77% of Americans want major health reforms. Plus: childcare in the recession, pay for state workers and a bit on economics

December 23, 2008 | Alex Stone

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report: A majority of U.S. adults believe that President-elect Barack Obama should make major reforms to the health care system, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News Poll, the Post reports (Cohen/Agiesta, Washington Post, 12/21). The poll, conducted by telephone between Dec. 11 and Dec. 14, included responses from a random sample of 1,003 adults. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Stimulating Child Care: The economic crisis is hitting early childhood care and education programs, too. Parents who’ve lost their jobs are pulling their children out of preschool and child care programs. Child care centers in hard-hit areas are struggling to stay afloat amid growing vacancies, threatening the care other families need to stay in the workforce. Even worse, some financially strapped families, faced with choosing between child care and other essential bills, are choosing to leave their young children home alone while they work–a situation that puts little ones in considerable danger. And states face budget shortfalls that could lead to cuts in child care funds.

Raises, benefits for state workers ($453 million) ‘not feasible’: Here’s the rationale for Gov. Chris Gregoire’s decision not to include a request for money to give raises and fringe benefits to state agency, college and other quasi-state employees in the budget she sent to the Legislature last week.

Recession/Depression: What’s the difference between a recession and a depression? In Econ 101, economics profs. probably still use the corny joke  “A recession is when you’re unemployed. A depression is when I’m unemployed.” In terms of an official definition of depression, there isn’t one. After the “Great” one, economists and politicians were loath to use the word.  Generally speaking, a depression is merely a severe and prolonged recession – something the incoming Obama administration is clearly trying to stave off.

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Posted in Health Care, State Economy, Tax and Budget, Work & Family

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