We’re Going The Wrong Way

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/were-going-the-wrong-way/

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Excerpt:

Science has provided America with a decent idea of which areas of our country will be most devastated by climate change, and which areas will be most insulated from the worst effects. Unfortunately, it seems that population flows are going in the wrong direction — today’s new Census data shows a nation moving out of the safer areas and into some of the most dangerous places of all.

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Some of the examples are genuinely mind-boggling. For instance, upstate New York is considered one of the country’s most insulated regions in the climate crisis — and yet almost all of upstate New York saw population either nearly flat or declining. At the same time, there were big population increases in and around the Texas gulf coast, which is threatened by extreme heat and coastal flooding.

Similarly, the city of Philadelphia is comparatively well situated in the climate crisis — but it saw only modest population growth of 5 percent. It was surpassed on the list of biggest cities by Phoenix, which saw an 11 percent population growth, despite that city facing some of the worst forms of extreme heat and drought in the entire country.

Author(s): David Sirota, Julia Rock

Publication Date: 12 August 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

The New York City Unions Whose Backdoor Deal Sold Out Retirees, Helped Insurance Industry

Link: https://www.newsweek.com/new-york-city-unions-whose-backdoor-deal-sold-out-retirees-helped-insurance-industry-1604661

Excerpt:

In recent years, leadership of some of the nation’s largest unions have publicly opposed single-payer health care proposals, angering their rank-and-file and forcing Democratic politicians who back single-payer to take on a key constituency.

In New York City, for example, the umbrella organization for the city’s public sector unions—the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC)—recently helped the health insurance industry block a statewide single-payer bill, on the grounds that their members wanted to keep the health care benefits for which they had sacrificed wage increases.

But it turns out that the MLC, which bargains for health care benefits for city unions, was also engaging in backdoor negotiations with the city, resulting in a proposal to switch nearly a quarter-million people from Medicare to privately administered Medicare Advantage plans.

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Following the 2018 cost-cutting agreement, union leaders and officials came up with eight proposals to meet the cost-cutting requirements, including switching to a statewide single-payer system or setting up a self-insurance system.

A January 2021 study by The New School found that the city could save about $1.6 billion per year if it adopted a self-insurance program, as most major cities and large companies have done. That would involve setting up a health insurance plan just for the city’s employees and paying for claims directly, rather than paying premiums to a health insurance company which tends to be more expensive because insurance company profit margins are so large.

But since the negotiations between the MLC and Office of Labor Relations were held behind closed doors, retirees don’t know whether this option was ever considered.

Author(s): JULIA ROCK, THE DAILY POSTER

Publication Date: 28 June 2021

Publication Site: Newsweek

Report: FBI Now Probing Cuomo’s Corporate Immunity Law

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/report-fbi-now-probing-cuomos-corporate

Excerpt:

The probe follows a Daily Poster investigative series detailing how one of Cuomo’s biggest donors, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) — a lobby group that represents hospital systems and nursing home operators — said it “drafted and aggressively advocated for” the corporate immunity provision. Cuomo’s administration quietly inserted the measure into his state’s budget as thousands lay dying from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes. 

Critics say that the immunity law removed a key deterrent to corporate malfeasance, and victims and their families were subsequently stripped of their legal rights. Cuomo’s original executive order shielding front line health care workers from lawsuits was widely reported, but not the governor’s separate budget language extending immunity to hospital and nursing home corporations’ executives and board members. 

Author(s): David Sirota, Joel Warner, Andrew Perez, Julia Rock

Publication Date: 18 March 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster

The American Rescue Plan’s Money Cannon Is Great, But Not Enough

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/the-american-rescue-plans-money-cannon

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Excerpt:

As a spending bill, the ARP’s impact cannot be overstated. It is the mirror opposite of the Trump tax cuts, targeting most of its benefits to the bottom end of the income ladder, rather than the top. It will send stimulus checks up to $1,400 to an estimated 280 million Americans, continue additional $300 weekly unemployment benefits until the end of August, and distribute up $3,600 to families per child through monthly payments over one year beginning on July 1.

These three measures are expected to increase the incomes of the poorest 20 percent of Americans by an average of 33 percent, while the poorest 60 percent could see their incomes increase by an average of 11 percent, according to estimates from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. One estimate suggests that the legislation will slash child poverty in half.

Author(s): David Sirota, Julia Rock, Andrew Perez

Publication Date: 11 March 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

Exposing Corporate Climate Denial

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/exposing-corporate-climate-denial

Excerpt:

Meanwhile, investor efforts to require political spending disclosures at individual companies were halted on many occasions by large asset managers like BlackRock and Vanguard, which have regularly used their immense shareholder voting power to shield companies from transparency.

Now with a new SEC chairman, transparency advocates see an opportunity for progress. 

“People want to know who companies are bankrolling,” said U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.). H.R. 1, the democracy reform package passed by House Democrats earlier this month, includes a bill from Levin to repeal the Republican measure blocking the SEC from requiring companies to disclose their political spending. 

Author(s): Julia Rock

Publication Date: 10 March 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster

How Wall Street Kills Grandma

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/how-wall-street-kills-grandma

Excerpt:

The study from University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago and New York University researchers evaluated data from 15,000 nursing homes across the United States, alongside Medicare patient data, to assess the impacts of private equity ownership on patient outcomes. In all, the researchers found that the deaths accounted for “about 160,000 lost life-years.”

Private equity firms typically take over existing corporations with borrowed or investor money and then impose cost-cutting measures to maximize revenues — often in preparation for selling off the newly stripped down firms at a profit. In the health care sector, private equity buyouts have been associated with lower staffing levelsmore frequent citations for health and safety violations, shortages of supplies like ventilators that are crucial for COVID patients, and other failings tied to the constant imperative to cut costs.

In all, 70 percent of nursing homes currently operate as for-profit businesses, far more than other healthcare facilities. Only about one quarter of hospitals, for example, are for profit.

Author(s): Julia Rock, David Sirota

Publication Date: 22 February 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

COVID-19 Vaccine Developers Ask the SEC to Help Keep the Secret of How They Set Prices

Link: https://www.newsweek.com/covid-19-vaccine-developers-ask-sec-help-keep-secret-how-they-set-prices-1565904

Excerpt:

When the U.S. government awarded over $10 billion in contracts and advance- purchase commitments to drug companies working on COVID-19 vaccine and treatments, it did not require the recipients of government money to agree to offer their products at fair prices or share intellectual property rights to enable faster production.

Now, two of the companies awarded those contracts—Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson—are trying to prevent shareholders from voting on resolutions to require the companies to disclose information about the impact of government funding on vaccine access.

Author: Julia Rock

Publication Date: 1 February 2021

Publication Site: Newsweek