By Cheryl Leanza
Progressive States Network
Sometimes states operate against stereotype, and this legislative session is no exception. In contrast to a forward-thinking bill put forward in West Virginia earlier this year, which would have forward explicitly granted authority over high speed broadband Internet services, it seems the typically consumer-friendly and technologically savvy California legislature is considering moving in the opposite direction, taking up a policy proposed by the ultra-right wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and that ALEC endorsed when it was under consideration in New York State.
By Kathleen Clanon, MD
With the Supreme Court ruling largely upholding the Affordable Care Act, the legal battle over health care reform may be over, but the political debate is only getting started this election year.
Despite the contentious politics surrounding health care reform, everyone agrees that our country’s health care system is too expensive and leaves too many people falling through the cracks—getting sick, dying earlier, and going bankrupt for lack of access to medical care and insurance.
In the two years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, California and many of its counties have moved ahead with major changes to expand health care coverage and improve the way patients receive care.
By Nan Wishner, California Environmental Health Initiative, Debbie Friedman, MOMS Advocating Sustainability, Jack Milton, Stop West Nile Spraying Now
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced last week that it had already begun spraying Fair Oaks yards with pesticides that cause cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, and nervous system damage in an “emergency” bid to “eradicate” a beetle that has been turning up in the same neighborhood for nearly 30 years.
In a chilling preview of what will become standard procedure if CDFA’s “Statewide Pest Plant Environmental Impact Report” (Pest PEIR) is completed and approved, the agency’s press release reports that CDFA began spraying for the Japanese beetle even before the virtually unpublicized “community information” meeting about the treatments was held last Wednesday and before any information about this summer’s treatments was posted on the CDFA website.
By David Dayen
Pressured by a coalition of activists and state Attorney General Kamala Harris, the California legislature completed a months-long project yesterday to significantly improve its foreclosure process. The measure gives homeowners a new right to sue over fraudulent practices, ends dual tracking – where servicers process foreclosures while negotiating loan modifications – and extends a single point of contact at all borrowers. The state Assembly passed the companion bills by 53-25, with the Senate passing by 25-13.
By Steven P. Wallace
New America Media
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that validated the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a tremendous victory for all Americans, especially the sick and uninsured.
The court received a pat on the back by many community health advocates for allowing the nation to move forward in trying to provide health insurance to all Americans, but it did so while delivering a less noticed kick in the shins to health care reform’s promise for lower-income Americans—particularly those from ethnic or racial communities.
The issue for them is the expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor. At least half of the increased health insurance coverage promised by ACA is projected to come from this expansion.
By Brian Leubitz
In 1980, Ronald Reagan spent $29.2mil to win the presidency. The incumbent, Jimmy Carter, spent $29.4mil to lose it.
In 2012, with the nominating convention still two months away, Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate with ambiguous goals has committed, so far, over $35mil to ensure that his voice is millions of times larger than any single everyday voter. Just a few days ago, Adelson committed another $10mil at the Koch Brothers luxury convention. No matter how committed the volunteer, no matter how many phone calls they make, no matter how many doors they knock, no single volunteer will ever approach the impact that Sheldon Adelson will have simply by writing a check.
By Anthony Wright
In responding to press inquiries today over the Supreme Court decision, there was some questions and confusion over the Medicaid part--and particularly how the ruling narrows what the federal government could do to get states to do the Medicaid expansion.
Leading up to the decision, the Medicaid challenge got far less attention that the issue of the individual mandate, and for good reason--the Medicaid expansion was upheld in all 11 lower courts and all 5 appeals courts. It was a shock that the Court even heard the arguments.
The new law says that states should have their Medicaid programs include not just low-income children, parents, seniors and people with disabilities--but also adults without children at home. In California, that's potentially two million more in Medi-Cal.
By Richard Holober
Consumer Federation of California
California lawmakers are poised to weaken a patient privacy law despite its overwhelming voter support.
AB 439 (Skinner) is before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a vote on Tuesday July 3. The bill would create loopholes in the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA), placing patients at risk of repeated unauthorized release of confidential health information on a massive scale.
Assembly member Skinner is carrying the bill for McKesson Corporation, a healthcare business that ranks 15th on the Fortune 500 list. McKesson, a distributor of pharmaceuticals and manager of healthcare information systems, reported revenues of $122 billion in its 2012 Annual Report. Drug store chains, hospitals and other health care corporations are also supporting AB 439.
By Peter Schrag
The movie “California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown,” which has been making the rounds of public TV channels, is a tender blend between a family memoir and a nostalgic look at a more hopeful era in California history. At times it makes you want to weep for what we once had and will probably never have again.
The producers, Hilary Armstrong and Sascha Rice, granddaughters of the man who was governor from 1958 to 1966, weren’t troubled by the mix of the personal and the political, much of it in the form of old film clips. And in some ways the past forty years have been a sort of family history: two governors Brown, a treasurer Brown who also ran for governor, plus the half dozen lesser public offices those Browns held.
Much of the movie’s history is familiar. Pat Brown, as much as any individual, was the builder of modern California:
By Noah Garrison
Natural Resources Defense Council
America’s beaches saw the third-highest number of closing and advisory days in more than two decades last year, with 5,945 closing and advisory days in California—25 percent of the national total—confirming California beaches continue to suffer from stormwater runoff and sewage pollution that can make people sick and harm coastal economies, according to the 22nd annual beachwater quality report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Our beaches are plagued by a sobering legacy of water pollution. Luckily, much of this filth is preventable and we can turn the tide against water pollution. By establishing better beachwater quality standards and putting untapped 21st century solutions in place – we can make a day at the beach as carefree as it should be, and safeguard California’s vital tourism industry.