ISSUE 66 | June 12, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Wolf to appoint watchdog, establish commission to oversee State Police
Following weeks of nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice, Governor Tom Wolf will take executive action to appoint a watchdog and establish an oversight commission to improve equity in law enforcement.

The state legislature is considering further reforms regarding the training and accountability of police.

PA DOH orders measures to protect hospital staff and patients
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has ordered that all hospitals licensed by the department must implement several measures to protect staff and patients from COVID-19.

These measures include requirements:

  • that all patients and visitors wear masks

  • that hospital staff be provided personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • that testing be available to hospital staff who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients

Many healthcare workers continue to report PPE shortages.

Wolf orders COVID-19 testing for all nursing home residents and employees
Governor Tom Wolf’s administration has announced that Pennsylvania’s nursing homes are required to complete COVID-19 testing for all residents and employees by July 24.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine stated that the goal of this universal testing is to quickly detect cases of COVID-19 and prevent further transmission. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Report addresses inequities in access to important data used to drive community change
A new report from the Urban Institute addresses the importance of data for understanding and addressing societal issues like poverty and barriers to economic mobility.

Although communities are increasingly interested in using data for these purposes, the capacity to do so is not equitable across all groups.

According to the report’s authors, low-income populations and people of color are frequently excluded from decisions about how to collect and analyze data.

Three principles for an anti-racist, equitable response to COVID-19 — and a stronger recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately harmed people of color throughout the United States.

A recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities identifies three principles for guiding an equity-conscious state response to the crisis.

They include:

  • targeting aid to people who need it most

  • dismantling persistent racial, gender, and economic inequities

  • protecting state finances to preserve long-term growth

Experts recommend making ACA enrollment more automatic for the newly unemployed
The pandemic is expected to cause tens of millions of Americans to lose employer-sponsored health insurance along with their jobs.

According to a Brookings report, more than half of those who lose employer coverage face extended periods with no health insurance – even if they are eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The authors recommend using state unemployment programs to connect newly jobless people to Medicaid or Marketplace enrollment.

The core function of The Institute is to share data-driven insights that spark action – the type of action that reforms policy and strengthens community.

That’s why The Institute is committed to applying a racial equity lens to all proprietary and community-based research, with the hope that it will reveal and help dismantle the inherent power dynamics that facilitate the racism and violence behind the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others.

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, an exploration of the factors promoting inequities in Northeast Pennsylvania is underway. It is one of many steps in the process of transforming outrage into systemic change and lasting impact.
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