Tag Archives: Pramila Jayapal

As Scandals Mount, So Do Calls to Abolish Private Medicare Advantage Plans

“Problems with Medicare Advantage are systemic and widespread,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal. “Not only do they too often deny care—they’re ripping off taxpayers.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-13-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: K Whiteford/Public domain

As yet another scandal involving Medicare Advantage made headlines this week, progressive U.S. lawmakers and advocates renewed calls to abolish the private health insurance program that a recent Senate report said is “running amok” with “fraudsters and scam artists.”

In a new Nation article written with health insurance reform advocate Wendell Potter, Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) contend that one of the most confusing things facing elders while choosing their Medicare plans “is a scheme by private insurance companies to prey on seniors and profit off of the Medicare brand, all in the name of padding their corporate profits and shareholder returns.” Continue reading

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War Industry ‘Celebrating Christmas Early’ as House Passes $858 Billion NDAA

“There is no justification to throw… $858 billion at the Pentagon when we’re told we can’t afford child tax credit expansion, universal paid leave, or other basic human necessities,” said the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. “End of story.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Class of 2022 cadets participate in a live-fire exercise as part of their Cadet Field Training. Photo: Matthew Moeller (US Army)/flickr/CC

Peace advocates on Thursday slammed the House of Representatives’ passage of a mammoth $858 billion military spending bill as an early holiday gift for the Pentagon and the weapons corporations who benefit from the United States’ ongoing—but largely forgotten—War on Terror.

House lawmakers voted 350-80 in favor of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with 45 Democrats and 35 Republicans voting “no.”

The new NDAA authorizes an $80 billion military spending increase over the 2022 bill, and $118 billion more than when President Joe Biden took office in 2021. The 2023 allocation is more than the combined military budgets of China, India, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea, according to the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). It’s also more than the annual gross domestic product of countries including Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey, based on United Nations figures. Continue reading

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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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‘Straight Up Fraud’: Data Confirms Private Insurers Use Medicare Advantage to Steal Billions

“The move to privatize Medicare,” said one expert, has “been very profitable, in part because insurers are good at making their patients seem sicker.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 10=9-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: K Whiteford/Public domain

Insurance giants are exploiting Medicare Advantage—a corporate-managed program that threatens to result in the complete privatization of traditional Medicare—to capture billions of dollars in extra profits, Saturday reporting by The New York Times confirmed.

The newspaper’s analysis of dozens of lawsuits, inspector general reports, and watchdog investigations found that overbilling by Medicare Advantage (MA) providers is so pervasive it exceeds the budgets of entire federal agencies, prompting journalist Ryan Cooper to call the program “a straight up fraud scheme.” Continue reading

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‘Staggering’: Watchdog Finds Medicare Advantage Plans Deny Necessary Care

“These plans are designed to maximize profits for corporations, NOT to provide high-quality healthcare,” said Social Security Works.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Myfuture.com/flickr/CC

A government watchdog revealed Thursday that Medicare Advantage plans—which are offered by private companies but required to follow rules set by the government healthcare program—deny medically necessary care to tens of thousands of enrollees each year.

The revelation came in a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), which examined a random sample of 250 prior authorization denials and 250 payment denials issued by 15 of the largest Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs) during the first week of June in 2019. Continue reading

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Coalition Demands End to US Military Support for Saudi-Led War on Yemen

“Congress must help prevent backsliding by Saudi Arabia,” said one activist, “by passing the Yemen War Powers Resolution and blocking U.S. military support for any renewed hostilities.”

By Jessica Corbett  Pubished 4-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Felton Davis/flickr/CC

More than five dozen advocacy groups on Wednesday pressured Congress to cut off U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war and blockade on Yemen, highlighting that it “has helped cause the deaths of nearly half a million people and pushed millions more to the edge of starvation.”

The groups’ letter to Congress—led by Churches for Middle East Peace, Demand Progress, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), MoveOn, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation—comes in the midst of a two-month truce. Continue reading

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West Virginians Lead Blockade of Coal Plant That’s Made Manchin Rich

“This is what the fight for a habitable planet looks like in real time.”

By Julia Conley  Published 4-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Police in Grant Town, West Virginia arrested demonstrators who blockaded a coal plant that contracts with Enersystems, a company owned by Sen. Joe Manchin’s family, from which the senator earns $500,000 per year. (Photo: @WV_Rising/Twitter)

Organizers of the “Coal Baron Blockade” protest which targeted right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s coal empire Saturday afternoon reported that state police almost immediately began arresting campaigners who assembled in Grant Town, West Virginia.

“Sen. Joe Manchin’s policies hurt poor people and hurt our environment so deeply that activists are ready to put themselves on the line,” tweeted the Poor People’s Campaign, which joined grassroots group West Virginia Rising and other organizations in the blockade. Continue reading

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Low-Income Americans to Congress: ‘I Am the Cost of Cutting Build Back Better’

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2021

With President Joe Biden and many congressional Democrats bowing to right-wing party members’ demands to gut their once far-reaching agenda to tax corporations and the wealthy to fund expanded public benefits and climate action, low-income people from across the United States convened in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to say that “I am the cost of cutting the Build Back Better plan.”

“We need to stop asking, ‘How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?’ and instead ask, ‘How much does it cost not to Build Back Better?'” Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach, said during Wednesday’s rally, which was organized by the Poor Peoples’ Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, an effort that he co-chairs. Continue reading

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‘We’re Staying’: Line 3 Opponents Camp at Minnesota Capitol to Protest Oil Pipeline

“The cops are gathered here by the hundred and the governor’s brand new fence glimmers in the background, but our spirit is resolved.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-26-2021

Demonstrators protest the Line 3 pipeline on the grounds of the Minnesota capitol building on August 25, 2021. (Photo: RootsAction)

With Enbridge on the verge of completing its multibillion-dollar Line 3 pipeline, thousands of Indigenous leaders and environmentalists brought their protests against the sprawling tar sands project to the grounds of the Minnesota state capitol building on Wednesday to demand that lawmakers intervene before the dirty oil starts flowing.

Roughly 2,000 demonstrators—including Indigenous leaders who marched over 250 miles along the pipeline’s route—rallied at the capitol Wednesday afternoon and hundreds stayed through the night as Minnesota police officers guarded the building’s perimeter, which was surrounded by a chain-link fence installed in anticipation of the protest. Continue reading

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