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Senate passes single-payer bill

January 28, 2010

On a party-line vote, the state Senate passed a measure to create a government-run health care system in California. The bill has no chance of becoming law this year but the measure’s author, Sen. Mark Leno, and Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg said they hoped it would spur serious debate. Photo by Kelly B. Huston.

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California loses 38,800 jobs

January 27, 2010

California released its employment report for December today, and the news was not good. The state lost a net of 38,000 more jobs at a time when some economists and state officials had hoped the economy and unemployment had bottomed out. Christopher Thornberg and Jon Haveman at Beacon Economics provide a monthly analysis of the employment report that I’ve always found helpful. Here is their synopsis.

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Poll: half support higher taxes for health

January 27, 2010

About half of Californians would support raising taxes to protect health and human service programs from budget cuts, according to a new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California. The same share of the population would support higher taxes for higher education, while even more people (66%) would raises taxes to help the schools.

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Prisons versus higher ed

January 26, 2010

The Legislative Analyst’s Office gives two thumbs down to the governor’s proposal for a constitutional amendment that would require the state to spend more on universities than prisons. Why? The office says legislators and the governor can switch spending priorities now if they have the will to do so, and it would be unwise to lock more spending formulas — and less flexibility — into the constitution.

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Fresno Voices

January 22, 2010

Fresno youth are capturing their neighborhoods in photos and writing short essays describing what they see. We’ll be featuring several of these photo essays in this space. See Arena Phapilom’s essay in the Community Report.

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Court lifts limits on medical marijuana

January 22, 2010

The state Supreme Court says the Legislature cannot limit the amount of medical marijuana grown or possessed by California residents. In a unanimous opinion, the court struck down limits in a 2003 law that amended Proposition 215, the voter-passed initiative that gave the state its medical marijuana law.

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Living with the sound of gunfire

January 21, 2010

Gunfire is so common in Richmond, Calif., that residents of neighborhoods like the Iron Triangle no longer call 911 at the sound of shots fired, according to the city’s police department. In response, earlier this year, the city installed the ShotSpotter system. The sensors detect and pinpoint gunfire fired to a specific address, and call police to the scene less than a minute after shots are fired.

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Report: IHSS not a cost-saver

January 21, 2010

The fastest-growing major social program in state government — In-Home Supportive Services — does not save the state and county governments more than it costs by keeping people out of nursing homes, the Legislative Analyst concludes in a new report. The LAO recommends an overhaul that would focus the in-home services on those who are most likely to end up in institutions without the assistance in their homes.

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Something in the air

January 20, 2010

Ryan Nicole Peters is an Oakland spoken-word artist, youth counselor and aspiring politician. An idealistic young woman who wants to be a politician in these cynical times? Find out why in this video profile by HealthyCal contributor Martin Ricard.

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Answer the phone, see your patients

January 20, 2010

After eight years of study, California’s HMO Czar has finally adopted regs designed to push doctors to answer their phones and see patients on a timely basis. Sounds good, but how will that work in practice?

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