What do Wisconsin farmers and New York freelancers have in common?

Both groups have figured out that you can band together for lower-cost health insurance.

Because of a new plan funded with seed money from the federal government, Wisconsin's farmers for the first time have access to group-rate health insurance. From where we stand, the model (called "unique" by an...

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Bloomberg calls for new emphasis on preventive care

Last week, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out about what he sees as the problem with the health care system: it manages disease, rather than emphasizing prevention. In his speech at the National Health Policy Conference (available online as a video and a transcript), Mayor Bloomberg mentioned that New York...

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Wal-Mart & SEIU promote universal coverage

Today, Wal-Mart and the Service Employees International Union announced that they'll be jointly promoting universal health care. The partnership is a public relations coup, especially for Wal-Mart, which has been the target of much criticism by labor organizations. We'll be keeping a close eye on this venture, and...

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NYC comptroller: Number of freelancers grows

According to a new report from the city comptroller, there's been tremendous job growth in New York City--most of it among the self-employed. The Post reports on the study, noting that the total number, not just percentage, of payroll workers in the city has actually dropped since 1969. The...

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Unemployment insurance: For employees only?

The unemployment system is meant to help people when work is scarce (and to help the economy by allowing consumers to maintain spending). But the program usually shuts out independent workers, despite the fact that freelancers, part-timers, and contract workers are often among the first to feel the pinch when...

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First Massachusetts, now California

Unless you're on a media fast, you'll have heard by now that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a plan for universal health care in the state of California. The real headline is buried, though: California is about to become a guarantee-issue state. (This is the case currently in...

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Mass. health care model to spread?

Today's Boston Globe highlights the recent interest other states have shown in Massachusetts's new health plan. For those who aren't familiar with the proposal, in 2007 the state will require all residents to have health coverage, whether through an employer, by qualifying for Medicaid, or by purchasing...

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Results from the Citizens' Health Care Working Group

''Employer-based coverage is melting away like a Popsicle on the sidewalk in August."
-Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Senators Wyden and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have a proposal for universal health coverage by 2012. The new plan would eventually detach health insurance entirely from the employer-employee relationship. Ultimately, employers would pay into...

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Good news for songwriters in ’07

We were looking at Jeff Schnepper's tips for cutting your 2006 taxes (standard-but-good advice on increasing your tax-exempt expenses this month), when we came upon this nugget about the new tax code for next year:

The sale of music you wrote or the copyright to that music will be...

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High premiums, middle incomes, and low rates of insurance

56% of Americans who can't afford health insurance make too much for public programs, according to a new report from Health Affairs (via Kaiser Network). This is the forgotten middle class. The study doesn't track specifically how many of these people are independent workers, but we'd bet...

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