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Paul N. Van de Water
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Paul N. Van de Water is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and health coverage issues.

Previously he was Vice President for Health Policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance. From 2001 to 2005 Van de Water served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Social Security Administration, where he managed the agency’s policy analysis, research, and statistical activities. From 1999 to 2001, he was Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics at Social Security.

Van de Water worked for over 18 years at the Congressional Budget Office. From 1994 to 1999 he was Assistant Director for Budget Analysis. In that capacity he supervised the agency’s budget projections, analyses of the President’s budget, cost estimates of legislative proposals, and estimates of the cost of federal mandates on state and local governments. As Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis from 1992 to 1994, he coordinated CBO’s analysis of the Clinton Administration’s health plan and other proposals to reform the financing and delivery of health care.

Van de Water holds an A.B. with highest honors in economics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Entries by Paul N. Van de Water

Social Security and Medicare Trustees See Little Change in Outlook

(5) Comments | Posted June 22, 2016 | 3:31 PM

The financial outlook for Social Security and Medicare has changed little since last year, according to today's reports from the programs' trustees.  Social Security can pay full benefits until 2034 and Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund through 2028.  The HI trust fund depletion date is two years earlier than...

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New CBO Estimates Confirm: Social Security Benefits Are Modest

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2016 | 9:43 AM

Social Security benefits replace only about 40 percent of an average retiree's recent earnings, new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates show.  The actuaries at the Social Security Administration (SSA) find a similar result using a different technique.  By either measure, Social Security benefits are not overly generous.


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Obama's 'Cadillac Tax' Changes Deserve Serious Look

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2016 | 9:49 AM

The President's 2017 budget will recommend improvements in the "Cadillac tax" -- the excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans.  While some suggest repealing the tax, reforming it to preserve most of its revenues and its ability to slow health care cost growth makes far more sense.  The President's proposal,...

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Don't Repeal Health-Related Taxes

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2016 | 10:42 AM

Permanent repeal of three health-related taxes, which last year's budget deal postponed or suspended, would cost the federal government more than $250 billion over the next decade, new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates show -- and almost certainly much more in decades to follow.   

The three health-related taxes...

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National Health Spending Growth Remains on Slow Track

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 3:41 PM

The nation's health spending continues to grow more slowly than before health reform, figures that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released today show.  Total health spending by governments, private insurers, and individuals grew by 5.3 percent last year, well below the average 6.9 percent increase in...

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Boehner, McConnell Mislead on Health Reform's Employer Mandate

(351) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 10:21 AM

House Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell called this week for a major change in health reform's requirement that larger employers offer health coverage to employees who work 30 or more hours a week or face a penalty.  Claiming that the 30-hour threshold is "an arbitrary and destructive...

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Statement on the 2014 Medicare Trustees' Report

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 9:29 PM

Medicare has grown somewhat stronger financially in both the short and long term since last year but continues to face long-term financing challenges, today's report from its trustees shows. The projected date of insolvency for Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund is 2030 -- four years later than projected last...

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New CBO Long-Term Budget Projections Tell Familiar Story

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 3:48 PM

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)'s new long-term budget projections, released today, are very similar to those that CBO published in September 2013 and to ones that we released in May 2014. They show that the nation's fiscal outlook is stable for the rest of this decade and then...

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CBO: Health Reform Is Working -- and Costing Less

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 10:24 AM

In new estimates that it released today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that health reform's coverage expansions will cost less than it previously estimated.  That's good news for two reasons:

First, the new cost projections come even as CBO also estimates that health reform will dramatically reduce the...

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Chained CPI Makes Sense Only Under Certain Conditions

(1) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 2:47 PM

We've long said that the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) for cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other retirement programs could be a reasonable part of a comprehensive deficit-reduction package -- but only under certain conditions.  In the absence of those conditions, the president's decision not to include the...

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'Debt Prioritization' Is Simply Default by Another Name

(2) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 4:19 PM

The House will vote tomorrow on a Republican proposal directing the Treasury to pay bondholders and Social Security recipients first if there's a prolonged standoff over raising the debt ceiling.  This "debt prioritization" is extremely dangerous. By appearing to make defaulting on the debt legitimate and manageable, it would heighten...

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Long-Term Budget Outlook Challenging But Manageable, New CBO Report Confirms

(14) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 4:47 PM

The Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) new long-term budget projections show that putting the budget on a sustainable long-term course remains challenging but is significantly more manageable than in previous projections.

Under current law, the federal debt will edge down as a percentage of the economy during the rest of...

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Correcting the Record on Health Reform's Employer Requirement

(5) Comments | Posted July 11, 2013 | 4:42 PM

Critics of health reform's employer responsibility requirement, which says that large employers must offer their workers health coverage or pay a penalty, are incorrectly using a paper we wrote in October 2009 to buttress their case.  (See here and here.)  That paper criticized a version of...

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'Boehner Rule' Down But Not Out

(17) Comments | Posted January 25, 2013 | 3:56 PM

In the aftermath of the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), Republican Congressional leaders announced that it had established a principle that policymakers must match any increase in the debt limit with equal or greater cuts in spending.  By voting this week for a short-term increase in the debt limit...

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Don't Play Politics With the Debt Ceiling

(2) Comments | Posted January 4, 2013 | 10:35 AM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is threatening to risk a default on the national debt unless President Obama agrees to large spending cuts. "We simply cannot increase the nation's borrowing limit," he writes, "without committing to long overdue reforms to spending programs that are the very cause of our...

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How Much Would the Obama Budget Reduce the Deficit? Part 2 (Updated)

(5) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 5:46 PM

Controversy continues over whether President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget would reduce deficits by $4 trillion over ten years. As we've previously written, however, the $4-trillion figure is a sound one, is based entirely on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data, and does not include any gimmicks or any savings...

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How Much Would the Obama Budget Reduce the Deficit?

(4) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 3:56 PM

Controversy has arisen over the amount of deficit reduction in President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget.  Politifact last week questioned the validity of a CBPP analysis estimating that the Obama budget would reduce deficits by $3.8 trillion over ten years; Politifact suggested that the actual figure is below...

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Health Reform Strengthens Medicare, Doesn't "Rob" It

(50) Comments | Posted August 16, 2012 | 1:07 PM

The 2010 health reform law (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) has significantly improved Medicare's long-term financial outlook, as we have previously pointed out. Recent claims that health reform "robs Medicare" and does not "shore up Medicare's finances" are flatly false, as the recent report of the program's...

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Medicare and Medicaid Spending Trends Don't Justify Restructuring

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 3:41 PM

Medicare and Medicaid spending per beneficiary has grown less rapidly than costs for private health insurance in recent years, as we have previously pointed out. (See here and Figure 1 here.)

This favorable trend is projected to continue for at least the coming decade, according to a

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A Little Consistency, Please

(1) Comments | Posted August 3, 2012 | 12:51 PM

Those decrying the adverse economic consequences of looming budget cuts are often the very same people who claim that the 2009 fiscal stimulus didn't add jobs.

For example, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) have held a series of public meetings this week designed...

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