Research Roundup: Health Care Reform, African Americans See Weekly Wage Decline, New Reports on Civil Legal Aid and More

Safety Net Effective at Fighting Poverty But Has Weakened for the Very Poorest - While aid programs are more effective in fighting poverty than often recognized, they have become less effective in addressing deep poverty in the last ten years, according to this analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Every State Needs Health Care Reform - These fact sheets for all 50 states by the Center for American Progress highlight the billions of dollars in lost productivity due to lack of insurance faced by Americans who live shorter lives with poorer health in each state.

African Americans see weekly wage decline - While other groups have seen a modest rise in weekly wages over the last 2 years, African Americans are the only group to experience a decline, as this Economic Policy Institute snapshot illustrates.

Three new reports on civil legal aid for low-income families:

  • And Justice for All: Prioritizing Free Legal Assistance During the Great Recession - With families needing legal help to address foreclosures, health problems, education needs and physical safety, this Center for American Progress report highlights the need for government to protect and expand funding for legal aid organizations to provide free legal help for poor and low-income working families.
  • Civil Legal Aid in the United States: An Update for 2009 - This CLASP report notes that civil legal aid is facing reductions in funding from state sources which, until 2009, had been expanding and had overtaken federal Legal Services Corporation funding as the largest source of civil legal aid funding.  Substantively, there is progress in the states in promoting the right-to-counsel in civil matters for low-income families and this is likely to intensify in future years.
  • Language Access in State Courts - As this Brennan Center report details, 13 million people with limited proficiency in English live in states which do not require courts to provide interpreters in most types of civil cases and another 6 million live in states which charge for using them -- with many of these states violating the federal Civil Rights Act in doing so.  However, the report also details efforts by many states to overcome these problems.