$287 billion -- that is how much the U.S. spent
on pharmaceuticals in 2007, representing a significant driver of health
care costs. While spending on hospital and physician care surpass
spending on prescriptions, drugs still account for 14% of all health care expenditures. Combine this with polls that show 70% of Americans believe the drug industry puts profits ahead of people, and it's no wonder that in 2008, at least 540 bills
and resolutions are being considered by states across the country to
reduce prescription drug prices, ensure the quality of medications
covered by public and private health plans, and reduce the undue
influence of pharmaceutical industry marketing - which itself tops out
at $30 billion each year.
As we detailed in a
last Friday, the Minnesota bridge collapse tragedy highlights the more general
failure of states to invest in infrastructure maintenance. Most state
legislatures have failed to muster the political will to vote for the revenues
needed to maintain the transit infrastructure across the country.
With a stroke of his
pen, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty blocked one of the most
progressive tax plans in the nation: tax cuts for 90% of the state's
homeowners to be paid for by an income tax increase on the wealthiest 28,000
taxpayers in the state.
the problems of predatory lending industry a few weeks ago and now, problems
are coming to light with the student loan industry. In one of the more
egregious examples, Student Loan Express, a student loan company that is a
unit of CIT Group, Inc, is alleged to
more than $21,000 for Johns Hopkins University's director of student
financial services to attend graduate school. Coincidentally (or not),
Student Loan Express happens to be on the preferred lender list at Johns
What if we told you that you could save money, energy, and carbon dioxide
emissions just by replacing your light bulbs? Many states are pushing
new policies to encourage or even require the replacement of traditional
wasteful incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) as a
key step to achieving energy independence.
On April 3rd, Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law HF 653, which provides
Iowans with the opportunity to register and vote on Election Day. Governor
Here in Iowa , we want to make it as easy as possible for Iowans to be
involved in the democratic process. This bill achieves this goal. I strongly
believe getting more people to vote is good for democracy and good for the
future of this state.