The Weekly Wonk – August 19, 2011

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk is dedicated to this week’s events, publications, and blog posts.

This week at OK Policy, we posted our tenth blog in an ongoing series of posts examining the Affordable Care Act.  While the federal government has repeatedly assured the states “flexibility” in instituting the new health law’s requirements, if a state isn’t making a timely and good faith effort to launch a health insurance exchange, their efforts may be preempted by a federally-run exchange.

Also, we blogged about a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank that finds despite a modest recovery in the overall economy, low- and moderate-income Oklahomans continue to face increased hardship.  Watch a 5-minute video on our blog about “Living Through the Oklahoma Dust Bowl,” featuring interviews, footage, and photographs of Oklahomans living through severe drought conditions and crop failures in the 1930s.


Guest blogger Monica Barczak writes about Healthy Mothers, Healthy Futures, an innovative Tulsa health program aimed at reducing infant deaths.  Finally, OK Policy presented summary data on the scope of the state’s early childhood programming at the 1st annual, “Champions for Children” conference in Oklahoma City, hosted by Smart Start Oklahoma.

In the Know, Policy Notes

Numbers of the Week

  • 400 percent – Percentage growth in the number of public school students doing schoolwork through computer-based programs in Oklahoma in the last three years
  • $2,713 – Average amount in tuition and fees for a year of community college in the United States, compared to $7,605 for a 4-year public institution, 2010
  • 450 – The total number of separate tax expenditures (tax breaks and exemptions) authorized by Oklahoma law, 2010
  • 2/3 – Proportion of all law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma that have five or fewer officers, 2010
  • 203,830 – Number of Oklahoma employees who work for private businesses that do not offer health insurance, 2009


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