Mike Alberti

Mike Alberti has worked for Remapping Debate since its launch. He has been our chief correspondent, and is currently a senior contributing reporter.  Mike graduated with a B.A. in English from Vassar College in 2009. He has previously contributed to The Colorado Springs Independent, The Independent Weekly in Durham, N.C., and The Weekly Beat in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He is originally from Albuquerque, N.M.

Story Repair | By Mike Alberti | Labor, Pensions, State government
In 2011, the Rhode Island state legislature passed a law that made deep cuts to the pension benefits of its public employees and retirees, prompting a challenge alleging that the law was a violation of the state’s contract with those workers. Now, Rhode Island officials are claiming that the promises it made to its workers never constituted contracts, an argument that several legal experts characterized as a radical shift from historical precedent. As similar legal challenges emerge in other states, the Rhode Island court’s decision whether or not to uphold the state’s argument could have profound implications across the country. More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Legislation, State government
At least five bills proposed in the last session — including bills focused on campaign finance disclosure, affordable housing, and an oil severance tax — received substantial support. All, however, fell short of the two-thirds vote needed to pass. Despite the potential that their new legislative power gives them to pass these and other measures, the tone set by Democrats in Sacramento has thus far been decidedly cautious. More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti, By Meade Klingensmith | Advertising, Health care, Insurance
Two large American companies recently announced that they are planning abandon the traditional “defined benefit” model of providing health insurance benefits to their employees and switch to a “defined contribution” model, in which they will offer employees a fixed annual sum — like a voucher — that the workers can use to subsidize insurance they will have to buy for themselves. The companies and other proponents of the defined contribution model tout the shift as “empowering” employees with greater “choice.” The result of Remapping Debate’s inquiries, however, make clear that the central motivation for the switch is to shift the risk of rising health insurance costs from employers to employees, thereby undermining a multi-generational compact between management and labor. More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Corporate influence, Open government
Part 3 of our series on government incentive programs for businesses examines the justifications given by state and local officials who favor granting subsidies, but resist disclosing who gets them. More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Corporate influence, Open government
Part 2 of our series on government incentive programs for businesses focuses on the lack of transparency at the local level. More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Corporate influence, Open government
Using public dollars to subsidize private businesses has become a routine part of economic development policy in the United States. But many economists believe that the benefits to a state or locality are generally modest, and that incentives can actually hurt other local businesses. Moreover, looked at from the point of view of the net effect on the national economy, some incentives provide no gain, and others are harmful to productivity. So why do policy makers keep doling out these subsidies? The first part in a Remapping Debate series on government aid to businesses. More
Press Criticism | By Mike Alberti | Health care, Medicine
In an article about America’s physician shortage, The New York Times fails to adequately explain the causes of that medical emergency. And even though the solutions are hiding in plain sight, you will not find them in the piece. In the end, the article not only fails to move the debate forward, it lets policy makers off the hook for missing opportunity after opportunity to address the issue. More
Original Reporting | By Mike Alberti | Health care, Insurance
Most people are aware of the billions of dollars a year that private insurance companies spend on administrative costs. But the health insurance system in the United States also imposes a large burden in time and resources on physicians, hospitals, and employers. Researchers have estimated the total administrative cost associated with billing and insurance across the economy at more than $400 billion a year, or 15 percent of health care spending. Despite calls by some policy makers and advocates to reduce the administrative burden, several researchers said that many of the costs are inherent in a for-profit, multi-payer insurance system, and cannot be significantly reduced without fundamental structural change. More