After A Three-Year Lull, Health Benefit Cost Growth Picks Up A Little Speed In 2008

Source: Mercer Health & Benefits, 5 September 2007

From the press release:
The good news, according to preliminary survey findings released today by Mercer Health & Benefits, is that health benefit cost growth will increase only slightly in 2008. But three years of flat growth around 6% each year had raised hopes that the health benefit cost trend would begin to drop down toward average wage and CPI trends. The bad news is that it remains about twice as high.

Reasons Social Security Privatization Particularly Harms Women

Source: National Partnership for Women and Families

Social Security was established nearly 70 years ago to provide a critical safety net to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Now, citing a fictitious “crisis,” President Bush wants to overhaul Social Security and change the way benefits are calculated and distributed, including having workers invest part of their contributions into private accounts. These proposals will severely undermine the Social Security safety net and disproportionately harm women and minorities. Social Security – the guaranteed foundation for most seniors’ retirement – must be strengthened, not whittled away.

The Social Security reform plan that President Bush is promoting would exacerbate those problems by diverting one-third of a worker’s Social Security contributions to private accounts. The result would be lower guaranteed benefits for ALL future retirees, regardless of whether they open individual private accounts. Lower benefits would cause great harm to women, who are much more likely than men to depend on Social Security’s guaranteed benefits to avoid poverty.

See also:
National Partnership for Women and Families: Social Security Page

Maternity Leave in the United States: Paid Parental Leave is still Not Standard, even among the Best U.S. Employers

Source: Vicky Lovell, Elizabeth O’Neill, and Skylar Olsen, Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), Fact Sheet, IWPR #A131 August 2007

From the press release:
WASHINGTON – A new fact sheet released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reports that nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of the best employers for working mothers provide four or fewer weeks of paid maternity leave, and half (52 percent) provide six weeks or less. Nearly half of the best companies fail to provide any paid leave for paternity or adoption. While more than one-quarter of the best companies (28 percent) provide nine or more weeks of paid maternity leave, many of the winners’ paid parental leave policies fall far short of families’ needs. IWPR’s analysis is based on data provided by Working Mother Media, publisher of Working Mother, regarding the 2006 list of Working Mother 100 Best Companies.

Newly Licensed RNs’ Characteristics, Work Attitudes, and Intentions to Work

Source: Christine T. Kovner,Carol S. Brewer, Susan Fairchild, Shakthi Poornima, Hongsoo Kim, Maja Djukic, American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 107 no. 9, September 1, 2007
(subscription required)

From a summary:
In this article, researchers presented findings from the first wave of a three-year panel study on the work experience of newly licensed nurses. A randomly selected sample of 3,266 newly licensed RNs from 60 sites across the country participated in the study. RNs completed a multipage survey that addressed several aspects of their current employment.

Minnesota Integrated Services Project Participant Characteristics and Program Implementation

Source: Karin Martinson, Caroline Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Harbison, and Joanna Parnes, Urban Institute, September 25, 2007

From the abstract:
The Minnesota Integrated Services Projects focus on improving the delivery of employment, health, and social services to families who receive cash assistance and have serious or multiple barriers to employment. Operating in eight sites, the project seeks to provide comprehensive assessments of participants’ barriers, improve access to more complete services that address multiple needs, and coordinate services provided by multiple service systems. This report examines the implementation of the projects, provides information on participants’ demographic, economic and barrier-related characteristics, and describes changes in economic outcomes among participants within a short (six-month) follow-up period.

The Next Generation of Antipoverty Policies

Source: Brookings Institution, Vol. 7 no. 2, Fall 2007

The Brookings Institution and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School have released the latest Future of Children volume “The Next Generation of Antipoverty Policies.” The articles in this volume focus on several specific policies, covering a spectrum of short- and long-term strategies, that have the best chance of reducing poverty in a cost-effective way.

Low-Income Workers and Their Employers : Characteristics and Challenges

Source: Gregory Acs and Austin Nichols, Urban Institute, September 11, 2007

From the abstract:
This paper finds that about one in four workers, ages 18 to 61, earned less than $7.73 an hour in 2003. Low-wage workers who reside in low-income families with children are substantially less educated than the average worker, are concentrated in industries with low wages, and have limited prospects for wage growth. Many policies aimed at low-wage workers are not well-targeted at workers in low-income families with children, in part because only one in four low-wage workers reside in such families. Nevertheless, policies targeted at low-wage workers may have broad benefits, including improving the lot of low-income families with children.

Federal Election Commission Launches E-Mail Update Service

Source: Federal Election Commission

From the press release:
…automated email updates for a variety of campaign finance information. The new service will allow users to sign-up to receive notification whenever information important to them is added or changed on the Commission’s site…With a single click, users can now register to receive updates for one or more specific pages at including news releases, support for committee treasurers, updates on Commission decisions, etc. The system allows people to keep track of FEC actions in real time without receiving unwanted email about subjects not directly of interest.
Some RSS is also available.

Connecting Kids to Health Coverage: Evaluating the Child Health and Disability Prevention Gateway Program

Source: Catherine Teare, Len Finocchio, Victoria Martin-Young, California HealthCare Foundation, August 2007

From the overview:
The automated process known as the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) Gateway debuted in 2003 as California’s largest effort to enroll children in health insurance programs. It was an unprecedented experiment that used innovative methods to identify and pre-enroll eligible children into temporary Medi-Cal coverage, and then facilitate their transition into long-term enrollment in Medi-Cal or Healthy Families.

See Also:
Modernizing Enrollment in California’s Health Programs for Children

Report: Health Care Quality Continues To Improve For 84 Million Americans, But More Than 100 Million In The Dark

Source: National Committee For Quality Assurance, 2007

From the press release:
WASHINGTON — The quality of care for more than 80 million Americans enrolled in 767 accountable health plans improved in 2006, but the gains were smaller than they have been in past years, according to a new report by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).