fresh voices from the front lines of change







Big Pharma Relieved By Trump's Prescription Drug Strategy

Trump's unimpressive plan to Lower drug prices. Bloomberg: "In what he described Friday as “the most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people,” President Donald Trump ignored every step that would make a real difference. Indeed, a list of the actions he left out of his “blueprint” could serve as a guide to good policy. Trump neglected, to begin, his campaign promise to let Medicare use its vast purchasing power to negotiate prices. He said nothing in support of bipartisan legislation in Congress that would get generic drugs to market faster — the best way to lower prices for both government and private insurers. He didn’t mention letting Americans import medicines from other countries that carefully control drug quality. And he said not a word about the comparative effectiveness studies that the U.S. needs to judge what individual medicines are worth. Instead, he offered mostly timid and familiar ideas. Cut red tape at the Food and Drug Administration to bring drugs to market faster. Give individual insurers in Medicare’s Part D drug program a little more room to negotiate prices for subsets of beneficiaries. Adjust the rules on how pharmacy benefit managers negotiate rebates."

Trump Vows To Protect ZTE Jobs In China

In about-face on trade, Trump vows to protect ZTE jobs in China. NYT: " As China and the United States go toe-to-toe on trade and maneuver ahead of a historic North Korea meeting next month, an unlikely obstacle has emerged: a second-tier Chinese electronics maker, ZTE. The company said last week that it had halted “major operating activities” after being penalized by the United States Department of Commerce. On Sunday morning, President Trump surprised many in Washington when he indicated a willingness to rethink the punishment. He also appeared to walk back from brinkmanship that has threatened the United States’ trade talks with China. In a tweet, Mr. Trump said he was working with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to prevent the collapse of the company, which employs 75,000 people. 'Too many jobs in China lost,' Mr. Trump wrote. 'Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!'"

Mass ICE Raids Ravage Rural Communities

Mass ICE raids leave broken communities. The Intercept: "A month after dozens of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents surrounded a meatpacking plant in Morristown, Tennessee, and detained 97 men and women who worked there, the tight-knit rural community is still reeling, but the initial shock has seeped into a quiet pain, as families adjust to lives without work and their loved ones... The Trump administration has promised more worksite immigration enforcement. In January, ICE’s Acting Director Thomas Homan said these operations would increase by “400 percent.” As The Intercept reported last month, ICE appeared to take workers at the Southeastern Provision plant into custody based on their ethnicity, rather than asking question to determine whether they were eligible for arrest and deportation. The day after the raid, about 550 children missed school. At least 160 children found themselves without at least one of their parents."

ICE Loses 1,500 Children In Custody

ICE reports they have lost track of 1500 children they've taken from parents. AP: "A Senate subcommittee has found that federal officials lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children last year after a government agency placed the minors in the custody of adult sponsors in communities nationwide. The Health and Human Services Department says it uses its limited funds to track the safety of at-risk children, and could not determine where 1,475 missing minors had gone. The Health and Human Services Department came under fire two years ago for rolling back child welfare policies meant to protect unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America. An Associated Press investigation found that more than two dozen were placed in homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations says federal agencies need to take full responsibility for the children's care."

NC Voters Dump Pro-Deportation Sheriff

NC voters dump Democratic sheriff who backed ICE deportation program. NBC: "Voters in North Carolina's largest county, which includes Charlotte, ousted their sheriff last week in a Democratic primary fought over immigration and criminal justice reform. Advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union, which invested an unusually large amount of money in the race, hope to use it as a model as they look for ways to resist the Trump administration's immigration crackdown at all levels of government... The ACLU spent $175,000 in Mecklenburg County — almost three times the amount the winner on Tuesday raised in the first quarter of the year — helping to turn around a race that internal polling showed was the incumbent's to lose. Garry McFadden, a retired homicide detective who has been recognized by former President Barack Obama, won the three-way primary on Tuesday with 52 percent of vote. Incumbent Sheriff Irwin Carmichael came in a distant third, with 20 percent of the vote, blaming "outside influences" and the immigration issue for his loss, even as he defended his policies. There is no Republican on the ballot in the general election, so McFadden is effectively sheriff-elect."

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Convenient Tales About Riches Within Reach. Sam Pizzigati: "Our popular culture can’t seem to get enough of life-affirming tales of modest multi-millionaire seniors. These stories make us feel good. They also, unfortunately, reinforce a message that our society’s richest — and their cheerleaders — find enormously convenient. But if 'discipline, sacrifice, and hard work' build wealth, why do so many millions of disciplined, sacrificing, and hard-working Americans today have so little of it? Why is the 'millionaire next door' — especially for our millennial generation — becoming a vanishing species?"

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