Monthly Archives: October 2008

Anchorage Citizen's Coalition Critical of New Freeway

Municipality of Anchorage

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It is a health hazard

While proclaiming the benefits of building a freeway connecting the Glenn and New Seward Highways, officials are not acknowledging the health threats to people who would live near the proposed highway.

In 2005, local air quality officials studied how constructing all proposed projects in Anchorage’s Long Range Transportation Plan would affect air quality. They found that while carbon monoxide levels would drop citywide due to cleaner engines, two square kilometers of Fairview would experience increases in carbon monoxide[1]. Increases came from expected doubling of the traffic along the Gambell-Ingra corridor after construction of the Glenn-Seward Highway connection. Coarse particle pollution from roadway silt is also expected to rise along the new highway connection.

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Commonwealth Fund Compares Candidate Health Plans

The following is the executive summary of a longer analysis of Obama’s and McCain’s health plans. The analysis was conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, a widely respected foundation that analyzes national and international health plans. The full report is available on their website.


With the 2008 presidential election just weeks away, health care reform is at the top of the nation’s domestic policy agenda. The soaring costs of health care, along with a faltering economy and lackluster wage growth, are leaving many working families without insurance or with medical expenses that consume a large share of their incomes. A recent Commonwealth Fund study found that nearly two-thirds of working-age adults—an estimated 116 million people—either were uninsured for a time during 2007, were insured but had such high medical costs compared with their incomes that they were underinsured, reported a problem paying medical bills, or did not get needed care because of its cost. Over the past seven years, such problems have crept up the income scale among people with and without health insurance. Consequently, voters are calling for change: eight of 10 adults said in a May survey that the health care system is in need of a major overhaul or fundamental reform. Read the rest of this entry

Economic Crisis: Where to find Information – Part II

Elaborate marble facade of NYSE as seen from t...

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The Center for Economic Policy (CEPR) – The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

Toward this end, CEPR conducts both professional research and public education. The professional research is oriented towards filling important gaps in the understanding of particular economic and social problems, or the impact of specific policies. The public education portion of CEPR’s mission is to present the findings of professional research, both by CEPR and others, in a manner that allows broad segments of the public to know exactly what is at stake in major policy debates. An informed public should be able to choose policies that lead to an improving quality of life, both for people within the United States and around the world. Read the rest of this entry

The Economic Crisis: Where to Find Information

By now it is indisputable that we are headed for difficult financial times around the world for low- and medium-income families.  Alaska, of course, is tied into the world economy and we will be hard hit.  I would like to just reference a few resources that I think are very good on these issues, but resources which you may not be familiar with.

Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitor is an excellent source of very serious and detailed analysis of the emerging international economic crisis.  a word of warning–this is not easy reading, but if you are patient your efforts will be rewarded. Note also that this is a huge site, so take some time to poke around.

Democracy Now! offers a one-hour video/audio broadcast five times per week, all of which are archived on their site for playback any time on your computer or as a podcast. This program features in-depth interviews of economists, legislators, and other experts about the economic crisis (as well as many other issues of importance).  Typcially the information is offered in an easy to understand manner.  Written manuscripts usually accompany each interview.

Stateside Dispatch is a twice-weekly email newsletter with a tremendous amount of information on a variety of policy issues. Recently they have had quite a few articles about the economic situation, particularly as it affects states and families.  I advise signing up for the newsletter and checking out the archives. This is a very readable and comprehensive resource.

Your comments invited!

Cost of Alaska Health Insurance Policies Increases Six Times Faster Than Wages

Private insurance makes a lot of cents for the...

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New Study By FamiliesUSA Jointly Released with Alaska Center for Public Policy

A new study by FamiliesUSA released today shows that over the past eight years (2000 through 2007), family health insurance premiums

for Alaska’s workers rose 5.7 times more quickly than average earnings. On average, health care premiums for families rose by 73.6 percent, while average earnings rose by only 13.0 percent.

For family health coverage in Alaska, the average annual premium (employer and worker share of premiums combined) rose from $7,456 to $12,942, an increase of $5,486. For family health coverage in the state, the employer’s portion of annual premiums rose from $5,484 to $9,901 (a difference of $4,416), while the worker’s portion rose from $1,972 to $3,041 (a difference of $1,069). Read the rest of this entry