News & Commentary

September 18, 2016

Maia Usui

Maia Usui is a student at Harvard Law School.

The Affordable Care Act has extended health insurance to millions of Americans.  But it excludes one group: undocumented immigrants.  California’s lawmakers are now seeking a waiver from the federal government that will allow all immigrants to purchase insurance policies on the state’s insurance marketplace without federal subsidies.  The New York Times‘ Editorial Board writes in support of the change, pointing out that immigrants already contribute more in taxes to support public programs than they receive in benefits.

Meanwhile, The Boston Globe examines the conditions facing immigrant workers in a booming construction industry.  Their investigation reveals that these workers are paid below the prevailing wage and are more likely to be subjected to unsafe conditions, without insurance for medical costs or lost pay if they are injured.

The Obama Administration continues its efforts to save the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which both Clinton and Trump have opposed.  On Friday, President Obama enlisted the help of Republican governor John Kasich, who called for bipartisan support for the trade deal.  The New Yorker takes a close look at the opposition to the TPP, suggesting that the most persistent argument against trade treaties — the loss of American jobs — doesn’t match the facts: since NAFTA was approved in 1993, American manufacturing jobs have expanded.

Finally, NPR’s series “A Nation Engaged” — an exploration of issues that are important to voters in this election — continues this week with a look at the economic opportunities for American workers.  Against a mixed backdrop (a record number of jobs open and rising wages, but a shrinking middle class), reporters will be speaking to workers about how they are experiencing today’s economy.

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