Risks and Resiliencies of the Affordable Care Act

A research article published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law by Mark A. Peterson, professor of public policy, political science and law, compares the “political vulnerability and resiliency” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the repeal of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act (MCAA) nearly three decades before. “The political-institutional contexts and the processes of coalition change could hardly have been more different for MCCA and ACA,” notes Peterson in his article, “Reversing Course on Obamacare: Why Not Another Medicare Catastrophic?” in the Duke University Press publication. “However, they had some shared vulnerabilities stemming from program design,” he argues. “The ACA survived the political weakness inherent in its policy attributes due to its particular balance and timing of benefits and costs and by being shielded long enough by election results and the constitutional separation of powers to have its benefits take root.” — Stan Paul

Panel, Presentations Focus on Social Justice Issues

On June 7, 2018, students from UCLA Luskin presented research on issues relevant to social justice, followed by a panel discussion about empowering immigrant communities in Los Angeles. Moderated by Val Zavala, formerly of KCET, the panel included Joseph Villa of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights; Daisy Esqueda and Nicole Mitchell of LAUSD; Jyotswaroop Kaur Bawa of the California Immigrant Policy Center; and Reshma Shamasunder of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. The event was organized by three student groups at UCLA Luskin: Policy Professionals for Diversity and Equity, Social Workers for Collective Action, and Planners of Color for Social Equity.

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Social Justice in Policymaking

Students Present Research on Child Welfare Issues

Students in the CalSWEC Public Child Welfare program presented their year-long research projects on June 7, 2018. The research focused on issues relevant to child welfare. All of the students served as interns in the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) over the course of the academic year and developed their research projects to deepen their understanding of the social issue they chose to develop. The students were also enrolled in a Social Welfare course taught by faculty members Consuelo Bingham and Todd Franke.

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SW PCW poster day

Luskin Center Leads the Way on SMART Parks

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation featured Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris in its Luskin Innovators Speaker Series on May 17, 2018. Loukaitou-Sideris, professor of urban planning and Associate Provost for Academic Planning at UCLA, presented her team’s research on opportunities to use technology to make urban parks more efficient, environmentally sustainable and better able to serve visitors. A panel discussion, led by Norma Garcia MA UP ’99, chief deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, brought together representatives from the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Trust for Public Land, and Cisco Systems, Inc. The panelists discussed the challenges faced by park managers and designers, including funding gaps, underutilization and ongoing maintenance, and the ways that technology can help overcome these challenges. They also explored the many benefits technology can provide to park visitors, including broader engagement opportunities, free Wi-Fi access and renewed interest in parks. Finally, the group brainstormed ideas for innovative partnerships that could bring together technology companies, nonprofits and park managers. The Luskin Center for Innovation’s novel approach of using technology to address under-resourced urban parks resulted in SMART Parks: A Toolkit for park planners and managers. — Kelsey Jessup MPP ’15

Participating in the Luskin Center SMART Parks panel discussion were, from left, Robin Mark, with The Trust for Public Land; Tamika Butler, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust; Colin Martin, Cisco; and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, professor of urban planning in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Photo by Nurit Katz MPP/MBA ’08

Video Outlines Possible Solutions to California Ridership Issues

California is counting on public transit to help reach its climate and congestion goals. But transit ridership in the state is declining, especially in Southern California. Despite heavy investments in public transportation over the past 15 years, including Los Angeles County’s Measure M, California lost 62.2 million annual transit rides between 2012 and 2016. With such political support and policy stakes invested in transit, why is ridership falling? Researchers at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies tried to figure out what’s going on by looking at the usual suspects: lower quality of service, cheaper fuel prices, higher fares and the increased popularity of Lyft and Uber. But none of these potential causes fully explained the loss of riders in recent years. So what’s the culprit? And how can the trend be reversed? A new video and summary document outline the causes of and potential solutions to California’s transit ridership issues, based in part on recent research from UCLA Luskin urban planning professors Michael Manville, Brian D. Taylor and Evelyn Blumenberg. Watch the video below  or see it and the summary document here.

Undergraduate Scholarship Named for ‘Gene’ Dudley

The Llewellyn Eugene “Gene” Dudley Centennial Scholars gift of $100,000 was recently announced by UCLA Luskin, coinciding with the school’s launch of a new undergraduate major in Public Affairs beginning in fall 2018. As part of the UCLA Chancellor’s Centennial Scholars Match, the endowment is aimed at adding $150 million to undergraduate scholarships by inspiring donors to help fulfill the university’s mission of education, research and service. Gifts for these scholarships, which can be awarded on the basis of merit or financial aid, are matched at 50 percent. “Gene Dudley spent his life making the world a better place,” said Richard Lieboff, Gene’s best friend and life partner. “Remembering him each day and doing things in his memory that will leave a lasting legacy to help others prompted me to make this gift.” Dudley passed away in May 2009 at the age of 64. He completed his B.A. in political science at UCLA in 1967 and dedicated his life to public service, including a 25-year career with the City of Los Angeles, where he worked with the Aging, Community Development and Housing departments. “I want to personally thank Richard Lieboff for this endowment,” said Gary Segura, dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. “His generosity will allow UCLA Luskin to provide students in financial need with the resources to access education that would have otherwise been out of reach.”

Arrest Study Shows Disparities by Employment, Race

Alvin Teng and Estefanía Zavala

Between 2012 and 2017, 43 percent of all people arrested in the city of Los Angeles were unemployed, according to a new study co-authored by Master of Public Policy students at UCLA Luskin. “Policing the Unemployed in Los Angeles: An Analysis of LAPD Data (2012-2017)” highlights disparities in arrests by race and employment, with African Americans (32.6 percent) and Latinos (43.9 percent) representing the majority of arrests of unemployed people. “Working on the report and seeing how unemployed people are arrested on charges like failure to appear made me reflect on how governments invest/disinvest in their most vulnerable communities,” said second-year MPP student Estefanía Zavala, who worked with classmate Alvin Teng , UCLA Professor of History and African American Studies Kelly Lytle Hernandez, and Albert Kocharphum, assistant campus GIS coordinator at UCLA. The Million Dollar Hoods report, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, shows that among African American men and women, the highest percentage of arrests was on failure to appear charges for both groups. Top ZIP codes for number of arrests were in South Los Angeles, a people considered houseless exceeded 18,000. During the five-year period, unemployed people spent the equivalent of 1,402 years in LAPD custody, the authors found. Data came via Public Records Act requests fulfilled by the LAPD in March 2018 and included information on more than 20 categories of detention bookings. — Stan Paul