PA's Health Insurance Coverage Rates Still Below Pre-recession Levels

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New data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) show that Pennsylvanians have not made up for health insurance coverage lost during the Great Recession. It is also a big reminder that Pennsylvania needs an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act now more than ever.

Governor Announces Medicaid Plan

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Governor Tom Corbett announced his "Healthy PA" plan Monday that would expand health coverage in Pennsylvania under the Affordable Care Act. His plan will depart from the federal law's vision of Medicaid expansion by using private health insurance plans to deliver the coverage. The Governor's plan also institutes new requirements for all Medicaid enrollees, including monthly premiums and work search requirements, that could make it more difficult for people to access health coverage. The federal government must approve the plan before it can go forward.

PA Budget and Policy Center Launches Redesigned Web Site

In case you missed it last week, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) launched a redesigned web site, making it easier to access the center's analysis, commentaries, blog posts, webinars, and much more. The site has a new look, but more importantly it puts everything you need right at your fingertips:

A Recovery for Some But Not All

As Mark Price noted yesterday, there has been a shocking rise in income inequality since 2009.

Just How Much Will a Fast Food Wage Increase Cost?

Big MacIn The State of Working Pennsylvania 2013, we said that substantially raising the wages of fast food workers — to roughly $15 per hour — could put Pennsylvania and the nation back on the path to shared prosperity. Capitolwire suggested in an August 29 Under the Dome brief (subscription required) that people would end up paying “a lot more” for their Big Macs and eating out at other restaurants. Yes, it would cost a bit more initially but not nearly as much as Capitolwire suggested. And it could lower costs in the long run. Let me explain.

How Does Job Growth in Pennsylvania Measure Up?

In this year's State of Working Pennsylvania, we decided to look once again at the pace of job growth in Pennsylvania relative to the other 49 states. What's different about our analysis this time is that we compare Pennsylvania's job performance at comparable points in the economic recovery that followed each of the last three recessions.

Public Benefit Programs Encourage Work

A few weeks ago, Sharon Ward explained the many problems with a report from the Cato Institute suggesting it's great to be poor in the United States. Today, Sandy Strauss and Peter Zurflieh, the co-chairs of a coalition working to improve the lives of Pennsylvania's low-income families, have a letter to the editor in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review setting the record straight about the Cato study. They do a nice job of explaining how public benefits encourage low-income people to go to work and keep at it:

Public benefit programs don't discourage work. Both SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid, for example, offer work incentive deductions from earned income to encourage work. In 2011, 86 percent of low-income children receiving Medicaid or CHIP were in working families. More than half of able-bodied adults in households with children receiving SNAP work.

Reports like Cato's unfairly portray low-wage earners and persons living in poverty as lazy and waiting for the next government handout. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Third and State Recap: The Rise of Low-Paying Jobs, State of Working PA, What You Should Earn, Revenue Update, & More

Over the past two weeks, we blogged about the latest U.S. jobs report, the State of Working Pennsylvania, why low-paying jobs in hotels and restaurants are on the rise across the commonwealth, what you should be earning, state revenue collections, and more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price highlighted the key takeaways from the latest U.S. jobs report and explained why low-paying jobs in hotels and restaurants are making up such a large share of job growth in Pennsylvania in recent years. Chris Lilienthal blogged about the Keystone Research Center's latest State of Working PA report and shared an online tool from the Economic Policy Institute showing how much you would be making if wages had kept pace with productivity in the economy.
  • On state tax and budget issues, Michael Wood blogged that revenue collections appear to be on track two months into Pennsylvania's new fiscal year.
  • And on income inequality, Steve Herzenberg wrote the speech he wished President Obama would have given on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Another Ho Hum Jobs Report in August

The nation's unemployment rate dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.3% in August and non-farm payrolls expanded by 169,000 jobs over the month, according to a report today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Here is a rundown of reactions from DC’s top labor economists to today’s jobs report:

Early Revenue Collections on Track for 2013-14

August 2013 Revenue TrackerWhile August tends to be one of the fiscal year’s smaller months for revenue collections, General Fund receipts last month show Pennsylvania’s budget is essentially on track two months into 2013-14.

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