Health care is returning as a campaign issue, with special interest and advocacy groups preparing to spend at least $60 million to push politicians to embrace universal access to medical coverage. The efforts, one by a coalition of labor and liberal groups and another by AARP, also include direct appeals to the presidential contenders and congressional candidates to change a system in which millions of people are without coverage. A coalition of labor unions and Democratic-leaning organizations called Health Care for America Now on Tuesday was announcing a $40 million campaign to promote affordable health care coverage for all. The group is spending $1.5 million on a national cable ad, and print and Web advertising. It also plans to spend $25 million on advertising through the end of the year. The effort will concentrate on key congressional districts in 45 states, where the coalition also plans to deploy 100 organizers.
Public schools serving Clevelands neediest students will receive substantially more federal aid in the coming year, thanks to a keen eye and diligent follow-up by the Cleveland Teachers Union. The CTU made good use of a recent memo to local unions, sent by AFT secretary-treasurer Antonia Cortese, that detailed federal estimates of Title I aid provided by the U.S. Education Department for large school systems. Education Department estimates indicated that the district was entitled to much more than the $51 million in Title I assistance the district was told by the state department of education it would receive for the upcoming school year. School officials, at the behest of CTU president David Quolke, took their case for greater Title I resources to the stateâ€”which ultimately determined that the district was entitled to $8 million more in Title I funding. The shortfall occurred because the percentage of children living in poverty had not been calculated correctly, and the state made the appropriate adjustments, ensuring that the district received its deserved share of Title I funds.