fresh voices from the front lines of change








Leo Gerard

This Is How Medicare For All Will Save Lives

Last month, in a Pittsburgh parking lot following a conference on type one diabetes, three women stood crying. Two of them, mother and teenaged daughter, had just handed a stranger, 25-year-old Michelle, three shopping bags full of insulin pump supplies. Michelle was overwhelmed. She knew they were meeting that day so that the mother and daughter could give her medical provisions she needed to stay alive, but she had not realized it would be thousands of dollars worth until she saw those bags. The big difference between these two young women with diabetes, Elizabeth and Michelle, is that Michelle’s father, whose health insurance covers her for another few months, is not a union member and Elizabeth’s father is. One in six Americans who have employer plans say they’ve made sacrifices to pay for health care, including cutting back on food, moving back home with parents and taking second jobs. Half say they or a family member skipped or delayed care or stopped taking prescription medications. This could be why the audience at a Fox News town hall last month with Bernie Sanders, an advocate of Medicare for All, clapped and cheered loudly when Fox host Bret Baier asked if they were willing to relinquish their employer-based health insurance and take Medicare for All instead. With a single-payer system like Medicare for All, every American would have the safety and security of health insurance. Prices overall would decline as overhead costs charged by private insurers disappeared. And, crucially, Congress could allow Medicare to bargain for lower pharmaceutical prices.

Trump's 'Merit-Based' Immigration Plan Gets Cold Reception

Trump outlines 'merit-based' immigration plan. NPR: "President Trump has announced an immigration proposal that would dramatically reshape the legal immigration system in the United States. The plan does not address the pressing challenge of what to do about the estimated 11 million people currently in the country illegally, one of the core issues that has animated Trump's presidency. Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been quietly working on the plan for months and briefed Republican senators on the details Tuesday. A senior administration official, who spoke to reporters Wednesday on the condition that his name not be used, said the proposal is a 'good faith effort' intended to unify Republicans and start a discussion. The plan would prioritize merit-based immigration, limiting the number of people who could get green cards by seeking asylum or based on family ties. But it would keep immigration levels static, neither increasing or decreasing the number of people allowed to legally enter the U.S. each year."

HUD Targets Immigrant Families For Eviction

She’s undocumented. Her children aren’t. The Trump administration wants to evict them. NYT: "Margarita knows what it’s like to not have a home. She bounced from shelter to shelter in New York City, just her and her two children, for nearly a decade. Although her children were born in the United States, Margarita, 48, is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, and her status has added to the family’s struggle to gain a foothold in the city, where she works as a housekeeper. But in August, they qualified for an affordable public housing apartment in the Bronx. 'It felt like justice after everything we had gone through,' Margarita, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she was a victim of domestic violence, said. Soon, they could lose it all again. The Trump administration proposed a rule last month that would prohibit families from obtaining subsidized housing, including apartments operated by the New York City Housing Authority, if any family member is undocumented. Nationwide, more than 108,000 people — mostly in California, Texas and New York — would be affected, according to internal analysis from HUD."

Dems' Dark-Money Group Seeks To Crush Medicare For All

Heitkamp and Donnelly's rural vote project tied to Medicare For All opponents. The Intercept: "designed to help Democrats win rural votes in 2020 is getting support from anti-Medicare for All forces — and pushing their message with a pair of former Democratic senators. Last month, former Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced the launch of the One Country Project, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, to bring rural voters back to the Democratic Party. The group has already started working with the Democratic National Committee, according to Axios. Time Magazine reported that Heitkamp is using 'leftover campaign funds' for the project. Records show that the One Country Project’s website is registered to an executive at Forbes Tate Partners, a lobbying and public relations firm founded by former Clinton administration officials. The lobbying firm is leading the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, or PAHCF, the health industry-backed nonprofit created to crush momentum for a comprehensive universal health care system. Heitkamp has used the launch of the One Country Project as an opportunity to speak out against Medicare for All. 'Polling indicates that most Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive and do not want their coverage options taken away and replaced with a one-size-fits-all government program,' she wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last week that echoed PAHCF talking points."

AOC Confronts HIV Drug CEO On Price Gouging

confronts CEO for nearly $2K price tag on HIV drug that costs $8 in AU. The Hill: "'You're the CEO of Gilead. Is it true that Gilead made $3 billion in profits from Truvada in 2018?' Ocasio-Cortez asked Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day. '$3 billion in revenue,' he clarified. 'The current list price is $2,000 a month in the United States, correct?' she asked, referring to Truvada. 'It's $1,780 in the United States,' O'Day responded. 'Why is it $8 in Australia?' Ocasio-Cortez countered. 'Truvada still has patent protection in the United States and in the rest of the world it is generic,' O'Day explained. 'I think it's important here that we notice that we the public, we the people, developed this drug. We paid for this drug, we lead and developed all the patents to create Prep and then that patent has been privatized despite the fact that the patent is owned by the public, who refused to enforce it,' Ocasio-Cortez said. 'There’s no reason this should be $2,000 a month. People are dying because of it and there’s no enforceable reason for it.'

Trump Asks Farmers To To Make 'Patriotic' Sacrifices To Trade War

Trump asking farmers to make 'patriotic' sacrifices in his trade war. Politico: "President Donald Trump and his allies are appealing to nationalism in the trade war with China, calling on Americans to make 'patriotic' sacrifices in language reminiscent of national crises and even wars. Under the 'Make America Great Again' banner, Trump has sought to make patriotism cool again — and as he extends his showdown with Beijing, he is targeting the message to the farmers who bear much of the burden of Chinese tariffs. 'Our great Patriot Farmers,' the president wrote in a series of tweets on Tuesday, 'will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of what is happening now.' Trump’s claim followed China’s announcement that it plans to retaliate against his latest tariffs with increased duties on $60 billion in U.S. goods, in an escalating showdown with no end in sight. Trump has often made political appeals to patriotism, as when he urged NFL executives to ban player protests during the national anthem. But the China trade is the first case where he has called for Americans — in this case farmers and other workers, including 'ranchers and industrial workers' hit by tariffs — to sacrifice in the name of a long-term greater national good. It also mirrors, albeit in milder terms, the message that Chinese state media has employed in recent days as the country attempts to brace its own people for a painful trade fight with the U.S."

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