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How State Attorneys General are Taking Action to Fight Foreclosures

Despite lots of noise at the federal level, families actually facing foreclosure have had to depend on state and local leaders for any of the real help they've received.  And as a new ACORN survey finds, many attorneys general have been heroes for working families-- while others have failed completely to step up during the crisis.  Getting top A+ grades for action were Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, Iowa's Tom Miller, Massachusetts Martha Conkley, Minnesota's Lori Swanson, and New York's Andrew Cuomo.

Eliminating Health Disparities, Achieving Equity

In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the US health care system 37th in the world despite spending more than any other country.  In 2007, according to the US Census Bureau, the US ranked 42nd in life expectancy. If you are a person of color, a low-wage worker, non-English speaking, or live in a low-income community, the picture is much worse.  For instance, the life expectancy for African-Americans is 73.3 years, five years shorter than it is for whites.  For African-American men, it is 69.8 years, just above averages in Iran and Syria, but below Nicaragua and Morocco.

Families USA's State Reports Document Bush's Assault on State Economies and the Consequences of Being Uninsured

Absent a national health care policy, states have found ways to expand the reach of Medicaid by covering more low-income, senior and disabled people and expanding the list of covered services.  Because of state action, 58 million Americans now have health coverage they would not otherwise possess.  To push back on the states, the Bush Administration put forward several new Medicaid regulations last year that, if implemented, will shift the burden and costs to states.  This will result in reduced benefits for millions of Americans unless already cash-strapped states find some way to pick up the slack - to the tune of $50 billion over five years.

Stopping Profiteering in "Not-for-Profit" Hospitals

It's counter-intuitive, but many US not-for-profit hospitals have bigger profits than their for-profit counterparts.  Last week, a Wall Street Journal article discussed the growth of profits in the not-for-profit hospital sector and the welcome attention this is garnering from federal policymakers.  As reported, the combined net income of the 50 largest not-for-profit hospitals across the US increased nearly eight-fold from 2001 to 2006 to a staggering $4.27 billion. 77% of the 2,033 not-for-profit hospitals in the US routinely make money, compared with 61% of for-profit hospitals.

States Barred from Protecting Consumers Hurt by Faulty Medical Devices, Says Supreme Court

In one more example of lax federal agencies being empowered to block tougher state protection of consumers, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that states are barred from protecting consumers from faulty medical devices, such as breast implants, if the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved those devices.

President's Budget Would Devastate State Services

States are facing hard budget times this year, with twenty states facing a combined budget shortfall of at least $34 billion for 2009 -- and the President's proposed budget would not only make them worse, but would disproportionately hurt many of the most vulnerable populations in the country.

Dealing with the Foreclosure Crisis at the State Level

The statistics are shocking. The current mortgage crisis is expected to result in the foreclosure of 3 million homes. In Stockton, CA, one in every 27 homes has been hit by the foreclosure crisis. And, Countryside, the largest U.S. mortgage lender, just released figures showing that foreclosures and late payments rose in December to the highest on record. Calls to helplines by homeowners facing foreclosure have skyrocketed.  As a corollary, local animal shelters are seeing a sharp increase in intake due to owners having to surrender family pets when they lose their homes.

Presidential Platforms and State Policies

Given the experience of Senate filibusters against innovative policies proposed at the federal level, here at Progressive States we are inevitably cautious in our hopes based on Presidential candidate proposals.  

Privatizing in the Dark: The Pitfalls of Privatization & Why Budget Disclosure is Needed

Periodically, we hear elected leaders promoting what seems like a free lunch: hand-over control of government services or government assets to private industry and services will improve at a lower cost. Like most promises of a free lunch, privatization of government services ”“ also known as "contracting out" or "public-private partnerships"”“ has rarely delivered on its promises, with most studies showing little gain and often substantial losses for the public.