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4:42pm
Fri Mar 28, 2014

GUEST POST: The Affordable Care Act – Four Steps Forward for Women’s Health

The following was written by U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) and University of Maine Professor Amy Fried.

March 31st marks the end of the first open enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act – and also the end of Women’s History Month.  It’s a fitting coincidence because the Affordable Care Act is a historic step forward for America’s women. Actually, at least four steps forward.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:19pm
Mon Mar 24, 2014

Report: Pending SCOTUS Ruling Could Shake Movement To Unionize In-Home Workers

A pending decision by the U.S. Supreme Court could have big ramifications for the ability of home-based child care workers to organize.

The outcome of the Harris v. Quinn case would particularly impact home-based child care workers that receive state funding, affecting how and if they are able to effectively unionize and collectively bargain, argues a new report by the Washington, DC-based National Women’s Law Center.

The report offers a snapshot of the growing national movement to unionize in-home child care providers, who are overwhelmingly female, are often paid low wages and usually do not get benefits. Home-based child care workers at publicly-funded operations in 14 states, including Illinois, have won the right to organize and negotiate with states. That's up from just seven states in 2007, when the law center issued its first report on the issue. 

More recently, home-based child care providers who receive state funding in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island won organizing and bargaining rights. But in places like Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin, home-based child care workers have seen their authority to organize and negotiate with their respective states revoked over the past few years.

The report noted that the push to unionize home-based child care providers has faced increased opposition, mostly related to the broader anti-union movement.

"It's not as though what we're seeing is something specific to this group of providers, but rather much more conservative legislatures and governors taking office and pushing legislation that would curtail the rights of unions, both in the private and public sector in some cases," explained Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the National Women's Law Center.

And the Supreme Court's pending ruling in the Pamela Harris v. Pat Quinn case, which centers around home-based health care aides in Illinois, could potentially mean another major setback for in-home child care providers as well as other home care workers.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:42pm
Fri Feb 28, 2014

Policy Experts Provide Insight On Obstacles & Solutions To Redistricting Reform

The national “partisan arms race” that comes with the redistricting process is a leading obstacle for those who want to see states reform the way electoral district boundaries are drawn, said panelists at a redistricting reform discussion at the University of Chicago. Progress Illinois provides some of the highlights from the panel discussion.

PI Original
by Aricka Flowers
8:07pm
Tue Jan 28, 2014

LIVE BLOG: State Of The Union Address 2014

As President Barack Obama gives his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday night, we will provide you with the highlights from the president's speech.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:10pm
Tue Oct 22, 2013

Consumer Advocates Want An End To Prescription Drug ‘Pay-For-Delay’ Deals

People in Illinois with various medical conditions have had to fork over 10 times more on average than what’s necessary for at least 20 brand name drugs, according to a report from Illinois PIRG and Community Catalyst.

Costs for these 20 drugs, including Lipitor and Cipro, were kept high, because brand name pharmaceutical companies paid generic makers to keep cheaper versions off the market for a time. These agreements are known as “pay for delay.”

“It’s outrageous that drug companies are paying off the competition to keep prices high,” said Illinois PIRG State Director Brian Imus in a statement. “Because of this, people in Illinois pay inflated drug prices, or go without necessary medication. This needs to stop.”

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