Health Care Cost and Access Challenges Persist

Source: Debra A. Draper and Paul B. Ginsburg, Center for Studying Health System Change, Issue Brief No. 114, October 2007

From press release:
Little has changed in local health care markets since 2005 to break the cycle of rising costs, declining insurance coverage and widening access inequities, according to initial findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change’s (HSC) 2007 site visits to 12 nationally representative metropolitan communities.

Two years ago, HSC researchers identified several troubling trends warning of growing cost and access problems, including a hospital building boom; intense competition among hospitals and physicians to expand profitable specialty services; growing stress on community safety nets; and few cost-control strategies on the part of employers and health plans.

Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 2007 Current Population Survey

Source: Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute, Issue Brief, no. 310, October 2007

What kind of work do you do? What is your income? Are you a man or woman? How many are employed at the firm where you work? Do you work full time or part time? Answers to these questions are key determinants of an individual’s likelihood of having health insurance, according to the October 2007 EBRI Issue Brief, published by EBRI.

American’s Preparedness for Disaster or Emergency Improves

Source: American Red Cross and Council for Excellence in Government, October 2007

From the press release:
The nation’s RQ (Readiness Quotient) -a barometer of the public’s preparedness for a weather emergency, natural disaster or terrorist attack-inched up nearly a point from 15 months ago, according to a report released today by the American Red Cross and the Council for Excellence in Government.

The nation’s collective level of preparedness has increased to 4.14 out of a possible 10, compared to 3.31 in June 2006. The survey found that the biggest gains were in the public’s level of preparedness awareness, but more work needs to be done to engage people in taking preparedness actions.
See also:
National results
Test Your RQ
Online education module
2006 report

The Future of Disability in America

Source: Marilyn J. Field and Alan M. Jette, Committee on Disability in America, Board on Health Sciences Policy, Institute of Medicine, 2007

From the summary:
The future of disability in America will depend on how well this country prepares for and manages the demographic, fiscal, and technological developments that will unfold during the next two to three decades.

State Corporate Tax Shelters And The Need For “Combined Reporting”

Source: Michael Mazerov, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 26, 2007

From the summary:
A growing number of states are adopting or considering a key corporate tax reform known as “combined reporting.” Most large corporations consist of a parent corporation and its subsidiaries; combined reporting effectively treats the parent and most or all of its subsidiaries as a single corporation for state income tax purposes.

Almost half the states with corporate income taxes have adopted combined reporting. Five states have enacted the reform in the last three years, and several others have seriously considered doing so. A major reason for states’ growing interest is their recognition of how badly corporate tax shelters that exploit the lack of combined reporting are eroding state corporate tax payments. Corporations have devised a wide variety of strategies to artificially shift profits to out-of-state subsidiaries. Combined reporting largely negates these strategies by enabling the state to tax a fair share of the profit shifted into a related, out-of-state corporation.

This report discusses some of the corporate tax-avoidance strategies to which non-combined reporting states are most vulnerable and explains how combined reporting can help a state preserve a strong and fair corporate income tax.

A Report on Shortfalls in Medicaid Funding for Nursing Home Care

Source: Joseph Lubarsky, BDO Seidman LLP and Eljay LLC, American Health Care Association, September 2007

From the press release:
A new independent analysis of the nation’s Medicaid program by the accounting firms BDO Seidman/Eljay,LLC estimates states are underfunding the actual cost of providing seniors’ critical nursing home care by at least $4.4 billion annually, or, $13.15 per patient day – representing a dramatic 45% increase from 1999 ($9.05) through 2007. The new study also found that the states with the greatest disparity between the actual cost of providing quality care and Medicaid reimbursements are, in order of severity, Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Missouri, Delaware, Washington and Massachusetts.

Make Your Own Tables Of State Taxes And Expenditures With Our State And Local Finance Data Query System (SLF-DQS)

Source: Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, Tax Policy Center

The State & Local Finance Data Query System (SLF-DQS) allows flexible presentation of data from the Census of Governments State and Local Finance series. That series contains detailed revenue, expenditure and debt variables for the United States, each of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia for 1977-2004. The data are available by type of government: state, local, state and local totals, and local government detail. All data presented are state aggregates of finance data for the selected level of government. Users can view the data along different dimensions, in real or nominal dollars, and on a per capita or fraction of personal income, general revenues or total expenditures basis. This tool is useful for comparative, single state, or time series analysis.

Providing Consumers with Useful Information About Healthcare Prices

Source: Mark Legnini, National Quality Forum, Issue Brief no. 6, August 2007

From the summary:
Price transparency encourages consumers and others who make decisions on their behalf (e.g., employers, health plans, referring practitioners) to consider price alongside quality in their health care decisions. Governments, employers, and insurers have ratcheted up their interest in price transparency in an effort to improve outcomes and slow the rate of health care expenditures.

The Labor – H.H.S. – Education Veto In Context

Source: Richard Kogan, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 24, 2007

President Bush has said he will veto the appropriations bill that funds the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for the coming fiscal year if Congress sends the bill to him with funding at the level either the House or Senate has approved. The Administration says the funding provided in the House- and Senate-passed bills is “excessive” and “irresponsible” and has sought to portray them as part of a congressional plan that would constitute “runaway spending.” This short analysis finds these claims to be misleading or inaccurate.

Sign AFSCME’s petition asking Congress to vote YES for the final bill.