“The last thing Americans need is a Bezos-backed investment company further consolidating single-family homes and putting homeownership out of reach for more and more people. Housing should be a right, not a speculative commodity.”
Among the three richest people on the planet, mega-billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos received some praise last week for announcing approximately $120 million in donations to a number of groups fighting the scourge of homelessness in the United States.
“It’s a privilege to support these orgs in their inspiring mission to help families regain stability,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post touting the multiple grants to 38 individual nonprofits in 22 states.
The “Make Amazon Pay” strikes and rallies coincided with Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year and one of Amazon’s most profitable. Amazon workers across the globe—in ever-larger numbers—have been walking off the job on Black Friday for years to demand better treatment from the $1.5 trillion company.
Javier Milei—a far-right admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump who says that climate change is a “socialist lie” and who pledged to take a “chainsaw” to social programs—will be Argentina’s next president after winning a decisive victory in Sunday’s presidential runoff.
Sergio Massa, Argentina’s Peronist economy minister, conceded defeat Sunday evening to the 53-year-old Milei, a radical libertarian economist often called the “Trump of Argentina” who will take office amid a looming recession, triple-digit inflation, and a nearly 40% poverty rate in Latin America’s third-largest economy.
As Medicare Advantage plans rely increasingly upon artificial intelligence to determine—and often deny—payment for patient care, a group of Democratic U.S. lawmakers on Friday urged Medicare’s top official to strengthen oversight of AI and algorithmic tools used to make coverage determinations.
“In recent years, problems posed by prior authorization have been exacerbated by MA plans’ increasing use of AI or algorithmic software to assist in their coverage determinations in certain care settings, including inpatient hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health,” 32 House Democrats led by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Books LaSure.
Schools, health systems, and television broadcasters in Iceland were among the businesses that said they would have to close or reduce services on Tuesday due to the country’s first full-day women’s strike in nearly 50 years—potentially helping to prove the point that tens of thousands of women and non-binary workers are hoping to make by demonstrating that their labor is vital and must be paid accordingly.
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir is among the women taking part in the “kvennafrí,” or “women’s day off,” and told reporters she expects women in her cabinet to strike as well, as organizers push to close Iceland’s gender pay gap and end gender-based violence.
“In their blind loyalty to their mega-donors, Republicans’ fixation on giant tax cuts for billionaires has created a revenue problem that is driving up our national debt,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in response to new Treasury Department figures.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday released new figures related to the 2023 budget that showed a troubling drop in the nation’s tax revenue compared to GDP—a measure which fell to 16.5% despite a growing economy—and an annual deficit increase that essentially doubled from the previous year.
“After record U.S. government spending in 2020 and 2021” due to programs related to the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, the Washington Post reports, “the deficit dropped from close to $3 trillion to close to $1 trillion in 2022. But rather than continue to fall to its pre-pandemic levels, the deficit unexpectedly jumped this year to roughly $2 trillion.”
Pushing back against insurers’ annual denial of nearly a quarter-billion healthcare claims or pre-authorization requests, activists rallied in more than a dozen U.S. cities on Wednesday to demand “an end to private health insurance industry greed so people can get the care they need when they need it.”
Most Americans are aware that with housing costs on the rise, more and more of us are experiencing periods of homelessness. Based on the relative dearth of national coverage, I presume far fewer of us are aware that major insurance companies have begun pulling out of areas identified as being at heightened risk due to climate change, leaving homeowners in the lurch. I wrote about the impact on Florida in July, but it turns out the problem is much larger than a single state, with California also heavily affected.
Over the next few years, it seems likely these two problems – unaffordable housing and unaffordable insurance in at-risk areas – will spiral into a potentially catastrophic cycle. Not only will some Americans be forced to abandon their homes, but the housing in these areas at high risk of damage from storms or wildfires will likely stand empty (as long as homes continue to stand at all), all of which will further drive demand up in a housing market that already prices out far too many people.
A federal judge in Ohio on Friday blocked an attempt by corporate interests to stop Medicare’s historic negotiation of certain drug prices with pharmaceuticals.
Medicare gained the power to negotiate drug prices as part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), but the several industry groups and drug makers have sued to forestall the program, arguing that it is unconstitutional, CNN explained. One of those groups was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which filed its lawsuit in June. The Ohio judge Friday rejected its request for a preliminary injunction to block the program before October 1, the date by which pharmaceuticals must agree to negotiate or not.
A Washington-based married couple’s challenge to an obscure provision of the 2017 Republican tax law has the potential to become “the most important tax case in a century,” with far-reaching implications for federal revenues, key social programs, and Congress’ constitutional authority to impose levies on income.
That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by the Roosevelt Institute and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).