With Employer Health System Fraying, ACA Is More Important Than Ever

Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) are out today with an interactive map showing how the 50 states stack up when it comes to employer-sponsored health insurance. With the nation’s employer-based health insurance system fraying rapidly in the past decade, the findings highlight just how important the Affordable Care Act is to many Americans.

Cut to Federal Food Aid Impacts Families and Children in Every PA County

A major funding cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) took effect November 1, impacting 1.8 million Pennsylvanians.

SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger and a powerful tool to help keep families out of poverty. Benefits are modest, offering many Pennsylvania families a crucial bridge in this slow economic recovery.

Webinar: Latest on Healthy PA, Medicaid Expansion, and Health Insurance Marketplace

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Governor Tom Corbett has proposed the Healthy PA plan, which would take up an option under the Affordable Care Act to expand health coverage for low-income Pennsylvanians along with benefit cuts and other changes to the state's Medicaid program.

Watch the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center's latest webinar to learn more about the Governor's Healthy PA plan, what's at stake for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, and the latest on the Health Insurance Marketplace in Pennsylvania. Get more resources from the webinar, including a PDF of the presentation.

In Case You Missed It: Minimum Wage, Ohio Expands Medicaid, Shale Jobs, Property Taxes, and More

In recent weeks, we blogged about the jobs impact of raising the state's minimum wage, Ohio moving forward with the Medicaid expansion, industry claims about Marcellus Shale job growth in Pennsylvania, the problem with "one-size-fits-all" business rankings, what's at stake for schools in property tax elimination proposals, and more.


  • On the minimum wage, Steve Herzenberg wrote about the positive economic impacts of raising the minimum wage and a 2010 study that found "no adverse employment effects" from minimum wage increases in multiple states.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about Ohio moving forward with the expansion of Medicaid health coverage under the Affordable Care Act and that Pennsylvania should do the same.
  • On the Marcellus Shale and the economy, Steve Herzenberg broke down the latest industry claims about the impact shale drilling has had on Pennsylvania job growth.
  • On state tax issues, Michael Wood shared a recent news analysis that concluded "one-size-fits-all" business rankings, like those done by the Tax Foundation, are not put together with the states' best interests in mind.
  • On higher education, Steve Herzenberg outlined how we can avoid a future in which a majority of higher education faculty earn less than a quality wage.
  • Finally, Chris Lilienthal share this whiteboard video explaining that the future of Pennsylvania schools — and the quality of education every child receives — is at stake in the debate over a property tax elimination proposal.





Just the Stories ... Debating the Commonwealth Foundation on Minimum Wage

"Just the Facts" is a catchphrase the Keystone Research Center and other progressive economic think tanks use to capture our commitment to grounding advocacy for progressive values and policies in solid data and research.

'One-Size-Fits-All' Business Tax Rankings Don't Have PA's Best Interests in Mind

We often see in the news state rankings of business climate that vary widely depending on who is doing the ranking. As Billy Hamilton writes in Monday's State Tax Notes (subscription required), these rankings often have much more to do with the low and no tax preferences of the list writers, like the Tax Foundation, than taking a real look at what's happening in the states:

Video: Don’t Let Property Tax Plan Derail PA Schools

The future of Pennsylvania schools — and the quality of education every child receives — is at stake in a property tax proposal in Harrisburg.

The plan to swap property taxes for higher state levies will drain billions from Pennsylvania classrooms within a few years. Over time, it increases funding inequities across districts and makes it harder for future graduates to compete in a 21st century job market.

There is a better way. Watch our new whiteboard video to see how we can strengthen our schools, make funding more equitable, and address property tax concerns. Then share the video with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Death of an Adjunct

Appearing last week on a radio program in Pittsburgh with labor historian Charles McCollester, I heard for the first time the story of Margaret Mary Vojtko, a 25-year adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University who died recently in poverty at the age of 83.

More Fun With Shale Jobs Numbers

Last week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition trumpeted a new claim on the shale drilling industry's positive impact on Pennsylvania jobs:

Raymond James analysts crunched the numbers, and between 2005 and 2012 almost 90 percent of the job growth in Pennsylvania at that time came from oil and gas jobs ... That’s the highest percentage of any state, according to analysts Pavel Molchanov and J. Marshall Adkins, who based the math off data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As meaningless statistics go, this is one of the more meaningless.

Ohio Moves Forward with Medicaid Expansion

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Ohio has decided to move forward with an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. From The New York Times:

With Monday’s vote, Ohio became the 25th state plus the District of Columbia to expand Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Nearly a dozen Republican governors have moved to do so, despite the efforts of Congressional Republicans to “defund” the health care law.

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