Monday, November 17, 2008

BREVITAS

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Don McCainne MD, Physicians for a National Health Program - Under [Obama's] proposal, a family of four will have to fully fund their own coverage if their income is over $84,400 (four times the poverty level). According to the 2008 Milliman Medical Index, a family of four is already paying an average of $15,600 for health care. That means that this family would be paying over 18 percent of their income for health care. Since this is average, many families would be paying a much higher percentage. Many in the policy community believe that health care expenditures over 10 percent of income expose individuals or families to the potential of financial hardship. To keep expenditures at 10 percent, a family of four with average medical expenses would require an income over $156,000. Those with above average expenses would require even greater incomes. Financing health care with private health plans no longer makes sense. We need a single universal risk pool that is funded equitably using progressive tax policies. Sen. Baucus says that he doesn't think that a single payer system makes sense in this country, but it's the only system that does.

WATCHING THE COUNT

Steven Rosenfeld, Brad Blog - The electronic voting problems in the 2008 election are broader than recently-publicized snafus such as machines not turning on, voter databases omitting names, or touch screens not properly recording votes, according to an analysis of 1,700 incident reports from the nation's largest voter hotline. Moreover, the voting machine issues and the confusion they caused among poll workers appear to have compounded the delays faced by untold thousands of voters this fall. . . The Democratic National Committee's election protection team monitoring machine issues, including the count, recorded "thousands" of incidents, a volunteer on that team said. . .

ECO CLIPS

Tree Hugger - New York City, which has been working hard to promote cycling of late, has now proposed "bicycle parking rules that could be among the toughest in the nation, requiring one secure bike parking space for every two units in new apartment buildings and one space for every 7,500 square feet in new office buildings." This comes on the heels of city-sponsored bike rack design competition, the unveiling of a new cycling master plan and several initiatives which have resulted in a rise in bicycle commuting in the Big Apple. The new proposal, if approved, would help ease one of a significant "stumbling block preventing New Yorkers from cycling to work or to perform errands": a lack of secure parking for bicycles. Both the League of American Bicyclists and Transportation Alternatives support the initiative, which would "require weather-protected, lockable bike parking spaces at apartment buildings with at least 10 units, at commercial office buildings and at stores, hospitals, universities and automobile parking garages."

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