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Massachusetts

Child Care: A Valuing Families Campaign Issue

In state elections across the country, how to create quality, affordable child care has become a potent campaign issue.

Conservative Candidates Promote Progressive Policies

One sign of progressive strength is when progressive candidates win elections. But another sign is when conservative candidates begin adopting progressive programs for fear of losing office. And across the country, many GOP gubernatorial candidates have begun embracing progressive causes as a way to court the voters:

MN: Blue Cross Calls for Forced Universal Health Coverage

The Blues have joined the health care for all bandwagon in Minnesota. The state's Blue Cross Blue Shield is endorsing a bill based on the Massachusetts model of achieving health care for all through compelling the purchase of insurance, highlighting both a key strength and a key weakness of the model. The mandatory nature of the law builds bridges to new interested parties: insurance firms well positioned to benefit from a law requiring that the public purchase their product.

Anti-Tobacco Efforts Gain Steam

At the same time that a new study out of Massachusetts reveals that tobacco companies are steadily increasing nicotine levels in cigarettes, the fight to limit the health impacts of tobacco is gaining new steam. Ballot measures will be considered in eight states this fall regarding tobacco. And in Virginia, where tobacco is king, Governor Tim Kaine is considering a ban on smoking in state buildings.

CA: Legislature Votes for Single-Payer Health System to Cover Uninsured

Yesterday, the California Assembly voted for a bill, SB 840, that would provide health care to all state residents under a government-run universal health insurance system, joining the state Senate which enacted a similar bill last year.

Accountability and Efficiency in Medical Services

In a system where profits, not patient health, is the top priority of many health care providers, states are beginning to develop "pay for performance" incentives and promoting other innovations to hold providers more broadly accountable.

 

Stopping Privatization Profiteering

A number of state leaders have been promoting what seems like a free lunch. Hand over control of government services to private industry and those companies promise better service at a lower price. Like most promises of a free lunch, privatization has mostly ended up being a deceptive boondoggle, a point the non-partisan news sourceStateline.org emphasized this past week:

Progressive Ballot Issues For Turnout and Framing

There are few more potent tools for impacting the outcomes of elections than changing what appears on the ballot. And there are no more direct paths from public outcry to passed legislation than through ballot issues. For years, the rightwing has been advancing policy goals, shaping message, and marshalling voters through ballot issues (we've already highlighted many of their current-year endeavors in this very newsletter). Progressives increasingly are fighting back using ballot issues -- which shouldn't be surprising, since initiatives and referedenda were originally a progressive reform.

CA: State Rules FedEx Drivers Employees, Not Contractors

For years, the delivery company FedEx has claimed that its ground drivers are not employees but independent contractors-- meaning the company didn't have to pay for workers compensation, unemployment insurance or extend a range of other worker protections.

2006: Debate on Health Care for All Gets Real

Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to create a health care plan to provide health care coverage for the 85,000 uninsured residents of that city. While there are additional votes needed to finalize the bill, with a unanimous vote and the endorsement of the mayor, the proposed ordinance is expected to become law with no problem.