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Dealing with the Recession and State Fiscal Crises, New Resources for Health Care Reform, and Much More

Dealing with the Recession and State Fiscal Crises:

  • Over 200,000 to Lose Jobless Benefits this Week - The National Employment Law Project (NELP) finds that Congress' failure to reauthorize unemployment benefits this week will impact over 200,000 Americans without jobs.  NELP also provides a breakdown of how many workers in each state are affected.
  • The Zero-Sum Game - The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report that lawmakers fail to augment economic activity in their states by implementing broad tax cuts or offering job credits.
  • Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck - Transparency and Accountability Tools for Oregon Tax Subsidies -   This Oregon State PIRG report identifies 118 tax subsidies that account for approximately $626 million in uncollected revenues from corporations.  The report was developed from state data, but the report notes that if states make such data available in database form, it would be far easier for the public to track such corporate giveaways.

New Resources for Health Care Reform:

  • Insurance company rate hikes driven by greed, NOT underlying medical costs - With insurers announcing rate increases as high as 39% last month, this report by Health Care for America Now documents that premium increases have far outpaced the actual increases in the costs of medical care, with the excess driving massive insurance company profits and payouts to top executives.
  • State Coverage Initiatives is hosting a webinar on March 11, 2010 from 2— 3:30 p.m. EDT on the potential roles of a health insurance exchange.  This follows their recent brief, Preparing for Health Reform: The Role of the Health Insurance Exchange, that discusses state-specific issues to be considered before establishing an exchange and the different ways in which an exchange might be structured and operated.
  • The Impact of Health Care Reform on State Operations is a February 2010 issue brief by State Coverage Initiatives that examines a wide range of health care reform initiatives implemented over the past few years in five states - Massachusetts, New Mexico,Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin and offers recommendations that are applicable to all states.

What Gets Measured Gets Done: How a Supplemental Federal Poverty Measure Will Drive Smarter Policy -  The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that it will develop an alternative way to measure poverty that, unlike the current poverty measure, will more accurately account for all income and costs for low-income families.  This Center for American Progress brief explains how a better poverty measure will encourage better policy by more accurately assessing which approaches actually help those families.

Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism - The Southern Poverty Law Center documents the exponential increase in the number of groups that advance xenophobic, racist, or generally extreme right-wing ideology in the past year.  They find that, "the radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation." In particular, there was a 244 percent rise in the number of anti-government militias and citizen groups.

Taking on the Tool Belt Recession: Energy Efficiency Retrofits Can Provide a Real Help for Construction Unemployment - Noting that 2.1 million construction workers are out of a job, this Center for American Progress memo and its Interactive Map by state argues that recovery funds for energy retrofits of buildings could be a major job creator, especially for small businesses and their employees across the country and would also jump-start demand for manufacturing goods supporting retrofits.