Rising incidents of gun violence have been making headlines in cities across the country amid a growing pandemic and protests against police violence. These incidents, coupled with an increase in sales of firearms, underscore the need for rigorous research that can lead to effective, evidence-based gun policies and save lives. Today the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, which was seeded with funding from Arnold Ventures, announced a commitment of up to $10.6 million in gun violence research. One project will study officer-involved shootings to help inform training and policies to reduce future incidents. Others will focus on intimate partner gun violence, the risks and benefits of gun ownership and use, and risk factors for gun suicide and urban gun violence.
The Paycheck Protection Program was enacted to help small businesses weather the pandemic, but it included broad restrictions for those with criminal histories that only exacerbated existing racial disparities, new research shows.
What happened: When Congress drafted the Paycheck Protection Program, it included specifics about who was and was not eligible for loans — but nothing related to criminal records. Then the Small Business Administration stepped in, quietly excluding those withcriminal convictions, probation, or pending charges in recent years.
Why it matters: People with criminal histories often face difficulties accessing jobs when they return to society (although initiatives such as Clean Slate are working to change this). So, many turn to small business ownership or self-employment. The SBA’s actions on the PPP excluded roughly 800,000 people from receiving aid — a move that disproportionately disqualified Black and Latino business owners.
It took public pushback and a lawsuit for the SBA to right this wrong, but the damage was done. And advocates fear many who now qualify aren't aware and won't apply.
In an effort to energize his campaign this election season, President Trump last week signed four executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices for Americans. But a closer look at the fine print reveals little benefit for patients, employers, or taxpayers.
For example, an order to eliminate kickbacks for middlemen revives a proposal the administration abandoned in early 2019. But the policy would shift costs rather than lower prices, raising premiums for Medicare beneficiaries as well as increasing federal spending by $177 billion. The administration will only pursue the policy change if it will not result in increased federal spending, premiums for seniors, or out-of-pocket costs.
Another order to allow greater importation of drugs from Canada — a market not big enough to satisfy U.S. demand — offers nothing new to lower drug prices and merely directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to complete guidance for a rule proposed in late 2019.
Kristi Martin, AV’s Vice President of Health Care, takes a closer look at each order’s real impact on drug prices and the challenges the White House faces in implementing them.
Related: The pandemic has closed the window for fixing the drug pricing system in 2020. “The signals we have received from Capitol Hill seem to say Congress will unfortunately punt this issue to 2021,” said Ben Wakana of Patients for Affordable Drugs.
3 Lessons in Recession Budgeting
Budget shortfalls across all 50 states between 2020 and 2021 are expected to total as much as $500 billion, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Last week, we looked at how California’s budget makers have responded to the pandemic-driven recession (guesses, difficult choices, and a bit of hope). Now we turn to Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and Colorado to see how they’re adapting to the crisis. From rainy day savings, to innovative economic tracking, to disaster response planning, each place offers a unique lesson.
Case study: In Washington, D.C., an aggressive rainy day savings strategy pre-pandemic was fortuitous — early this year, D.C. had a fully stocked fund of more than $1.4 billion. “If we had not had our reserves built up the way we did, it would have been really bad,” says Budget Director Jennifer Reed. “We most likely would have had to resort to things like layoffs and furloughs, and we certainly would not have been able to provide a [funding] increase to schools.” D.C. also was prescient in requiring agencies in 2019 to have 5 percent cost-cutting plans at the ready, which were enacted in the spring. Now, D.C. is scaling back on some planned infrastructure investments and keeping an eye on how new commuter and telework habits will impact the bottom line.
Are we engaging in hygiene theater? “COVID-19 has reawakened America’s spirit of misdirected anxiety, inspiring businesses and families to obsess over risk-reduction rituals that make us feel safer but don’t actually do much to reduce risk—even as more dangerous activities are still allowed.”
This doozy of a Washington Post piece on texts and emails that reveal a top Education Department official went out of her way to help failing for-profit colleges — at the expense of students. “Every time we get new information about the department’s dealings with Dream Center, it reveals more about how focused the department was on its reputation, and Dream Center’s, rather than the needs of students,” said Eric Rothschild, an attorney at the National Student Legal Defense Network who represented the Art Institute students. “High-level department officials were back-channel texting Dream Center executives … while students were kept completely in the dark.”
This Marshall Project story on one family’s emotionally devastating journey to answer the question, “What does ‘justice’ mean?” Our Vice President of Criminal Justice Walter Katz calls it “required reading.”
Our Vice President of Research, Stuart Buck, arguing that the first step to policing reformis to target the unions. “It’s become predictable. When there is a horrific example of police misconduct, you’ll often find a union official saying that it’s no big deal. Small wonder that such unions have been criticized by criminal justice experts as a voice for the powerful.”
Related: The New Yorker dives into the ways that police unions fight reform.
A letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in which Arnold Ventures urges the agency to protect and strengthen the statutory discounts drug manufacturers pay to Medicaid as it considers program changes.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that highlights the surprise billing problem — which continues even in the midst of a public health and economic crisis — and why the time for federal action is now.
In a pivotal moment for complex care, this new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center urges all states to offer fully integrated solutions for individuals who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid.
Related: Katherine Hayes, Director of Health Policy at Bipartisan Policy Institute, explains it all in layman’s terms in this Sirius XM interview.
What We're Listening To
A discussion on the importance of safe alternatives to incarceration during COVID-19 — and why we’re all impacted by how this plays out. Kevin Madden, AV’s Executive Vice President of Advocacy, was a guest on the Pegasus Institute’s podcast, where he talks about what should be in the next COVID-19 relief package to keep communities safe and healthy — and why this shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
Related: The Miami Herald reports that in Florida prisons, the inmate death toll from the coronavirus increased by nearly 28 percent in just 72 hours, yet another reminder of the importance of compassionate release policies in the time of COVID-19.
I’m picking up style tips from this octogenarian couple who have become Instagram stars for modeling clothes left behind at their laundry business. (Not that I have anything to dress up for these days...)
Dolphins are generally highly sociable animals, but Fungie the dolphin has been “self-quarantining” from his species for decades in an Irish harbor, to the delight of nearby humans.
The New York Times’ Celebrity Bookshelf Detectiveis back.
Stephanie DiCapua Getman develops and executes Arnold Ventures' digital communications strategy with a focus on multimedia storytelling and audience engagement and oversees daily editorial operations and design.
You are receiving this email because you registered for news updates from Arnold Ventures.
1717 West Loop South
Houston, TX 77027
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
What are you looking for?
Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.