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Michael McKinley

We Don’t Need Another Liar-In-Chief: Biden Must Tell The Truth About Medicare For All

I’m an Iowan, a father, and a voter. And I’m just plain tired of the lies too many candidates tell us about health care. They say we don’t need Medicare For All, when I know that we do.That’s why, along with thirty other members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action and Iowa Student Action, I occupied the Des Moines office of Joe Biden’s campaign on Monday, demanding he “stop the lies, cut the ties” to the health care industry. I was one of five who were arrested for refusing to leave. Why? Because we already have a Liar-In-Chief in the White House. We don’t need another one. Joe Biden recently said that under Medicare For All, “All the Medicare you have is gone.” This is an outright lie. Biden wants to frighten seniors, hoping he can scare them into voting for him. He’s saying Medicare For All will "take away your Medicare," when exactly the opposite is true! Where is this scaremongering coming from? From those who profit most under our current system – the insurance industry and big pharma. The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a massive lobby started by for-profit health care to kill the momentum towards universal health coverage, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to vilify Medicare For All and the candidates who endorse it. And they’ve invested heavily in the campaigns of candidates like Biden and Pete Buttegieg. They’re using them to inject lies about Medicare For All into the presidential campaign. Why? Because they stand to lose the most if we get universal health coverage. So I’ve had enough. It’s time for candidates to stop telling lies about Medicare For All and the other changes we need in this country that are long overdue. It’s time for truth, and a leader who’s going to tell us the truth – one who’s going to fight for all of us, and not for wealthy interests.

Even The Insured Can No Longer Afford Health Care

Harvard study shows even Americans with insurance can't afford care. Common Dreams: "The for-profit U.S. healthcare system is so broken that a growing number of people who are fortunate enough to have private insurance coverage are still unable to afford doctor visits and other essential services due to soaring costs—leaving a larger number of Americans with unmet medical needs today than there were two decades ago. That's a central finding of a new study by Harvard University researchers published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Internal Medicine, examining 20 years of government data between 1998 and 2017. The study found that despite a major expansion of insurance coverage in the U.S. during that period—most significantly through the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA)—"most measures of unmet need for physician services have shown no improvement, and financial access to physician services has decreased." The study's authors noted that the rise of "narrow networks, high-deductible plans, and higher co-pays" has contributed to the growth of unmet medical needs in the U.S. since the 1990s. Dr. Laura Hawks, a Harvard research fellow and lead author of the study, said the research poses fundamental questions about the viability of the private health insurance system at a time when presidential candidates, members of Congress, physicians, nurses, and much of the U.S. public support a transition to a single-payer system like Medicare for All. 'Our findings call into question the value of private health insurance today,' Hawks, a primary care physician, said in a statement. 'When so many people can't get the care they need even when they have insurance coverage, it says that insurance is not doing what it is supposed to do: ensure that healthcare is affordable when you need it.'"

Trump Trades Favors With Autocrats

Bolton was concerned that Trump did favors for autocratic leaders, book says. NYT: " John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he had concerns that President Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton. Mr. Barr responded by pointing to a pair of Justice Department investigations of companies in those countries and said he was worried that Mr. Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries, according to the manuscript. Backing up his point, Mr. Barr mentioned conversations Mr. Trump had with the leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Xi Jinping of China. Mr. Bolton’s account underscores the fact that the unease about Mr. Trump’s seeming embrace of authoritarian leaders, long expressed by experts and his opponents, also existed among some of the senior cabinet officers entrusted by the president to carry out his foreign policy and national security agendas. Mr. Bolton recounted his discussion with Mr. Barr in a draft of an unpublished book manuscript that he submitted nearly a month ago to the White House for review. People familiar with the manuscript described its contents on the condition of anonymity. The book also contains an account of Mr. Trump telling Mr. Bolton in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations of political rivals, The New York Times reported on Sunday. The matter is at the heart of the articles of impeachment against the president."

SCOTUS OKs Trump Plan To Cut Benefits To Legal Immigrants

Supreme Court allows Trump administration to proceed with ‘wealth test’ rules for immigrants. WaPo: "The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to begin implementing new “wealth test” rules making it easier to deny immigrants residency or admission to the United States because they have used or might use public-assistance programs. The decision, issued in response to an emergency petition by the administration, lifts a nationwide injunction imposed by a district judge in New York. That means the government can begin applying the new standards, which critics say would place a burden on poor immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, while legal challenges continue in lower courts. The order supporting the Trump administration was handed down as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was presiding over President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. He was joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh in lifting the injunction. All four of the court’s liberal justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — noted their disagreement. Neither side explained its reasoning, which is not uncommon in such emergency motions. The decision echoed past orders in which the court’s conservatives allowed implementation of administration objectives — restricting transgender service members, for instance, or shifting Defense Department funds to build a border wall — while legal challenges continued."

Trump Lawyers Ask SCOTUS To Conceal Financial Records

Trump's lawyers tell Supreme Court that the President's financial documents shouldn't be turned over to House, Manhattan. CNN: "President Donald Trump's personal lawyers told the Supreme Court Monday that the House of Representatives and a Manhattan prosecutor should not be able to subpoena the President's longtime accounting firm and banks for his financial records, in a monumental dispute concerning separation of powers and claims of absolute immunity that will be heard by the justices later this term. For years, the President has been battling a broad range of legal challenges attempting to force the release of his tax returns and other financial documents, and now the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the dispute sometime this spring and render an opinion by July -- just as the presidential election is gearing up. 'To call these subpoenas unprecedented would be an understatement,' argued Jay Sekulow, one of the President's personal lawyers, in the opening briefs 'Unleashing each and every House committee to torment the President with legislative subpoena after legislative subpoena is a recipe for constitutional crisis,' Sekulow said. The filings came as Chief Justice John Roberts is presiding over the Senate impeachment trial and Trump's legal team has spent hours on the Senate floor presenting the President's defense in the proceeding. In the cases regarding Trump's financial documents, lower courts have allowed the subpoenas to go forward but those decisions have been put on hold while the Supreme Court considers the issue."

Trump Fuels Housing Discrimination

Housing discrimination is rising. Trump is attacking protections against it. Truthout: "For the past few months, yet another legislative pillar of the country’s civil rights era, the Fair Housing Act, has been in the Trump administration’s crosshairs. First, in the autumn, the administration unveiled plans to make it harder for tenants, mortgage recipients and community organizations to sue banks and other financial institutions for using algorithms that end up having discriminatory impacts on the basis of race, religion, national origin and other protected categories. Then, a few weeks ago, HUD unveiled additional rule-rewrites diluting the obligation of cities to both develop public infrastructure in poor neighborhoods of color and also to build affordable housing across a range of locales rather than concentrating it all in a handful of places. While the administration is trying to pitch these as simply administrative tweaks, in fact they have the potential to gut the force of the country’s fair housing rules — much as the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision rolling back parts of the Voting Rights Act ended up largely gutting protections that had been in place for more than half a century. The Fair Housing Act (FHA), first passed in 1968 and expanded in scope in the decades following, aims to prevent deliberate discrimination in housing-related matters as well as to prevent practices that have a “disparate impact,” resulting in discriminatory outcomes even if the individuals involved weren’t intentionally trying to harm particular groups. An example might be bank lending criteria or insurance criteria that in practice make it harder for people in majority-Black neighborhoods to secure mortgages. The FHA also aims to “affirmatively further fair housing” by requiring communities to improve public infrastructure — schools, transit systems, roads and so on — in neighborhoods where most residents are people of color, and also to support the development of affordable housing in a wide variety of locales within a city."

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