- Healthcare hiring rebounded in November, contributing 28,400 new jobs compared with 18,500 in October. But the industry's job growth remains sluggish this year, according to federal data released last week. The improvement was in line with robust hiring throughout the economy, which added 203,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 7%. Hospitals, which employ 4.8 million U.S. workers, are still adding few employees to their payrolls. In November, they added 1,200 jobs, in line with this year's monthly average so far this year and 80% fewer than the average for the first 11 months of 2012.
- Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Corbett posted a draft Medicaid waiver that would allow the state to collect federal Medicaid funds to help low-income residents buy coverage in the health insurance exchange established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The 100-page proposal is consistent with a “concept” paper Corbett released earlier this fall. In addition to following Arkansas' lead in steering Medicaid beneficiaries into private insurance plans, it calls for those who make more than 50% of the federal poverty level to pay monthly premiums, and it would require working-age recipients to prove they're employed or actively looking for work. The plan would extend coverage to as many as 500,000 of the state's poorest residents beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
- The U.S. pregnancy rate fell to a 12-year low in 2009, continuing a trend that has seen a 10% decline since 1990. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were 102 pregnancies for every 1,000 women in 2009, the lowest rate since 1997 and the second-lowest rate in the past 30 years. Much of the overall decline came from a stark drop in teenage pregnancies from 1990 to 2009. Pregnancy rates for teens ages 15 to 17 declined 53% during the period, while pregnancy rates for women ages 18 and 19 were down by 36%.
Healthcare hiring rebounds, and other news
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