Tag Archives: Joe Biden

Austin AFL-CIO Council Becomes Latest to Urge Biden to End Medicare Privatization Scheme

The labor council’s newly passed resolution warns that the scheme “allows doctors and their offices to convert a patients’ traditional Medicare choice into ACO-REACH coverage without first informing their patients.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

The labor council of the Austin, Texas AFL-CIO has passed a resolution urging the Biden administration to terminate a Medicare privatization scheme that is quietly moving ahead despite vocal opposition from doctors, seniors, and progressive lawmakers.

The pilot program, which inserts private middlemen between patients and healthcare providers, was unveiled with little notice during the final months of the Trump administration despite internal concerns about its legality. The experiment has since been largely upheld by the Biden administration, which announced mostly cosmetic changes earlier this year, winning applause from industry groups that lobbied against complete elimination of the program. Continue reading

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Patients Push Biden HHS to Act as Pharma Firm Charges $190K for Lifesaving Prostate Cancer Drug

“HHS can clearly insist on limiting the U.S. price of Xtandi to the median price for other large high-income countries,” said advocates, “particularly since the drug has already generated more than $10 billion in sales from Medicare alone based upon these unconscionable pricing disparities.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 11-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: GlobalGiving

“Cancer does not wait, nor should cancer patients have to wait for years for their government to act.”

That’s the message patient advocates reiterated in a Friday letter asking the Biden administration to help them secure a lifesaving prostate cancer drug that costs nearly $190,000 per year despite its development being 100% taxpayer-funded.

Last year, prostate cancer patient Eric Sawyer petitioned U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to grant march-in rights—under which the government can grant patent licenses to companies other than a drug’s manufacturer—for enzalutamide, which is sold under the brand name Xtandi. Continue reading

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‘Morally Deplorable’: Biden Admin Recommends Immunity for MBS in Khashoggi Case

“The Biden administration has not only shielded MBS from accountability in U.S. courts, but has effectively issued him a license to kill more detractors and declared that he will never be held accountable.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-18-2022 by Common Dreams

President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. Photo: Saudi Press Agency/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The Biden administration said in a U.S. federal court filing on Thursday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be granted sovereign immunity in a civil case brought by the fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a stance that human rights advocates condemned as a betrayal of the president’s vow to hold the Saudi leader accountable.

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in the new filing that the White House “has determined that Defendant bin Salman, as the sitting head of a foreign government, enjoys head-of-state immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts as a result of that office and is entitled to immunity from the court’s jurisdiction of this suit while he holds that office.” Continue reading

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13 Senate Dems Join GOP in Voting to End Covid Emergency Declaration, Kick Millions Off Medicaid

One public health advocate warned that final passage of the resolution would “affect the cost of vaccines, tests, and treatments, restrict access to Medicaid and telehealth, and restart student loan payments.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the midterm elections “a victory and a vindication” for Democrats after the results of the Nevada U.S. Senate race on November 13, 2022. Screenshot: NBC News

Thirteen members of the Senate Democratic caucus—including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer—joined Republicans on Tuesday in approving a resolution aimed at terminating the national emergency declaration for Covid-19, a move that would kick millions of people off Medicaid as experts warn of a winter infection and hospitalization surge.

While the White House said Tuesday that President Joe Biden will veto the resolution if it passes the House and reaches his desk, the Senate vote sparked outrage among public health experts and others who stressed the far-reaching implications of the resolution. Continue reading

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Warnings of Right-Wing Violence Mount as Bolsonaro’s Son Claims ‘Biggest Electoral Fraud Ever’

One expert said that former U.S. President Donald Trump is Bolsonaro’s “idol and his model” as the Brazilian leader and his allies launch baseless attacks on the electoral system.

By Julia Conley  Published 10-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil speaking during the Session: “Special Address by Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil“ at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2018. Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr/CC

Political experts in Brazil are warning that President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies may be using a “roadmap” provided by former U.S. President Donald Trump to call the results of the country’s upcoming election into question before the votes are even cast.

Deploying almost the exact same language used by Trump following his loss of the 2020 presidential election, Sen. Flávio Bolsonaro, the right-wing president’s son, said Wednesday on social media that his father is “the victim of the biggest electoral fraud ever seen,” adding that there have been attempts “to manipulate the result” of the runoff election scheduled to take place Sunday. Continue reading

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‘Cold Hard Threat to Democracy’: GOP Sowing Chaos at Polls Even Before Election Day

“Voters deserve better than this when they exercise their constitutional right at the polls,” said one government watchdog.

By Julia Conley  Published 10-27-2022 by Common Dreams

A ‘Vote Here’ sign outside an election polling place at Woodbury City Hall in Woodbury, Minnesota during the 2020 general election. Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/CC

Government watchdogs are warning that Republicans are operating a well-funded, well-organized campaign to sow “an unprecedented level of suspicion and unfounded doubt” in this year’s midterm elections by lodging dubious legal challenges even before Election Day arrives and training thousands on how to create confusion at the polls.

As the Associated Press reported Thursday, more than 100 lawsuits have already been filed regarding the election, which is still 12 days away. The lawsuits have largely been filed by Republicans and focus on issues including mail-in voting, voting machines, and access for partisan poll watchers. Continue reading

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GOP Threatens to Hold Economy Hostage to Slash Climate Investments

“If Republicans take over Congress, they plan to hold the government hostage and ransom our future,” said one climate advocate.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: CNN

In addition to threatening cuts to Social Security and Medicare, congressional Republicans are reportedly plotting to use the debt ceiling and an end-of-year clash over government funding to target popular climate investments approved in August as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that “while some Republicans do favor brinkmanship over Medicare and Social Security… some aides and analysts think the GOP may be more likely to demand changes to other Democratic priorities.” Continue reading

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Armed ‘Poll Watchers’ in Arizona Heighten Alarm Over Right-Wing Voter Intimidation

“This is obviously totally incompatible with liberal democracy and an open society,” said one commentator.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Two masked individuals dressed in tactical gear sit near a ballot dropbox location in Mesa, Arizona on October 21, 2022. (Photo: Nicole Grigg/ABC15 Arizona/Twitter Screengrab)

Video footage released Friday night showing armed individuals sitting near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona is heightening alarm over right-wing intimidation efforts as early voting kicks off across the United States.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told a local ABC affiliate that it is investigating several individuals who were watching a Mesa voting location on Friday. The department confirmed that two individuals at the site were armed. Continue reading

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‘Daylight Robbery’: Pfizer Condemned for Hiking US Covid Vaccine Price by 10,000% Above Cost

“While health workers and the vulnerable continue to go unvaccinated in developing countries, Pfizer is shamelessly fleecing the public for ever-greater sums of money,” said one campaigner.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-21-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: U.S. Secretary of Defense/flickr

Vaccine equity campaigners on Friday condemned Pfizer for announcing that it will soon raise the price of its publicly funded Covid-19 shot to between $110 and $130 per dose in the U.S., a move that comes as the Biden administration is preparing to end the nation’s free coronavirus vaccine program as pandemic response funding runs dry.

Reuters reported late Thursday that Angela Lukin, an executive at Pfizer, said the New York-based pharmaceutical giant “expects” that the vaccine “will be made available at no cost to people who have private insurance or government-paid insurance.” Continue reading

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Barrett Boots ‘Nothingburger’ Right-Wing Challenge to Biden Student Loan Cancellation

“Under any reading of precedent,” said one legal reporter, “the Republican activists who brought this lawsuit have absolutely no right to challenge a single dollar of debt forgiveness.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearing. Screenshot: C-SPAN

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday rejected a challenge to the Biden administration’s student debt cancellation plan, a move anticipated by jurists and journalists alike.

Barrett declined to consider an appeal by Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL)—a conservative law firm that previously drew attention for investigating claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and coming up empty—on behalf of Brown County Taxpayers Association, a right-wing advocacy group. Continue reading

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