ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan experts can discuss the many issues that await president-elect Joe Biden, particularly in his first 100 days in office beginning Jan. 20, 2021. More experts can be found here: U-M faculty.
Arnold Monto, professor of epidemiology and global health at the School of Public Health, is an expert on the transmission, prevention, mitigation and social response to outbreaks and pandemic planning including transmission modes. He chairs the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Committee for the COVID-19 vaccine reviews. He has served as an adviser for the World Health Organization and consulted with the U.S. Department of Defense on communicable diseases.
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Emily Toth Martin, associate professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, is an infectious disease epidemiologist with a focus on virus epidemiology and the use of vaccines and therapies to prevent and treat infection. Her research includes optimizing the use of diagnostics for viral diseases. She currently participates in two CDC-funded U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness networks based in ambulatory care and hospital settings. During the pandemic, Martin has been working on using COVID-19 public health data to inform mitigation and policy.
Listen to Martin discuss some of the challenges the administration will face while fighting the pandemic.
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Jason Pogue, clinical professor at the College of Pharmacy, can discuss general issues related to vaccine development.
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HEALTH CARE/AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Sarah Miller is an assistant professor of business economics and public policy at the Ross School of Business and a faculty associate at the Population Studies Center. Her research interests are in health economics and, in particular, the short-term and long-term effects of public policies that expand health insurance coverage. She can discuss a range of health care issues, including the Affordable Care Act.
“There are a number of seemingly minor items that Biden could undo that could improve the functioning of the health insurance exchanges,” she said. “Two examples are increasing the open enrollment period back to its original 90-day length and rolling back access to non-Affordable Care Act-compliant, short-term health care plans. Both of these policies will likely boost enrollment and participation in the ACA marketplaces. The Biden administration could also further encourage states to take up the ACA Medicaid expansions.”
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Mark Fendrick, professor of internal medicine at the Medical School and professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health, heads the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design. He has proposed new models for private and public health insurance plans that build on his research about the impact of out-of-pocket costs on consumers’ health behaviors. Read about one such proposal.
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Ruth Zielinski, clinical professor of nursing who leads the graduate midwifery program, can discuss the Affordable Care Act and implications for women’s reproductive health.
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Gabriel Ehrlich is the director of the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, where he forecasts the U.S. and Michigan economies. Previously, Ehrlich worked in the financial analysis division at the Congressional Budget Office, where he forecast interest rates and conducted analysis on monetary policy and the mortgage finance system. His academic research focuses on several areas of housing and land economics as well as the effects of wage rigidity on labor market outcomes.
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Nirupama Rao is an assistant professor of business economics and public policy at the Ross School of Business. Her research focuses on the economic effects of fiscal policy, focusing on the impact of policy on firm production, investment and pricing decisions.
“One broad priority will be to bring federal tax revenue back in line with average spending historically, which is about a fifth of GDP,” she said. “The Biden plan is to raise these added revenues progressively by returning the top individual income tax rate to 39.6% and reversing half of the 2017 corporate tax rate reduction.
“I would like to see the new administration simplify the tax rules for investment, allowing for more expensing and limiting interest deductions. The pandemic has also laid bare the critical role affordable high-quality child care plays in our modern economy. Robust child care support would boost labor supply at a time that participation rates are falling.”
Richard Rood, professor of climate and space sciences and engineering at the College of Engineering, is an expert on climate modeling and can discuss the connection between weather, climate and society. He wrote about how we might move forward in a recent column in Michigan Today.
“The past four years have been a setback for America’s efforts to address climate change,” he said. “However, not all has been lost. Innovators will find opportunity amid disruption. This is our moment to move out of our fragmented silos of excellence and prioritize environmental security in our country. It is as central to our success as anything else.
“It’s vital that we develop a sustained and integrated approach to adaptation. We also need to direct more effort towards the investigation of climate intervention, such as geoengineering.”
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Todd Allen is professor and chair of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences at the College of Engineering and founding director of Fastest Path to Zero, an interdisciplinary U-M initiative that helps communities meet ambitious climate goals.
“There will be a greater urgency than we have seen before. The incoming administration will make carbon reduction part of the ongoing functions across the government,” he said. “Biden has made a commitment to addressing climate change and is proposing leaders who will make zero carbon systems a priority.
“His administration has indicated a commitment to equity in distributing the benefits of clean energy fairly. This will lead to a renewed commitment to international efforts such as the Paris Climate accords, to public policy choices that incentivize the fair transition to zero carbon systems—both production with renewables and nuclear energy as well as efficient use—and to an increase in the research programs that will better guide these transitions.”
Andy Hoffman is a professor of management and organizations at the Ross School of Business and professor of environment and sustainability at the School for Environment and Sustainability. He can discuss sustainability steps the Biden administration could and should take, such as rejoining the Paris Agreement and support a shift to renewable energy sources.
“Overall, the answer is not to simply apply new technological band-aids to an overall system that is in desperate need of upgrading,” he said. “By fostering collaboration between governments, industry and civil society, we can develop new solutions that remake our human and natural environment in a way that solves more than just one problem. And by taking such a leadership role, we can model and convene the world’s leaders to work together to solve what is genuinely a collective problem for all of humanity.”
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Charles H.F. Davis is an assistant professor at the U-M Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education. He recently co-authored a special NAACP report that found that student debt disproportionately impacts Black students.
“With $1.5 trillion of student debt affecting 44 million Americans, most of whom are Black according to national data, the nation’s economic recovery must include race-conscious debt cancelation for Black borrowers,” he said. “Given the demonstrable impact of Black voters in the presidential election, as well as the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black communities, the Biden-Harris administration must consider their responsibility to Black constituents by advancing student debt cancelation as a priority within the first 100 days.”
Matthew Diemer, professor at the School of Education, examines how young people resist, challenge and overcome racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and other constraints in school, college, work and civic/political institutions.
“Schooling can’t fully resume until the coronavirus and the economy are under control,” he said. “To make that happen, the administration needs to provide funding and infrastructure for schools to reopen for in-person learning, safely. Simply mandating schools reopen without guidance and funding is insufficient.
“In reopening schools, prioritize youth and families who are marginalized by society, as well as lower-wealth and lower-income districts. Without attending to these gaps, the disproportionate learning losses we’ve observed since March 2020 will only further widen over time—which would entail even larger disparities in school achievement, college outcomes and labor market (as well as other) outcomes over the long term.”
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Elizabeth Birr Moje, professor and dean of the School of Education, has done research examining young people’s navigations of culture, identity and literacy learning in and out of school.
“Education must be a priority of this administration from day one. The inequities that are evident in new ways during the COVID-19 pandemic are not the result of the virus but of systemic injustices that have always done harm in our country,” she said. “The goal of the recovery process is not to return to February 2020 but to address the underlying broken and oppressive systems that cause millions of American families to be vulnerable in times of stress and sudden change.
“We must acknowledge causes of racial injustice such as inequitable school funding, harmful discipline and policing, discriminatory assessments and inadequate curricula. We must dismantle these devastating systems, practices, and policies, and replace them with evidence-based solutions that give every student the ability to reach their full potential.”
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Susan Page is a professor of practice in international diplomacy at the Ford School of Public Policy’s Weiser Diplomacy Center and a professor from practice at the Law School. She was the first ambassador to the newly independent South Sudan.
“Returning to diplomacy and rebuilding trust and faith in our governmental institutions and the career civil and foreign service officers who implement the policies must be restored,” she said. “Biden needs to reinvigorate the State Department and its development arm USAID, along with other U.S. government agencies with a foreign service corps.
“Biden stated the U.S. would rejoin the Paris Climate Change agreement and the World Health Organization. There are many more international agreements and organizations that need U.S. attention, including the World Trade Organization, the UN Human Rights Council, expiring nuclear treaties and the Iran nuclear deal. In rejoining international bodies and acting in concert with others in a nonpunitive manner, the U.S. could begin to resume its seat at the table in world diplomacy.”
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Melvyn Levitsky is a professor of international policy and practice at the Ford School of Public Policy. A retired U.S. ambassador, Levitsky has served as officer-in-charge of U.S.-Soviet bilateral relations and as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
“In the first hundred days, President Biden will concentrate on our coronavirus problems but also take steps to reenter the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, indicate that we will return to the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement, begin to discuss with our allies our return to the JCPOA with Iran, call for a NATO Summit to renew and reemphasize our commitment to the Alliance, and depersonalize our relations and negotiations with China and North Korea.
“He will emphasize our commitment to Israel’s security, but give indications that we will return to the two-state policy regarding the Palestinian Authority. Regarding Russia, he will make it clear to Putin that we will take a hard line against their interference in our domestic policies, but call for a return to talks on New START renewal and the INF agreement.”
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Samuel Bagenstos, professor at the Law School, specializes in civil rights law, public law and litigation. He remains an active appellate and Supreme Court litigator in civil rights and federalism cases.
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Margo Schlanger, professor at the Law School, is a leading authority on civil rights issues and served as the officer for civil rights and civil liberties in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In 2018, she co-authored the opinion piece “This is what’s really happening to kids at the border” in the Washington Post.
Ann Lin is an associate professor at the Ford School of Public Policy whose research focuses on public policy implementation, gender and politics and immigration. She has warned against the unintended consequences programs such as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents could have in the future.
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