Archives for June, 2012

More SCOTUS coverage

A special edition of Health Wonk Review collects several different perspectives on the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act decision.

One of the admirable things about the Affordable Care Act is that its greatest benefits go to those who are most disadvantaged under the current system. The Medicaid portion of the Supreme Court’s decision once again leaves the most impoverished uninsured people with uncertain health-insurance prospects.

There were few better places to hear about today’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act and its individual insurance mandate than at a meeting of the American Public Health Association.

House Republicans say ‘nay’ to new mine safety reforms, no questions left about which side they’re on

Not a single Republican member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted in support of a resolution calling for the Committee to “consider and report legislation to improve safety and whistleblower protections for miners, and increase accountability for dangerous mine operators.” The 29 families of the Upper Big Branch miners now know who is standing with them and who is against them.

Researchers challenge Labor Dept to fix its annual count of injuries, misses 70% of work-related burns

Researchers at Michigan State University offer more evidence that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual estimate of occupational injury and illnesses grossly misses the mark on the actual count of work-related health harm. How many more studies are needed before the Secretary of Labor addresses the problem?

Just a few years ago in Butte County, Calif., it wasn’t unusual for public health workers to administer more than 1,000 free HIV tests every year. In true public health fashion, they’d bring screening services to the people, setting up in neighborhoods, parks and bars, at special community events and visiting the local drug treatment facility and jail. The goal was prevention and education, and no one got turned away.

Environmental Health News’ “Pollution, Poverty, People of Color” series documents the continued struggle of the environmental justice movement in communities across the country.

Following reports of high levels of worker exposure to crystalline silica due to the extensive use of sand at hydrofracking operations, two agencies that focus on occupational health have issued a hazard alert urging employers to protect workers from this respiratory hazard.

Billion dollar mining company hasn’t paid fine for safety violations in 2010 deaths of two workers

Barrick Gold company was assessed a $447,600 civil penalty from the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration following the fatal injury incident in August 2010 that killed two workers. The multi-national corporation has yet to pay the penalty, but you wouldn’t know that reading the firm’s annual Responsibility Report.

As we’re waiting to learn whether the Affordable Care Act will survive the upcoming Supreme Court decision, it’s a good time to remember what’s at stake with the individual mandate. It’s helpful to consider the stories of two states that took different mandate paths in their attempts to make insurance affordable, with very different outcomes.