In the first four months the health insurance exchanges have operated, 3.2 million Americans have purchased health insurance plans. More than three of four of those buying health insurance qualify for subsidies to reduce their premiums to a more affordable level. Another 3.1 million Americans have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or CHIP in the 26 states and the District of Columbia where Medicaid eligibility have been expanded. The CSG infographic below provides a state-by-state look at enrollment, Oct. 1, 2013 to Feb. 1, 2014. The exchanges will continue to provide insurance enrollment through the end of March 2014. The data has been taken from this report released February 12, 2014, by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Drug overdose deaths have more than doubled between 1999 and 2010. In 2010, these deaths, from both prescription drug and illicit drug overdoses, surpassed traffic accidents as the number one cause of death for persons less than 65 years old. Twenty one states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed harm reduction laws such as increasing access to naloxone (an overdose antidote) and Good Samaritan laws.  

In 2013, union membership rates were almost half what they were 30 years ago, falling from 20.1 percent in 1983 to 11.2 percent in 2013. The falling union membership rates, however, have occurred primarily in the private sector, while rates in the public sector have remained fairly stable. From 1983 to 2013, the private sector union membership rate fell from 16.5 percent to 6.7 percent. In the public sector, the rate remained essentially the same: 36.7 percent in 1983 to 35.3 percent in 2013.

The minimum wage reached its peak—when adjusted for inflation—in 1968 when it was raised from $1.40 to $1.60. That’s equal to $10.74 in 2013 dollars, or $3.49 per hour more than the current federal rate of $7.25. For comparison, someone working full time and earning the current federal minimum wage has an annual salary of $15,080. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since 1968, that same person would be earning an annual salary of $22,339—a 48 percent raise. Although 21 states currently have a minimum wage set higher than the federal rate, the state with the highest rate—Washington—still falls more than a dollar shy of hitting the inflation-adjusted high of 1968. 

In November 2013, over 4 million of the unemployed were considered “long-term unemployed”—someone who has been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.