LePage Proposal Will Exacerbate Maine’s Hunger Crisis

August 19, 2014 by

The facts are shocking. In the U.S. today, 1 in 7 Americans―more than 46 million people, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors―rely on food pantries and food kitchens to eat.

Of the households trying to stave off hunger,

  • 4% have someone in their home in active military service.
  • 34% have at least one member working.
  • 55% have unpaid medical bills.
  • 66% have stopped buying medicine in order to
Read the rest

More Data to Consider as Portland Debates Raising Its Minimum Wage

August 13, 2014 by

Late last month, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan announced the initial details of his plan to raise the city’s minimum wage. If passed, the bill would likely raise the wage from its current $7.50/hour to $9.50/hour in January 2015, with anticipated hikes following in each of the next two years.

The final fate of the proposal is still at least a few months away, but one thing is certain from … Read the rest

A Divide and Conquer Strategy that Risks the Health of Maine’s Seniors and Working Poor

August 5, 2014 by

The classic “divide and conquer” strategy,  often attributed to cunning Julius Caesar, operates on the premise that pitting your adversaries against each other before you strike  is one sure path to victory. In a recent press release heralding $25.4 million in excess MaineCare funds now available to shore up struggling nursing homes, the LePage Administration appears to be following Caesar’s formula.

This funding is great news for nursing homes in … Read the rest

Flexible workplaces are good for Maine workers and Maine’s economy

July 10, 2014 by

Workplace flexibility policies would benefit Maine’s working families and its large population of senior workers as well as its economy. Workplace flexibility means the acceptance of adjustments to the 9-5, 40 hour in-office work week, and could include accommodations like: flexible hours; paid vacation, sick, and parental leave; job sharing; telecommuting. Maine legislators should consider legislative initiatives either to establish such policies or to incentivize employers to take the initial … Read the rest

What to Look for in Friday’s Jobs Report

June 19, 2014 by

Tomorrow, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly state-by-state jobs and employment report. While the data are subject to revision and should be viewed with some skepticism, they help paint a picture of how Maine’s employment situation stacks up relative to other states.

In all likelihood, the story will remain much the same as it has been in recent months. Maine’s unemployment rate will likely … Read the rest

Jobs Recovery Nationally Showing Promise, But Maine Still Lags Far Behind

June 6, 2014 by

Today’s national jobs report highlights an important milestone. As a nation, we have recovered 101 percent of jobs lost during the recession. Clearly we are headed in the right direction but the recovery – especially here in Maine – is far from complete.

For starters, as our colleagues at the Economic Policy Institute point out, while we’ve recovered more than 100 percent of jobs lost, we’ve also grown our population … Read the rest

Everything comes with a cost: the perilous (and unnecessary) fate of the Portland Free Clinic

June 4, 2014 by

Despite the historic opportunity offered by the federal funds available to expand Medicaid to cover Maine’s uninsured, millions of dollars earmarked for our state have been lost – more than $143 million since January 1 -repudiated in a din of partisan politics.  The governor vetoed majority votes in favor of Medicaid expansion five times.  But decisions have consequences – and one of the consequences might be the future of the … Read the rest

Between the lines of stockholder calls, refusing Medicaid expansion bad for hospitals’ balance sheets

May 14, 2014 by

First-quarter financial results are in, and the CEOs of some of America’s publicly-traded hospitals systems are finding Medicaid expansion is good for business. And they are reporting big differences between their facilities in states that have expanded Medicaid and the hospitals in states still refusing federal healthcare dollars.  In states that have accepted federal healthcare funds and worked to promote the ACA, hospital executives are realizing significant increases in the … Read the rest

Employer Mandate: Theory, practice and those pesky federal deficits . . .

May 13, 2014 by
Mitchell Stein

Mitchell Stein

The Urban Institute (UI) recently released a new analysis of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate (Why Not Just Eliminate the Employer Mandate?) and what the impact would be if the employer mandate were eliminated.

UI concludes that:

“. . . eliminating the employer mandate will not reduce insurance coverage significantly, contrary to its supporters’ expectations. Eliminating it will remove labor market distortions that have … Read the rest

More evidence that accepting federal funds to expand health care is the right prescription for Maine

May 6, 2014 by

A new study finds that Romneycare – the Massachusetts health insurance program that was used as a model for the Affordable Care Act – has prevented 230 deaths a year since it began in 2006.  Since this study collected data on 270,000 people for a full four years – not just the initial months after people were covered – this is the best evidence yet that health insurance and access … Read the rest

« Previous PageNext Page »