカのAFDCはやはり1970年代まで男性Unemployed は除外してきたのです.それは,社会保険制度と公的扶助を峻別するモノでもあったのです.その延長上に,働ける年代の公的扶助の期限を限定することも,制度として国民に容認されたということがあります.
それに反して,日本の社会保険制度には国民年金にも,国民健康保険制度にも50%超の,介護保険には1/3の国庫負担が入るという,制度の不分明があります.さらには,低年金者には,月額1.5万円を上乗せしようという厚労省提案がまじめに取り上げられています.
これでは,社会保険と余り変わらない公的扶助を受けることへの抵抗感はかなり薄れてしまっているといえます.今年の10月から,働ける生活保護申請者を,ハロー・ワークに通わせ,民間の職業訓練を受けさせて,月10万円を払う制度を設けたようですが,これも途方もない制度の混迷複雑化をもたらす愚策です,私が前から主張しているように,働ける人への生活保護給付の窓口をハロー・ワークにして,社会保険と公的扶助の混迷を一つずつでも解消していかなければ,生活保護への依存は欧米の寛容な公的扶助制度を超えて増大する可能性があることを覚悟すべきでしょう.

 

 

 

Bleak Portrait of Poverty Is Off the Mark, Experts Say

Travis Dove for The New York Times

John William Springs, a retiree who gets nearly $12,000 a year in Social Security and disability checks, is $1,300 above the poverty threshold: officially, not poor.

WASHINGTON — When the Census Bureau said in September that the number of poor Americans had soared by 10 million to rates rarely seen in four decades, commentators called the report “shocking” and “bleak.” Most poverty experts would add another description: “flawed.”

Multimedia

Travis Dove for The New York Times
A new measure places Ashley Bolton above the poverty line.
Concocted on the fly a half-century ago, the official poverty measure ignores ever more of what is happening to the poor person’s wallet — good and bad. It overlooks hundreds of billions of dollars the needy receive in food stamps and other benefits and the similarly formidable amounts they lose to taxes and medical care. It even fails to note that rents are higher in places like Manhattan than they are in Mississippi.

On Monday, that may start to change when the Census Bureau releases a long-promised alternate measure meant to do a better job of counting the resources the needy have and the bills they have to pay. Similar measures, quietly published in the past, suggest among other things that safety-net programs have played a large and mostly overlooked role in restraining hardship: as much as half of the reported rise in poverty since 2006 disappears.

The fuller measures have also shown less poverty among children but more among older Americans, who are plagued by high medical costs. They have shown less poverty among blacks but more among Asians; less poverty in rural areas and more in cities and suburbs, where the cost of living is high. And they have found fewer people in abject destitution, but a great many more crowding the hard-luck ranks of the near poor, who do not qualify for many benefit programs and lose income to taxes, child care and medical costs.

“The official measure no longer corresponds to reality,” said Jane Waldfogel, a professor of social work at Columbia University. “It doesn’t get either side of the equation right — how much the poor have or how much they need. No one really trusts the data.”

Coming amid soaring need and bitter debt debates, the findings in Monday’s release are likely to offer fodder both to defenders of safety-net programs and fiscal conservatives who say the government already does much to temper hardship and needs to do no more.

Experts expect the new report to be consistent with a decade of research about the ways in which the official poverty rate distorts the realities of American poverty.

The numbers in this article are based on that research — by the census, the National Academy of Sciences and others — and include not just cash income but also government benefits, work expenses, taxes and cost of living. Many experts expect Monday’s census report, based on similar methods, to add a bit to the official poverty count of 46.2 million, while most experts also expect the recent growth will ap-pear less steep.

One alternate census data set quietly published last week said the number of poor people has grown by 4.6 million since 2006, not by 9.7 million as the bureau reported in September. At least 39 states showed no statistically significant poverty growth despite surging unemployment, according to an analysis by The New York Times, including Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

In North Carolina, poverty has risen by more than 250,000 people by official count, but stayed flat under the alternate measure despite soaring unemployment.

One explanation can be found in programs the official count ignores: food stamps and tax credits. Combined the two programs delivered $221 billion across the country last year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than doubling since 2006.

In Charlotte, Angelique Melton was among the beneficiaries. A divorced mother of two, Ms. Melton, 42, had worked her way up to a $39,000 a year position at a construction management firm. But as building halted in 2009, Ms. Melton lost her job.

Struggling to pay the rent and keep the family adequately fed, she took the only job she could find: a part-time position at Wal-Mart that paid less than half her former salary. With an annual income of about $7,500 — well below the poverty line of $17,400 for a family of three — Ms. Melton was officially poor.

Unofficially she was not.

After trying to stretch her shrunken income, Ms. Melton signed up for $3,600 a year in food stamps and received $1,800 in nutritional supplements from the Women, Infants and Children program. And her small salary qualified her for large tax credits, which arrive in the form of an annual check — in her case for about $4,000.

Along with housing aid, those subsidies gave her an annual income of nearly $18,800 — no one’s idea of rich, but by the new count not poor.

“They help you, my God,” Ms. Melton said. “I would not have made it otherwise.”

The official way of counting poverty — beloved not even by many of the people who run the count — is a historical artifact. A federal official named Mollie Orshansky created it as a placeholder in 1963 until something more sophisticated came along.

It takes a limited view of income by counting cash alone. It ignores expenses, like taxes and medical costs. And it set the poverty threshold in an outmoded way — as a multiple of food costs, which have dwindled as a share of most budgets, as is typical as a country becomes richer over time.

All three elements need updating, experts say. Yet other than to adjust the poverty line for inflation, the government has not changed it since Ms. Orshansky’s day. Efforts to do so have been slowed by both technical and political concerns. Conservatives worry liberals will inflate the number to justify more spending; liberals worry conservatives will define poverty away.

Virtually every effort to take a fuller view — counting more income and more expenses — shows poverty rising more slowly in the recession than the official data suggests. That is true of localized studies in New York City and Wisconsin and at least four different national data sets that the Census Bureau publishes. While the official national measure shows a rise of 9.8 million people, the fuller census measures show a range from 4.5 million to 4.8 million.

“That’s a big difference,” said Timothy Smeeding, an economist at the University of Wisconsin who oversaw the study in that state. “It’s about time we started counting the programs we use to fight poverty.”

Arloc Sherman, a senior researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the new measure “is showing that government help is keeping millions of families above the poverty line right now.”

While most scholars have called the fuller measure a step forward, Robert Rector, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, argues that both census counts — old and new — sharply overstate the amount of deprivation in the United States. In a recent study, he cited government data showing many poor families had game systems like Xbox.

“When the American public hears the word poverty, they are thinking about material hardship — bad housing, homelessness and hunger,” he said. “Most of the people that are defined as poor by the government are not poor in that sense.”

One consistent finding in the alternate measures is that poverty falls among children, the target of many government programs. And it rises among Americans 65 or older, who often have high out-of-pocket medical costs, despite being covered by Medicare.

Such is the case for John William Springs, 69, a retired city worker in Charlotte who gets nearly $12,000 a year in Social Security and disability checks. That leaves him about $1,300 above the poverty threshold for a single adult his age — officially not poor. Then again, Mr. Springs had a heart attack last summer and struggles with lung disease. Factor in the $2,500 a year that he estimates he spends on medicine, and Mr. Springs crosses the statistical line into poverty.

An upbeat survivor of a lifetime of need, Mr. Springs fills his prescriptions in partial amounts and argues the poverty counters got him right the first time.

“I ain’t poor,” he said. “I eat. I got a roof over my head.”

Some experts say cases like that of Mr. Springs may point to a hidden need among the elderly, whose official poverty rates have sharply declined over the past generation. Others have cautioned that the new measure still has flaws — failing to capture, for instance, that many elderly can draw from savings and are less reliant on annual income and benefits than younger people.

One concern in recent years is the sharp rise in “deep” poverty, defined as living on less than half the money it would take to no longer be poor. That is partly because of changes that make cash welfare harder to get. Yet many of the very poor do receive food stamps, a program whose rapid expansion has made it a safety net of last resort.

In part by counting food stamps, the fuller Census measure analyzed by The Times shows deep poverty falling by nearly 25 percent.

At the same time, all the new measures show many more people in “near poverty” — living on incomes between 100 percent and 150 percent of the poverty line. The alternate census data show a 50 percent rise in their numbers, with 44 million Americans in that economic band, where benefits dwindle in sums lost to taxes and child care, and medical expenses mount. “That’s where your safety net benefits phase out,” said Sheila Zedlewski, a researcher at the Urban Institute.

Even with assistance, life is a series of hard choices. Ashley Bolton was lifted above the poverty line under the new measure by about $10,000 in federal programs that cushioned her earnings as a hostess at the Original Pancake House in Charlotte. Still, sometimes she lets her car insurance lapse. She juggles two part-time jobs with classes to become a pharmacy technician, and relies on her mother, who works nights, to put her children to bed.

“I live the recession,” Ms. Bolton said. “All that stuff that happened to people — that’s my life every day.”


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