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Ai-jen Poo

Ask 2020 Candidates To Support Universal Family Care

This Saturday at the People’s Presidential Forum, hosted by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund and People’s Action, I’ll be joining Lou Ann Burkle — a Des Moines wife who helps care for her husband living with dementia — in asking 2020 Democratic candidates how they will ensure that care for the people we love is accessible, high quality and affordable to all Americans. Iowa is a unique political bellwether every four years in determining who’s at the top of our ballots. But what the state shares in common with the rest of the country is being home to a growing number of families sinking under the weight of soaring costs of care. In Iowa, infant care now costs more than in-state tuition for four-year public colleges, and in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities averages over $57,000 per year. With smaller paychecks and longer work hours, the math simply doesn’t add up —and our families are paying the price. Over the next few months, presidential candidates will spend a lot of time in Iowa. Iowans can lead the way in calling on candidates to address how diverse and interconnected our care needs are and to prioritize a plan for a new care infrastructure that centers our families over fear. If you’re able to join us for the forum on Saturday, I’d love to see you there; if not, I invite you to ask candidates about their plans as they continue to spend time in this state.

Ai-jen Poo is an organizer, adviser to Care in Action, and will be speaking at the Iowa People’s Presidential Forum with People’s Action members and leading presidential candidates this Saturday, Sept. 21 from noon to 5 in Des Moines. Click here to watch our free livestream.

Pelosi Releases Drug Pricing Plan

Pelosi releases highly anticipated drug pricing plan. Politico: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rolled out her much anticipated drug pricing plan today, calling for Medicare to negotiate prices on at least 25 medicines, with an option for commercial insurers to take advantage of the deals. The plan is less ambitious than an outline of the bill, H.R. 3, that was leaked last week. Earlier discussions envisioned mandating that 250 drugs be subject to negotiations each year. Instead, 250 would be the ceiling rather than the floor, likely disappointing progressives. The government would be directed to target drugs that account for the highest costs to Medicare and the entire U.S. health care system, taking into account both the price of medicines and the volume sold in the U.S. This means that negotiations would likely focus on drugs taken by large numbers of Americans, potentially excluding those for rare diseases that typically are very costly. To be eligible for negotiation, the drugs must also lack generic or biosimilar competition. Insulin must be included as one of the negotiated drugs. The maximum price negotiated for the drugs would be tied to the cost paid in other developed countries, where medicines often sell for less. Under the Pelosi plan, the upper limit must be no more than 1.2 times the average price in six countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. But the goal would be to get to a lower price, according to an outline of the plan, and Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans could try and get the price even lower than the government rate.”

‘Promise’ To Foreign Leader Sparks Investigation

Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress. WaPo: “The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter. Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call.”

Trump’s War On California

Trump threatens San Francisco with EPA violation because of city’s homeless. NBC: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to have the Environmental Protection Agency issue a “notice” to San Francisco over the city’s homeless issue, comments that were criticized by local officials. From Air Force One, Trump, who had been in California for a two-day fundraising trip, blamed the homeless population for environmental issues. “There’s tremendous pollution being put into the ocean,” he said, noting “there are needles, there are other things.’ ‘We’re going to be giving San Francisco — they’re in total violation — we’re going to be giving them the notice very soon,’ Trump said. ‘The EPA is going to be putting out a notice and you know they’re in serious violation and this is environmental, very environmental,” Trump said. “And they have to clean it up. We can’t have our cities going to hell.’ In January, San Francisco found that under the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development definition, around 8,000 people were experiencing homelessness.”

Thunberg Testifies To Congress

16-year old climate activist smacks down Rep. Graves (R-Oil). Crooks and Liars: “Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, faced off with members of Congress on Wednesday. In a hearing before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Thunberg declined to submit a written opening statement. ‘I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists and I want you to unite behind the science,’ she said. Republican Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana tried to make the point that the U.S. should not curb its carbon emissions until other countries agreed to do so. ‘Let me ask you a question,’ Graves said. ‘If you were sailing across the ocean and you were picking up trash along the way and for every one piece of trash you pick up, there’s a boat right next to you dumping out five pieces, how would that make you feel?’ ‘If you use that logic,’ Thunberg replied, ‘I am also dumping a lot of trash in the ocean. I would stop dumping my trash in the ocean and then tell the other boat to stop dumping their trash in the ocean as well.’ But it wasn’t clear if Graves understood Thunberg’s remarks.”

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