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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 1999): Social Security - Overseas

CHINA JOB LOSSES TO WEIGH ON STATE WELFARE

J. Harding
Financial Times, April 14th 1999, p. 7.

Under the Chinese government's plan to assist state sector redundancies, the state, the unemployment insurance fund and state enterprises will together meet the costs of a monthly allowance of Rmb 140- Rmb 380 for a maximum of three years for a worker who enrols in a re-employment centre.

DEBATE ON SPENDING READY FOR REVIVAL

D. McGregor
Financial Times, April 27th 1999, p. 6.

Social security reform in the US has fallen off the legislative priority list for this year, but the surpluses generated by the retirement fund are stoking a fresh debate between the White House and Congress over spending priorities. With fiscal pressures mounting on lawmakers of all stripes to find more money for defence spending and domestic programmes, social security surpluses are still viewed as the only way out of the budgetary straitjacket imposed by the strict spending caps agreed under the 1997 balanced budget settlement.

DEVOLVED SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEMS: PRINCIPAL AGENT VS MULTI-LEVEL GOVERNANCE

D. Mabbett and H. Bolderson
Journal of Public Policy, vol.18, 1999, p.177-200.

Paper aims to describe and categorise patterns of devolution in social security and to draw out some of the issues that arise from different patterns. Concentrates on examples where financial responsibility is devolved to subnational governments and autonomous social insurance institutions. Devolution of financial responsibility in social security is accompanied by the involvement of those institutions in policy-making, but not necessarily by policy autonomy.

GERMANY'S SOCIAL LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE: DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION

U. Schneider
International Social Security Review, vol.52, 1999, p. 31-74.

Describes German legislation on mandatory and universal dependency care insurance which came into force recently. The reform came about in response to three problems: disability related poverty among the German elderly population; deficiencies in servicing long-term care dependants, and the fiscal crisis in German communities.

ITALY MAY SECURITISE SOCIAL SECURITY ARREARS

E. Luce and J. Blitz
Financial Times, April 22nd 1999, p. 1.

The Italian government has devised a new way to plug its budget defecit with plans to issue £3bn of bonds backed by unpaid social security contributions.

POLICY INDUCED CHANGES IN MAORI MORTALITY PATTERNS IN THE NEW ZEALAND ECONOMIC REFORM PERIOD

M.C. Brown
Health Economics, vol.8, 1999, p. 127-136.

The Labour government in power in New Zealand from 1984 to 1990 introduced policies basically designed to improve private sector efficiency, such as elimination of regulatory controls on trade and the sale of state-owned organisations. The National government in power after 1990 extended Labour's strategy, in the private sector by policies designed to weaken union power, and in the public sector by modifying social programmes to eliminate universality features and make them more market orientated. Study shows that Maori aged 30-79 years experienced an increase in mortality rates relative to the rest of the population, commencing in 1987. It is postulated that the decline in economic stability was a source of stress for middle-aged Maori, and this contributed to the rise in observed relative mortality.

REFORM OF THE JAPANESE HEALTH INSURANCE SYSTEM

A. Shaji and O. Hironari
International Social Security Review, vol.52, 1999, p. 101-108.

Recent changes in the population structure have affected the medical care insurance system. Due to an ageing population and declining birth-rates, the health insurance schemes have encountered a financial crisis. A comprehensive reform of the structure of the medical insurance system is needed to ensure its future viability.

SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM HIT

G. Baker
Financial Times, April 26th 1999, p. 6.

Reform of Social Security, the financially troubled US public pension system, has been dropped by the Republican leadership in Congress amid fears that the party could lose votes on the issue. Democrats have sought to portray them as enemies of a popular programme.

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