Source: Elizabeth McNichol, Doug Hall, David Cooper, and Vincent Palacios, Economic Policy Institute & the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 15, 2012
From the press release:
The gaps between the incomes of the richest households and low- and middle-income households are wide and growing in most states, according to a major new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute that examines inequality at the state level. Across all states, the average income of the richest fifth of households was eight times that of the poorest fifth as of the late 2000s. New Mexico, Arizona, California, Georgia, New York, Louisiana, Texas, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Mississippi face the largest gaps….The long-standing trend of growing income inequality continued between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s. Incomes fell by close to 6 percent among the bottom fifth of households, on average, while rising by 8.6 percent among the top fifth, during this period. Incomes grew even faster — 14 percent — among the top 5 percent of households. For the middle fifth of households, incomes grew by just 1.2 percent…
Source: Vernon K. Smith, Kathleen Gifford, Eileen Ellis, Robin Rudowitz and Laura Snyder, Kaiser Family Foundation, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Publication Number: 8380, October 25, 2012
From the abstract:
After the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, state policy makers were finally beginning to see signs of economic recovery at the end of state fiscal year (FY) 2012 and heading into FY 2013. Growth in total Medicaid spending and enrollment slowed substantially in FY 2012 as the economy began to improve. Relatively slow spending and enrollment growth are expected to continue in FY 2013.
Cost pressure and cost containment were still dominant themes, but states were also able to consider program changes, payment and delivery system reforms and continue efforts to re-orient long-term care programs to community-based care models. Eligibility rules for Medicaid remained stable due to the maintenance of eligibility (MOE) protections that were part of health reform legislation, and a number of states adopted targeted eligibility expansions or simplified enrollment procedures.
States are also preparing for the new role for Medicaid in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the June 2012 Supreme Court ruling, the Secretary’s authority to enforce the ACA Medicaid expansion requirement is limited, and state policy makers will decide whether or when to implement the Medicaid expansion.
The findings in this report are drawn from the 12th consecutive year of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) and Health Management Associates (HMA) budget survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This survey reports on trends in Medicaid spending, enrollment and policy initiatives for FY 2012 and FY 2013. The report describes policy changes in reimbursement, eligibility, benefits, delivery systems and long-term care, as well as detailed appendices with state-by-state information, and a more in-depth look through four state-specific case studies of the Medicaid budget and policy decisions in Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon and Texas.
Source: ICMA Conference Briefing, Fall 2012
With some governments in their fourth year of pay and hiring freezes, according to surveys by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE), local governments are facing a wide range of work -force challenges. Their workforce is aging and many still have a pay freeze and are adjusting retirement and health care benefits, according to SLGE’s 2012 survey report: State and Local Government Workforce: 2012 Trends. At the same time, the pace of layoffs has slowed, with 28 percent reporting layoffs this year compared with 43 percent in 2009.
The top workforce issue cited by survey respondents in 2012 is the public perception of government workers. Issues that continue to rank as most important are: retaining staff for core services, addressing employee morale and workload problems, staff development, and reducing employee health care costs.
Source: Catherine C. Reese, Barbara Warner, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 22 no. 4, December 2012
From the abstract:
Has any gender-based pay adjustment made by the states in the past 25 years had an effect on women’s relative pay? The authors utilize a panel set of EEO-4 data on public sector employment by state to investigate the pay of women relative to men for 1999-2005. The authors find that there is a significant difference in the relative pay of women employed in states that have had a major pay adjustment in female-dominated job classes upward at any time in the past quarter century. Utilizing GLS multiple regression to predict the relative pay gaps by state, the authors find that women are better paid relative to men in the public sector than the private. The authors also find that women are better paid relative to men in Elazar’s traditionalistic states as opposed to individualistic and moralistic ones, which are usually credited with having more progressive public policies.
Source: Craig Copeland, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), Issue Brief 375, September 2012
From the summary:
The share of American families with a member in any employment-based retirement plan from a current employer increased steadily from 38.8 percent in 1992 to 40.6 percent in 2007, before declining in 2010 to 37.9 percent. Ownership of 401(k)-type plans among families participating in a retirement plan more than doubled from 31.6 percent in 1992 to 79.5 percent in 2007, and increased again in 2010 to 82.1 percent.
Source: Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), Issue Brief 376, September 2012
The uninsured rate for working-age Americans ticked down in 2011, but only because public program coverage grew faster than employment-based health insurance coverage declined, according to a new report by EBRI. While employment-based health coverage is still the dominant source of health insurance in the United States, it has been steadily shrinking since 2000.
Source: U.S. department of Labor, Economic News Release, USDL-12-1888, September 20, 2012
A preliminary total of 4,609 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2011, down from a final count of 4,690 fatal work injuries in 2010, according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) program conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2011 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, as compared to a final rate of 3.6 per 100,000 for 2010.
Source: PHI (Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute), September 2012
From the blog post:
PHI has updated its State Data Center using the most recent wage, health insurance, and employment data available on the direct-care workforce in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The newly updated resource now features six revised charts for each state based on PHI’s analyses of the latest wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2011 and U.S. Census Bureau health insurance and public-assistance data for 2010.
Source: Andrew G. Biggs, Jason Richwine, ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law, Volume 27, Number 2, Winter 2012
From the summary:
….Because of the well-known tendency for public employers to be more generous with benefits than with wages, any analysis that attempts to settle the “overpaid” or “underpaid” question must include all forms of compensation in the comparison. However, this article is not an all-inclusive analysis. Instead, our goal is to correct a significant error in many existing public-private comparisons. Simply put, it is incorrect to assume that the amount that state and local governments set aside for pension financing is equivalent to the “pension compensation” that public employees receive. In fact, because of accounting differences between the public and private sectors, public defined benefit pension plans contribute far less for each dollar of future pension benefits than private plans do, potentially skewing comparisons of overall compensation….
Source: Truven Health Analytics, July 2012
From the summary:
With key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) now in effect for more than a year, we’ve assembled a compendium of data tracking the impacts of reform and other industry trends on employer healthcare costs.
The report, U.S. Employer Benchmarks and Trends, found that medical and pharmacy costs for employees and their dependents increased at a rate of 4.6 percent from 2010 to 2011 — the smallest increase in the last 5 years.
The relatively modest cost increase reflects the impact of PPACA and Mental Health Parity regulations effective in 2011, including:
• Extension of Dependent Coverage: The extension of dependent coverage through age 26 for unmarried children accounted for 1.4 percent of the overall 4.6 percent increase in employer healthcare costs.
• Preventive Services Coverage: The PPACA requirement to cover more preventive services has resulted in a 3.8 percent increase in physician’s office visits for preventive care.
• Mental Health Parity Regulations: Roughly 0.4 percent of the 4.6 percent healthcare cost increase was driven by an increase of 13.7 percent in Mental Health and Substance Abuse services.