THIS WEEK IN TARBELL

Veteran health reporter and Tarbell columnist returns this week with the story of a reader who discovered that her mother’s cardiologist was compelling the 94-year-old woman to take an expensive prescription — and then taking $80,000 in payments and benefits from that expensive drug’s manufacturer.

Click Here To Read Trudy Lieberman’s Column, “Drug Company Payments To Doctors May Influence Prescription Choices”, On Tarbell.org

By the way, do you have a strong opinion about your employer-provided health care? Tarbell is trying to make a video about our readers’ experiences with employer-based health coverage, so whether it’s a positive or negative opinion, we want to hear from you! Please reply to this email if you’d like to share your experience.

NOTABLE REPORTING AND SOLUTIONS

Sen. Elizabeth Warren just submitted a seemingly simple bill proposal, allowing farmers the right to repair their own John Deere tractors. But if passed, it would undermine the farm equipment monopoly that independent farmers have been fighting for decades.

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The extraordinary standoff between the CDC and the drug company, Gilead, over patent rights raises a big question for the Trump administration: How aggressively should the government attempt to enforce its patents against an industry partner?

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The Justice Department announced this week that the entire Affordable Care Act — not just pieces of it — should be scrapped, adding a whole new threat to the landmark health coverage law and the tens of millions of Americans who are covered by it.

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Pharmaceutical companies try to explain rising drug costs as a way to fund research, but why are the costs rising to cover “research” for prescription drugs that never were for a cure? The Atlantic unpacks the argument.

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As he moved through the agency’s ranks, the now-acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell exchanged dozens of emails with lobbyists and other industry players discussing everything from rolling back consumer protections to airport privatization.

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McDonald’s announced this week that it would stop lobbying against employee demands to raise minimum wage to $15/hour. Whether that will be enough to compel the company to change its wage structure has yet to be seen.

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A wonky lobbying story from STAT (if you have a subscription or free trial): lobbyists for CRISPR tech are descending on Washington, but unlike traditional drug company lobbyists, they’re working hard to keep a meddling government out of their research.

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SPOTLIGHT ON STATE INFLUENCE

For 35 guests, a small, $25,000 donation opened access to an intimate dinner party with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo — one which his staff tried very hard to keep under the radar amid his rhetoric for “real campaign finance reform.”

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Montana’s Medicaid expansion program may have cost $1.24 billion, but it created more than $2 billion in economic activity and contributed to the dramatic decrease in Montanans without health coverage, which dropped 56% in three years, according to a new report.

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A Connecticut lobbying firm is being fined and held accountable for its connection to an improper spending scandal that rocked the school system.

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Do you see some local influence reporting that should be flagged in Under the Influence or the Tarbell page? Send them my way: danielle@tarbell.org