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RSF Bulletin

New RSF Journal Issue: The Social, Political, and Economic Effects of the Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, known as the ACA or Obamacare, transformed access to healthcare, nearly halving the ranks of the 49 million Americans who were uninsured when it was enacted. In the last five years, the ACA has been repeatedly threatened with political and legal challenges by Republican politicians, including the Trump Administration. While the ACA greatly expanded Medicaid coverage, about a third of states refused to do so. Edited by political scientist Andrea Louise Campbell and economist Lara Shore-Sheppard, this issue of RSF examines the social, political, and economic effects of this landmark legislation.

Contributors to the issue explore the political dimensions of the rollout of the ACA and the attendant backlash. Helen Levy, Andrew Ying, and Nicholas Bagley demonstrate that despite repeated congressional efforts to repeal the ACA, over 80 percent of the act was implemented as originally intended. Julianna Pacheco, Jake Haselswerdt, and Jamila Michener show that when some Republican governors did support Medicaid expansion in their states, Republican voters become more favorable toward the ACA, and polarization between Republican and Democrat voters decreased. Yet, Charles Courtemanche, James Marton, and Aaron Yelowitz find little impact of the ACA on voter participation. Other contributors investigate the emergence of contentious Medicaid work requirements and patient copays that attempt to limit access to Medicaid. Several consider the economic effects of the ACA, especially on access to private and public health insurance. The issue also examines how the ACA affects marginalized populations, including the elderly and people with disabilities, immigrants, and the formerly incarcerated.

In the first months after the Covid-19 pandemic, 44 million Americans have filed for unemployment and more than five million have lost their health insurance. This crisis underlines the importance of alternatives to employer-based health insurance, as the number without health insurance would now be far greater without the ACA. This RSF journal issue offers a timely, thoughtful consideration of one of the most pressing issues in American life.

Read more about this issue of RSF here.


New Funding Guidelines for August 5 Deadline for Letters of Inquiry

In response to the crises of 2020, RSF is dedicating its next funding cycle exclusively to research that seeks to improve our understanding of these extraordinary times. The severe consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, including its economic disruptions, and the recent mass protests to combat systemic racial inequality in policing and other institutions have reaffirmed the importance of social science research examining economic, political, racial, ethnic, generational, and social inequalities relevant to public policy and social change.

For its August 5, 2020, deadline, RSF will only accept letters of inquiry relevant to one of RSF's core programs and which address at least one of the following issues:

  1. Research on the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting recession in the U.S. Specifically, research that assesses the social, political, economic, and psychological causes and consequences of the pandemic, especially its effects on marginalized individuals and groups and on trust in government and other institutions. Our priorities do not include analyses of health outcomes or health behavior. Read more about our COVID-19 funding priorities here.
  2. Research focused on systemic racial inequality and/or the recent mass protests in the U.S. Specifically, research that investigates the prevalence of racial disparities in policing and criminal justice and their social, political, economic, and psychological causes and consequences; the effects of the current social protest movement and mass mobilization against systemic discrimination; the nature of public attitudes and public policies regarding policing, criminal justice, and social welfare; and the effects of those attitudes in the current political environment.

Please click here to read the announcement of our priorities.


Research Grants Approved at the June 2020 Board Meeting

At the foundation's June 2020 meeting of the board of trustees, five new research projects were approved in its programs on Future of Work and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality and its special initiative on Immigration and Immigrant Integration.

Bruce Sacerdote (Dartmouth College) will study the earnings paths and career trajectories of workers who leave jobs in middle skill occupations and the construction and manufacturing industries in order to analyze how the loss of these jobs contributes to income inequality.

Martha J. Bailey (University of Michigan) will lead a study of intergenerational mobility in the early twentieth century, using new research methods to link over 40 million Social Security Administration records to 1900-1940 U.S. Census records.

Johanna Lacoe (University of California, Berkeley) and Michael Lens (University of California, Los Angeles) will examine the experiences of Housing Choice Voucher recipients to better understand how securing housing increases or decreases reliance on other social support services, including behavioral health, emergency health services, and criminal justice.

Ann Owens (University of Southern California) and Sean Reardon (Stanford University) will create the Segregation Lab, a publicly-available, comprehensive, longitudinal database of estimates of residential and school segregation by race/ethnicity and economic status.

Katharine Donato (Georgetown University) will study the assimilation and mobility trajectories of adults who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors.


Upcoming Deadline for Pipeline Grants Competition with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2019, RSF launched a new Pipeline Grants Competition for early- and mid-career researchers in collaboration with the Economic Mobility and Opportunity program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program seeks to promote diversity in the social sciences defined broadly, including racial and ethnic diversity, gender diversity, disciplinary diversity, institutional diversity, and geographic diversity.

Only researchers who have not previously received a trustee or presidential research grant or fellowship from RSF are eligible. Full eligibility and program guidelines are available here; the foundation will release a new RFP for this grants program in August. The proposal deadline is November 4, 2020, for funding starting in Summer 2021.


RSF Staff to Lead Virtual Sessions at American Sociological Association Conference

RSF staff will host two virtual events at the American Sociological Association conference in August. On August 8, Senior Program Officer Leana Charath and Program Director James Wilson will lead a session about seeking grants from private foundations. A recording of the session will also be available on the foundation's website. On August 9, RSF's Director of Publications Suzanne Nichols will co-host a session on publishing with a university press with a colleague at New York University Press.


How to Apply for Funding at RSF

For more information on RSF's grant making process, please visit our website to review our grant writing guidelines and view a 5-minute video on how to use our new grants management system.

RSF program staff recently hosted a webinar on how to apply for foundation grants. A recording is available here.


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