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Committee on Oversight and ReformCommittee on Ways and MeansIntroducedJune 17th, 2009
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Measuring American Poverty Act of 2009
To amend title XI of the Social Security Act to provide for an improved method to measure poverty so as to enable a better assessment of the effects of programs under the Social Security Act, and for other purposes.
Measuring American Poverty Act of 2009 - Amends part A of title XI of the Social Security Act to direct the Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau), in collaboration with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to calculate modern poverty thresholds and modern poverty rates for each calendar year. Directs the Census Bureau and the BLS to choose: (1) the most appropriate distribution of consumption expenditures on food, clothing, and shelter, which may, if appropriate, exclude families receiving subsidies for food, clothing, or shelter; and (2) the reference family for the modern poverty measure. Declares that the modern poverty threshold for a reference family shall be an amount equal to the average of 120% of the 33rd percentile of the distribution chosen, allowing for calculations to rely on a limited band converging on this percentile, during four or more of the most recent years for which data is available from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, a superior federal government source of data, or some combination of such sources. Prescribes requirements for determining modern poverty rates. Directs the Census Bureau, in collaboration with the BLS, to contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to develop and publish methods of: (1) calculating a decent living standard threshold; and (2) measuring the extent to which the income of families in the United States is sufficient to meet it. Directs the Census Bureau, in collaboration with the BLS, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to contract with NAS to develop and publish a method of: (1) measuring the extent of medical care risk in the United States; and (2) calculating the number and percentage of individuals in the United States who lack adequate health insurance, leaving them at risk of being unable to afford needed treatment. Directs the Census Bureau to contract with NAS to develop a set of recommendations for methods to implement annual modern poverty measurement at the state and local level and a timeframe for the implementation.