Swine flu and sick days. Plus: schools do less with less, health care reform focuses on quality, and some thoughts on the legislative session

April 29, 2009 | Alex Stone

Swine flu and sick days in the news: Recent news surrounding the swine flu has highlighted the need for paid sick days for every worker. Both the CDC and the White House have encouraged sick employees to stay home from work — but this is a hollow request for 2 out of every 5 private sector workers who receive no paid sick time. In this economic downturn, people without paid sick days often cannot afford to take time off of work when they are sick. Here is a sampling of recent coverage of paid sick days, including a letter from Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. Rosa DeLauro to their colleagues urging them to pass the Healthy Families Act — which would guarantee seven paid sick days per year for every worker: Boston.com | Center for American Progress | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Letter from Sen. Kennedy and Rep. DeLauro

Doing less with less: This session was especially hard on Washington’s teachers. And now the reality of the cuts is sinking in, as school districts across the state ax thousands of teaching positions. The $800 million being cut is no longer a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ number; it translates to larger class sizes, fewer new textbooks, and less training for those who are kept on. Families of students will also be expected to pay more for sports fees, school lunch programs, and it is likely whole programs will be drastically curtailed or eliminated to rein in costs. And prospects post-graduation aren’t  rosy either – 3,000 fewer students will be admitted to state colleges and universities next year. | Everett Herald

It’s about quality, not quantity: The beginning stages of health care reform are beginning to take shape, and they could mean big changes for doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and patients. Senators are currently discussing ways to make medical providers more accountable for their quality of care – the majority are currently paid for the number of services they perform. It appears the Medicare and Medicaid programs will be used as testing grounds for early quality-based reforms, focusing on preventive care, follow-up visits and treating chronic illness. These changes would be a boon to patients and doctors alike, ensuring more efficient delivery of services and less wasteful spending on administrative costs that are of little or no help to the patient. | Associated Press

The end: The 2009 legislative session has come to a close, and according to the Washington State Labor Council there is no question about who the winners and losers are. Corporate interests won big, with permanent tax exemptions and tax cuts for big business across the state. Meanwhile, labor groups and employee interests suffered, with the legislature failing to fund family leave insurance, slashing the state health insurance program, and declining to increase unemployment benefits. | WSLC  Newsletter

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Education, Health Care, Higher Education, Paid Sick Days, State Economy, Tax and Budget, Work & Family

Leave a Reply

Search the blog

Subscribe to the blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Like what you’re reading?
Reader support helps preserve our independent voice for the middle class - please chip in to help out!