Healthcare Costs Put U.S. Workers at Disadvantage: The costs and performance of America's healthcare system are putting workers and companies at a "significant disadvantage" in the global marketplace, according to a new study by the Business Roundtable. The association of CEOs, whose member companies provide healthcare plans for more than 35 million Americans, finds that compared with people in Canada, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, Americans receive 23 percent less value from their healthcare system. When compared with emerging competitors like Brazil, India, and China, the United States receives 46 percent less value. The Business Roundtable Health Care Value Comparability Study also finds that for every dollar the United States spends on healthcare, its five leading competitors spend 63 cents, and the emerging competitors just 15 cents. The study also notes that "on the whole, our workforce is not as healthy" as that of either group of competitors.
Healthcare Journalism Shrinking: At a time when the federal government is poised to reform the nation's healthcare system, the number of reporters who cover healthcare is on the decline. A survey of healthcare journalists by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 94 percent believe financial pressures at organizations they work for is hurting the quality of healthcare reporting, 40 percent say the number of healthcare reporters where they work has declined, 88 percent think coverage overly favors short stories, 52 percent believe there is too much coverage of lifestyle health stories, and 11 percent say their organization had allowed advertisers to influence story selection or content. Drew Altman, president of the nonprofit foundation that studies health issues, says it's "critical that our country continues to produce the best possible health journalism during this important period."
Americans Optimistic About Future: Despite the current economic crisis and recession, Americans remain optimistic about the future. According to a poll conducted for the Pew Charitable Trusts' Economic Mobility Project, nearly 80 percent of Americans believe it is possible to improve their economic standing and are optimistic that the economic situation for their family will improve in years to come. African-Americans were the most optimistic, with 85 percent believing their economic situation will be better in 10 years, compared with 77 percent of Hispanics and 71 percent of whites. Whites were most pessimistic when asked about their children's chances of moving up the economic ladder, with 54 percent saying their children would have a harder time compared with 41 percent of Hispanics and 34 percent of African-Americans.
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