Broad Shoulders Update

news and information for cmun dev advocates in metropolitan Chicago

Archive for the ‘equit’ tag

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States Resist Medicaid Growth,” - Washington Post

The nation’s governors are emerging as a formidable lobbying force as health-care reform moves through Congress and states overburdened by the recession brace for the daunting prospect of providing coverage to millions of low-income residents.

The legislation the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve this week calls for the biggest expansion of Medicaid since its creation in 1965. Under the Senate bill and a similar House proposal, a patchwork state-federal insurance program targeted mainly at children, pregnant women and disabled people would effectively become a Medicare for the poor, a health-care safety net for all people with an annual income below $14,404.

Obama uses L.A. program as a model for going green,” - Los Angeles Times

Urging the government to “lead by example,” President Obama ordered federal agencies on Monday to set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut energy use, save water and recycle more.

The order calls for a 30% cut in vehicle fuel use by 2020, a 50% increase in recycling by 2015 and the implementation of high-efficiency building codes.

Housing Battle Reveals Post-Katrina Tensions,” -  The New York Times

CHALMETTE, La. — The parish of St. Bernard, a quiet, insular suburb just east of New Orleans, has in the end agreed to allow housing for low-income families.

But even though it is only a few hundred apartment units, it had to be ordered by a federal judge. The parish has fought desperately to prevent such housing and an influx of renters, at one point even approving a law that prohibited homeowners from renting to anyone other than a blood relative, before it was challenged and repealed.

Written by Keith Forest

October 6th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

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WIC nutrition program expands to cover fruits, vegetables,” - Los Angeles Times

Beginning today, women and children who receive food vouchers through the federal government’s WIC program will be able to use them to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s a really welcome change,” said Gail Harrison, a public health professor at UCLA who was on the national Institute of Medicine panel that recommended the revisions to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — the first major change in the program since it began in the 1970s. “The supplemental food package contributes a very substantial share of dietary intake, and so making it healthier is all to the good.”

Swiss Health Care Thrives Without Public Option,” -  The New York Times

ZURICH — Like every other country in Europe, Switzerland guarantees health care for all its citizens. But the system here does not remotely resemble the model of bureaucratic, socialized medicine often cited by opponents of universal coverage in the United States.

Swiss private insurers are required to offer coverage to all citizens, regardless of age or medical history. And those people, in turn, are obligated to buy health insurance.

$35 Billion Slated for Local Housing,” -  The wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is close to committing as much as $35 billion to help beleaguered state and local housing agencies continue to provide mortgages to low- and moderate-income families, according to administration officials.

The move would further cement the government’s role in propping up the housing market even as some lawmakers push to curb spending at a time of rising debt.

Written by Keith Forest

October 1st, 2009 at 8:46 pm

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Average family health insurance policy: $13,375, up 5%,” -  USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — An average family health insurance policy now costs more than some compact cars, and four in 10 companies will likely pass more of that expense on to workers, according to a closely watched survey of businesses released Tuesday.

The average cost of a family policy offered by employers was $13,375 this year, up 5% from 2008, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust survey found. By comparison, wages rose 3% over that period, the study said.

Proposed Tax on Sugary Beverages Debated,” -   The New York Times

The debate over a tax on sugary soft drinks — billed as a way to fight obesity and provide billions for health care reform — is starting to fizz over.

President Obama has said it is worth considering. The chief executive of Coca-Cola calls the idea outrageous, while skeptics point to political obstacles and question how much of an impact it would really have on consumers.

Road and Rail Spending Proposals Stall as Lawmakers Punt on Revenue Fix,” - The New York Times

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate leaders agree on one thing when it comes to overhauling the national transportation strategy: They have no plans to raise taxes to pay for the reform.

Off the Hill, however, most transportation experts agree you cannot address the nation’s infrastructure without a new revenue source.

Written by Keith Forest

September 18th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

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Oakland Housing Authority creates loophole to use Section 8 funds for public housing,” - East Bay Journal

Oakland - The disposition plan for over 1,600 public housing units owned and operated by the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), signals the end of public housing as we know it if other Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) follow suit and switch to the Section 8 model being promoted by the OHA for it’s public housing program.

In a nut shell, the OHA wants to determine which of it’s small scattered public housing sites that are occupied with very low-income households, will be sold off, so that the proceeds can be used to build much larger mixed income housing projects for higher income residents, like the Hope Vl mixed income housing projects that have displaced the poor all across the nation.

Road and Rail Spending Proposals Stall as Lawmakers Punt on Revenue Fix,” - The New York Times

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate leaders agree on one thing when it comes to overhauling the national transportation strategy: They have no plans to raise taxes to pay for the reform.

Off the Hill, however, most transportation experts agree you cannot address the nation’s infrastructure without a new revenue source.

Outside the Superstar Spotlight, Minorities Struggle With Obesity,” - Washington Post

As any sports fan knows, this time of year is like Christmas in September. The NFL season is about to start, and the speed, power and grace of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is on display. The U.S. Open is in full swing, with Serena Williams tearing through the field as usual. Baseball is heading toward the playoffs; the superhuman Albert Pujols has a shot at the Triple Crown. The majestic Michael Jordan was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame and it won’t be long before Kobe and LeBron are back on the floor.

Yet here is the irony I couldn’t escape as I sat in front of my television last week, taking it all in: The overall fitness level of the minority groups those superstars represent is appalling. By any measure that matters, blacks and Hispanics are in worse shape than whites — who, of course, are firmly in the grip of the obesity epidemic themselves.

Written by Keith Forest

September 15th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

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Slums of Suburbia,” - Newsweek
Sorting through the rubble of California’s foreclosure tsunami.

John Cowgill is standing in the rain on quiet Victory Avenue in Manteca, Calif., a gridlike town of 65,000 people located just outside of Stockton. A realtor with PMZ, the biggest real-estate firm in the northern San Joaquin Valley, he is responsible for the vacant and vandalized house standing behind him; inside, grafitti covers the walls, the banister is torn off a staircase, and glass shards from a broken chandelier peak out from the carpeting. Blocks away, the road comes to an abrupt end as rows of neatly planted crops replace rows of houses.

“Look at this house and the one over there. What’s different?” Cowgill asks. At one house, the lawn is neatly trimmed and a small purple bicycle leans near the front door. At the other house, black iron bars are affixed to the door, a sight more commonly associated with the heart of the inner city than the outskirts of suburbia. Nearby, a rusty sports car sits in the driveway. “Manteca was a desirable place to live,” he explains. “But this Wild West financing meant anybody could end up here. That’s what this thing did. It scrambled communities.”

Unhealthy glut of options: Fast food dominates eating choices in vulnerable Brooklyn neighborhoods,” - The New York Daily News

In Brooklyn, you are where you eat.

Close to 60% of the borough is overweight or obese, according to recent state Health Department data.

Cutbacks pinch homeless programs,” - USA TODAY

The homeless are having more trouble getting help because of state budget cuts, and federal stimulus funding in September will fill only part of the gap, service providers for the homeless say.

“It’s a perfect storm” of falling revenue and rising need, says Joel John Roberts of PATH Partners, a group that advises communities on services for the homeless. “The holes in the safety net are getting bigger.”

Written by Keith Forest

August 25th, 2009 at 8:53 pm

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NYC aids homeless with tickets home,” - The New York Times
City is struggling to keep families out of expensive shelter system

NEW YORK - They are flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).

They are not executives on business trips or couples on honeymoons. Rather, all are families who have ended up homeless, and all the plane tickets are courtesy of the city of New York (one-way).

 ”Americans have tools to reverse obesity trend, conference told,” - Los Angeles Times
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urges adoption of ‘obesity strategies,’ focusing on healthy foods and activity.

Reporting from Washington — There’s good and bad news when it comes to American obesity, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday at an event addressing the nation’s increasingly costly and deadly weight problem.

The inaugural conference on obesity control and prevention — attended by health educators, policy analysts, epidemiologists and dietitians, among others, and sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — comes at a time when the average American carries an extra 23 pounds and the nation, collectively, is about 4.6 billion pounds overweight.

Recession Probably Will Leave Kids Worse Off,” - Washington Post
Casey Study Looks at Health, Well-Being

Even before the recession, the health and well-being of a significant number of American children were growing worse, according to an authoritative report issued Tuesday.

The Kids Count assessment by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an advocacy group that funds programs designed to help disadvantaged children and families, concluded that their situation changed only modestly during the boom years of this decade and by some measures declined.

Written by Keith Forest

July 30th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

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Tips can help the poor bridge grocery gap,” - The Fresno Bee
Ways to make life’s staples affordable

Maria Valencia of Strathmore stands in a long line twice a month to get free fruits and vegetables. Then she packs them in a baby stroller and rolls them to her home several blocks away.

The produce giveaway by FoodLink, a nonprofit food bank in Tulare County, is one of the ways organizations are trying to bridge the grocery gap for thousands of low-income people in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Cost of treating obese patients soars to $147 billion,” -  USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Obese Americans — those who are 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight — cost the country an estimated $147 billion in weight-related medical bills in 2008, double what it was a decade ago, a new study shows.

Overall, an obese patient has $4,871 in medical bills a year compared with $3,442 for a patient at a healthy weight.

 ”House OKs money for rail, infrastructure bank,” - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - High-speed rail projects would receive a $2 billion boost under a bill passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday that also lays the groundwork for a national infrastructure bank.

By a vote of 256-168, the House approved $68.8 billion for transportation and housing projects for the fiscal year starting October 1, a 25 percent increase over 2009 funding levels.

Written by Keith Forest

July 28th, 2009 at 9:14 pm

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Mayor wants to help Oakland food system,” - Oakland Tribune

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums remembers growing up in West Oakland, where there were three fresh-meat markets in the area. These days, the only area grocery store is the recently opened Mandela Foods Cooperative.

Dellums hopes to change that with the help of the Oakland Food Policy Council, something he discussed Thursday at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service West Coast summit at the Hilton Oakland Airport. The summit, hosted by Roots of Change, focused on how to improve healthy-food access and nutrition for low-income communities.

Jobless finding new work on farms ,” - USA TODAY

Unemployed workers are seeking jobs in fruit orchards and vegetable fields, easing farm labor shortages in the process.

Farmers who struggled in recent years to find laborers report that former workers who left for higher-paying jobs in industries such as construction are coming back because of layoffs.

Tragedy inspires Georgia woman to fight childhood obesity,” – CNN

ALBANY, Georgia (CNN) — Pamela Green-Jackson didn’t learn until after her brother’s funeral that doctors had warned him his weight could cost him his life.

Pamela Green-Jackson encourages a student in the Youth Becoming Healthy program.

Written by Keith Forest

July 10th, 2009 at 8:12 pm