McCormack Speaks

April 10, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Sustainable Solutions Lab Co-Convenes International Meeting on Climate Adaptation Financing

by the Sustainable Solutions Lab

International Meeting on Climate Adaptation Financing A delegation from the UK joined nearly 100 Boston area experts from academia, insurance, specialized consultancies, city and local government agencies, and other members of the community earlier this month to discuss climate-related challenges that Boston is facing and climate adaptation financing. In partnership with the British Consulates of Boston and Miami and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC), the Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston co-convened “Resilient Cities: An Integrated Economic Approach to Natural Hazard Risk Mitigation” at the Boston Society of Architects.

With sea level rise of up to seven feet possible by the end of the century, major storms are likely to cause severe damage to buildings and infrastructure, with neighborhoods such as East Boston and Seaport particularly exposed. UMass Boston has been closely involved with the City’s Climate Ready Boston program, in collaboration with the GRC and the Barr Foundation, working to identify these climate risks, assess the vulnerabilities, and propose solutions.  Continue Reading →

April 7, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Center for Social Policy Leads Statewide Workforce Development Capacity Building

service workerEach year over 300 workforce development professionals from across the state come together for the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition (CWC) annual Sharing Skills~Building Connections conference.

The CWC, a new program in McCormack Graduate School’s Center for Social Policy (CSP), is the largest provider of capacity building for workforce development organizations across the state.

The center is coordinating the May 11 conference to provide agency staffers from across the Commonwealth with the opportunity to improve their workforce programs and practices, build connections across the range of provider systems, and share skills and experiences. Continue Reading →

April 4, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Professor Weller Shares AHCA Economic Impact with Congress


Christian Weller, a professor of public policy and public affairs at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, released an economic analysis of President Trump’s proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) that was sent to Minority Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi and distributed to all members of Congress. Weller and his co-author Gregg Gelzinis estimated a shortfall of 1.8 million jobs by 2022 due to tax cuts and less spending on health care.

A recent George Washington University (GWU) study estimated a greater plunge in American jobs. However, their estimates were made before the specifics of Trump’s AHCA plan were known. According to Weller and Gelzinis, GWU deduced “that undoing the expansion of Medicaid and eliminating the subsidies for people buying health insurance would result in the loss of 2.9 million jobs by 2022 if these two provisions were repealed this year.”

After their analysis of GWU data, the research partners amended the original estimates to 1.8 million fewer jobs in five years if Obamacare was repealed. They wrote, “Undoing the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, will likely mean less government spending on Medicaid and subsidies for private insurance and thus less spending on health care in general. At the same time, the new proposed law, the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, would also cut taxes for higher-income Americans. All three of these factors will likely impact the economy and, thus, employment.” Read more on their adjustments, analysis, and findings here.

Calling Professor Christian Weller “a paragon of academic engagement,” McCormack Graduate School Dean David W. Cash says Weller’s work exemplifies the role of a policy school in providing decision makers with timely data to inform policy debates.

The AHCA bill was later retracted before it went to Congress for a vote.


April 4, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Affordable Housing – Not In My Backyard

by an anonymous McCormack Graduate School Student

apartment buildingHousing prices are a problem in Massachusetts. Every metric shows Boston and the Greater Boston area are some of the most expensive in the nation. Boston has the 3rd highest housing prices in the United States. These facts are no news to anyone who lives here.

Often our cities are disproportionately asked to be the hosts of affordable and low-income housing. The 2014 Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s inventory of stock backs this assertion. Old mill cities and low- income communities have provided 40B housing stock as mandated by the Commonwealth. Conversely, our small and high-income communities are slow to build affordable or low-income housing units.

And in some cases, wealthy communities are outright hostile to any affordable housing development. Continue Reading →

April 3, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Rhode Island: The Test Case That Never Was for Medicaid Restructuring

by Edward Alan Miller, Professor of Gerontology and Public Policy

Although ultimately withdrawn before a vote, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) proposed by House Republicans would have radically restructured Medicaid by converting the federal government’s open-ended commitment to match state government spending with a per-capita cap on the amount of money a state could receive for each enrollee. An alternative to per-capita caps, Medicaid block grants, is also favored by some Republicans but was not included in this particular proposal. Block grants would replace the federal government’s open-ended financial commitment with a fixed up-front annual allotment for the entire covered population.

Advocates of per-capita caps and block grants invariably cite Rhode Island’s Global Medicaid Waiver as the poster child for block-granting Medicaid nationally. This continued with the most recent debate to restructure Medicaid (see, for example, National Review, The Hill). In the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, Rhode Island’s Republican administration negotiated the state’s global waiver which, beginning in 2009, included a $12.1 billion, five-year cap on total state and federal spending. Block grant proponents point out that Rhode Island was the first state to operate its entire Medicaid program under a global spending cap. In return, proponents claim that Rhode Island received unprecedented flexibility from burdensome federal rules that stymie innovation. They also claim Rhode Island achieved tens of millions of dollars in savings while spending several billion dollars less than the agreed upon cap.

The reality is quite different. Read more.

Edward Alan Miller specializes in aging and long-term care, telemedicine and e-health, intergovernmental relations, program implementation and evaluation, and Medicaid. He also serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Aging & Social Policy. He wrote about Rhode Island’s Global Waiver in Block Granting Medicaid: A Model for 21st Century Health Reform? (2013 hardcover, 2015 paperback, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group).


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