I’m going to go out on a limb here in suggesting that the nitty gritty of the Affordable Care Act may not be the most exciting topic of conversation. But now, even as the government settles into shutdown mode, state insurance exchanges across the country are opening their virtual doors for business, offering a healthcare marketplace to the million of uninsured Americans. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation produced this series of short animated explainers on some of the central components of the law and the programs it establishes. These are concepts that get thrown around a lot in the news but are pretty hard to grasp. So take a look (and just maybe, you’ll be the hit of the cocktail party). Also, check out KQED’s comprehensive interactive Obamacare guide to explore the topic in greater depth.
A look at the complex patchwork of people and programs that make California unique
Depends whom you ask (real helpful, huh?).
On the one hand, the state has significantly reduced its prison population since realignment went into effect last October. At the end of September 2011, there were 144,456 inmates in the state’s 33 prisons, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. (Note: that does not represent California’s total prison population, which also includes prisoners in in-state and out-of-state private facilities, and those in work camps).
California’s 33 prisons are designed to hold about 80,000 prisoners (based on one inmate/cell). So at the start of realignment, the prisons were at about 180% overcapacity. Continue reading
Click on each marker for undergraduate cost and debt information. California State University’s 23 undergraduate campuses are in blue. University of California’s nine campuses (excluding UCSF) are in red.
Sources: The California State University; University of California; Collegedata.com
The cost of knowledge at California’s public universities ain’t what it used to be.
In the week since the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling upholding key parts of President Obama’s health care law (“Obamacare”) – namely, the individual mandate that everyone buy insurance - Americans have been inundated by an endless deluge of analysis and commentary. Making sense of it all is challenging, so here are 10 good resources that help connect the dots. Continue reading
“These state parks are our cathedrals. This is what defines us as Californians to the rest of the world. But they are not cheap to run. And so I think Californians need to decide whether it’s worth it to them to save these parks … I think it begs a much deeper question of what we value as Californians.”
- Ruth Coleman, California state parks director
California has a lot of state parks. 278 to be exact – more than any other state in the U.S. Some are tiny specks on the map – mini historic sites that you may have driven by without even noticing. Others are vast swaths of land – thousands of preserved acres of old growth forest, sweeping vistas, pristine beaches. Size and stature aside, each has it’s own significance, and the majority were spearheaded as a result of citizen-led campaigns to make the land public and accessible to anyone who wanted to visit. Continue reading
California’s prisons are old, crumbling, and packed to the gills with inmates. The inmate population exploded in the late 1980s and 90s. It rose almost 900 percent over three decades and reached an all-time high in 2006, with more than 172,000 inmates behind bars. During that same period, the state almost tripled the number of prison facilities: Continue reading
California’s charter school industry is booming. Even as school districts reel from punishing budget cuts and school shutdowns, new charters are sprouting in every corner of the state: just this year, a hundred schools opened for business. There are now 982 of them in California, the most in the country by far, Continue reading
In the 1960’s Congress began enacting a series of civil rights laws intended to (among other things) protect certain classes of home-buyers or renters from discriminatory housing practices, and to help increase the supply and access of housing for lower income and underrepresented populations. Continue reading
Putting a roof over your head in the Golden State doesn’t come cheap. Even with the second-highest unemployment rate in the country (after Nevada) and one of the highest rates of home foreclosures, California still remains among the most expensive states in the country to live in. The median home value here is 1.8 times the national average.
and the HUD-defined fair-market rate for a modest two-bedroom unit plus utilities is about $1,360 (compared to $960 nationally). The state has six of the top 10 most expensive home-buying markets in the country and five of the top 10 rental markets. Continue reading