EBRI Notes

"Environment for Health Reform" and "Pension and Social Security Income, 1984-1991" and "Americans Are Saving for Retirement at Early Ages, According to New EBRI/GallupSurvey"

Apr 1, 1994 19  pages


Environment for Health Reform—National health reform is the largest single social policy issue to receive widespread attention in decades. It is likely to be the most extensively covered social issue by the media in history. It has been debated not only in Washington but in schools and work places and around kitchen tables across the country. Public opinion surveys suggest that Americans do believe a crisis exists and that it is necessary to provide health insurance for everyone.

Coverage of the debate has garnered thousands of inches in the print media and hundreds of hours on television and radio. Policy debates, public opinion surveys, and news media coverage about health reform, as with most public policy issues, influence one another. When looking at a public policy issue such as health reform, examining the interrelationships among politics, media coverage, and public opinion surrounding the debate may help to shed some light on the final outcome. This article looks at the political environment for health reform and how it has changed since the 1992 presidential election, tying the ebbs and flows to media coverage and public opinion. Finally, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) President Dallas Salisbury posits likely outcomes of the health reform debate.

Pension and Social Security Income, 1984-1991—As the proportion of the U.S. elderly population continues to grow, and as baby boomers approach retirement age, issues of retirement income security become increasingly important. The growth in the proportion of persons aged 65 and over will continue to outpace the growth in the number of workers in this country as we move into the 21st century. As a result, retirees may need to rely less on potential Social Security income and more on personal savings and retirement income.

Americans Are Saving for Retirement at Early Ages, According to New EBRI/Gallup Survey—Most Americans are starting to save for retirement at an early age, according to a new public opinion survey by EBRI and The Gallup Organization, Inc. The median age at which Americans say they started saving for retirement is 30 years, and the median amount nonretired Americans say they need to save by the time they retire is $150,000.