The Social Security retirement program, which was the focus of the Academy's first and second conferences, has been relatively successful in alleviating poverty and maintaining living standards among the aged. In other areas, however, the system of social protection is inadequate. The costs of health care are gobbling up an increasing share of our national output, yet 15 percent of Americans under sixty-five have no health insurance. More and more Americans are living to an advanced age, yet the United States lacksa a satisfactory system for helpinf people anticipate and pay for long-term care. The 1990s are beginning with a recession, yet only about 40 percent of the unemployed are collecting unemployment insurance benefits. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 aims to bring people with disabilities into the economic and social mainstream, yet the Social Security disability insurance program continues to assume a clear division between those who can work and those who cannot.
The Academy's 1991 conference looked at the current state of insurance protection in four areas:
- health care for accute illness
- long-term care
Lawrence H. Thompson
The Urban Institute
A book of published proceedings, Social Insurance Issues for the Nineties, edited by Paul N. Van de Water, is available.