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Anti-smoking law would save lives, money, study says

June 22, 2010
A law to require insurance companies to cover smoking cessation services at no out-of-pocket cost to consumers would improve public health and the economy at a cost of less than $1 a month for each person covered by insurance, according to an independent analysis of the proposal.

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Stem cell agency budget grows amid cutbacks elsewhere

June 21, 2010
David Jensen's California Stem Cell Report always does a good job staying abreast of the latest news at the agency voters created when they approved a $3 billion bond measure in 2004. But he's been all over the agency in the past week, posting items on connections between the bond measure campaign's supporters and recent grants, on the agency's fast-growing budget and on the barring of two academics from a recent agency session. See his work here.

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US Census is biggest source of new hiring in California

June 18, 2010
California unemployment dropped a tick in May to 12.4 percent from a revised 12.5 percent in April, even as thousands of people entered the workforce. But most of the new jobs created in the state the past two months have come from one source: the federal government's census. Private sector employment is stagnant, and construction, trade, transportation, finance, education and health care all reported job losses in May.

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Education levels, health coverage, linked in new study

June 18, 2010
California women without a high school diploma are nearly four times more likely to be uninsured as women with a college degree, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Four in ten women without a high school diploma were uninsured in 2007, compared to 11 percent of women who have graduated from college.

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Consumer group suggests robust insurance exchange

June 16, 2010
A leading consumer group is pushing the Legislature to take full advantage of flexibility in the new federal health reform that that allows the state to establish an insurance pool for individuals and small businesses. In a report released today, CalPIRG calls the insurance exchange a "game-changer" that will give small purchasers of health insurance the same clout in the marketplace long enjoyed by large employers and institutions -- but only if the Legislature designs it right.

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Assembly approves bill to expand coverage for people with pre-existing conditions

June 14, 2010
California lawmakers have taken the first steps toward putting in place a part of the federal health reform designed to make it easier for people with previous medical conditions to buy insurance. The Assembly on Monday passed AB 1887, by Assemblyman Mike Villines, which will make California eligible for about $760 million in federal money over the next three and a half years to manage an insurance pool for high-risk consumers and subsidize their coverage.

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The link between urban design and health

June 11, 2010
Health policy, Dr. Richard Jackson says, is about more than medical care. It is about farm policy. Transportation. Housing. And so much more. Because how healthy we are is determined largely by where and how we live. Jackson, a professor of Environmental Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health and the former state health officer for California, is an expert on the connections between urban design and health. He was the lead speaker at a conference in Sacramento last month that brought together environmentalists, planners, physicians and developers to share ideas and look for common ground on issues connecting the urban environment and health.

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Show the Legislature how to balance the budget

June 10, 2010
Next 10, a nonprofit based in the Silicon Valley, does a great job with its online Budget Challenge, which allows anyone to try their hand at balancing the state budget. The challenge offers a variety of cuts and tax increases and explains the background and context of each. Give it a shot and see how well you do at erasing the state's $19 billion shortfall. You can find the challenge here.

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Republican nominees want to undo federal health bill

June 9, 2010
Independent opinion polls show that a majority of Californians back federal health reform, but Tuesday's primary election results will put those surveys to the test this fall. The two business executives Republicans nominated for governor and U.S. Senate both oppose the federal bill and have vowed to try to undo it.

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Urban Land Institute calls for streamlining of California Environmental law

June 8, 2010
California's landmark environmental protection law represents a barrier to building more compact, transit-friendly communities that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute.

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