Illinois gained headlines in 2005 for its first-in-the-nation plan to
provide health care for all children in the state, called AllKids. Pennsylvania followed suit in 2006 with its own Cover All Kids plan.
Now the Governors of each state have proposed comprehensive health care
reform packages with the goal of universal access to health care. The
plans build on reforms in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, but
go further in key areas of affordability and system reform.
Nearly 650,000 people are released
from state and federal prison every year, with larger numbers
reentering communities from local jails. Over 50 percent of those
released from incarceration are sent back to prison for a parole
violation or new crime within 3 years.
spend $11.4 billion each year on marketing. Much of that is spent on
salespeople, known as "detailers", who visit doctor's offices to pitch
the latest drugs, in order to increase prescriptions for their
company's products-- usually at the expense of older, cheaper, and
often more effective drugs.
One of the most politically challenging, and politically assailable,
decisions a legislator can make is a vote increasing legislative pay.
Yet, with legislative pay a mere pittance in most states, increasing it
is necessary to prevent wealth from becoming a prerequisite to
hold public office.
To the embarassment of a country with leaders that bill themselves as
supporting "family values," a new report by the
Project on Global Working Families finds that US federal policies are some
of the least supportive of families in the world.
Two years into Maine's DirigoChoice insurance program, designed to
expand access to health insurance to Maine's uninsured individuals and
small businesses, the state is grappling with how to fund the program.
While the program's governing board recently voted to assess a controversial assessment paid by insurers and self-insured companies, a separate Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission has proposed alternative funding
that relieves insurers of their responsibility to help fund the
program. Instead of keeping insurers, hospitals, and large businesses
at the table through "pay or play" or "fair share" initiatives and
enhanced cost containment, the Commission wants to replace the insurer
assessment with general fund revenue raised on the backs of consumers.
Commission members in Wisconsin are floating an idea
that is almost groundbreaking in its simplicity: a free college
education for the state's students in exchange for a commitment to
remain in state for a set period of time. If the student ends up
reneging on the deal, they pay the cost of their education.