This week in tarbell
The propaganda that our founder Wendell Potter used to churn out — and that my former colleagues still churn out — was intended to mislead, deceive and obscure the truth about the health care system in the United States. This week he highlighted the FUD — fear, uncertainty and doubt — that his former colleagues spread around the Medicare For All debate.
As it turns out, FUD was surprisingly demure at Tuesday’s House Rules Committee hearing, though it was still present if you looked between the lines. Wendell recaps the discussions that took place during the meeting for Tarbell.org
This week, we’re introducing Behind the Curtain, a new series of short, data-driven insights into the people, corporations and forces that pop up in our weekly newsfeed. This first one is from yours truly, looking into the first company charged for its role in the opioid crisis, and the organization it hides behind to disguise as an independent community pharmacy group.
Notable reporting and solutions
The pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt (formerly Questcor) rose prices 97,000% on a drug that treats infant seizure disorder and bribed doctors and staff to increase sales, whistleblowers say.
With no progress on establishing safety monitoring rules, hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines have been built without state-regulated monitoring and community risk analysis. And part of the reason might be the regulating agency has significant in fossil fuels, Sludge reports.
South Sudan is investing a critical sum of money — $3.7 million — into the lobbying firm Gainful Solutions to prevent the formation of an African Union-South Sudan court to prosecute war crimes.
Future Majority, new “dark money” super PAC — which does not disclose donors — emerges, and flexes its ties to Obama-era operatives and appears to be preparing support for Biden 2020.
Voters are sick of companies like Amazon reaping massive profits and paying no corporate taxes. 2020 candidates are noticing, and modifying policy as a result.
A U.S. District court judge called out UnitedHealthcare for denying coverage of a commonly used prostate cancer treatment because they deemed it “experimental.”
DCCC is pressuring candidates to drop a progressive candidate who is challenging a democratic candidate in Illinois who has regressive views on LGBTQIA rights and will hold the line against Medicare For All.
2020 candidate Amy Klobuchar called out big pharmaceutical companies for employing “pay-for-delay” tactics to keep generics out of the market. Kaiser Health News notes that presidential candidates are jumping into wonky health care language, indicating Medicare For All will be a premier topic.
Spotlight on Local Reporting
The features editor at Pennsylvania’s Philly Magazine did not think much about the costs of his maintenance MS drugs because he was paying under a co-pay. Then the company changed their health plan, and the new $3,180 bill opened up the wild world of rising drug prices to him.
After oil and gas industry proponents were blocked from influencing Colorado politics in the last election, they’re now working to recall the newly elected state representative who governs the state’s largest oil-producing district.
Almost no candidates in Nevada were ignored by the mining lobby, and highly important politicians like the governor and lieutenant governor received as much as $18.5 million from the industry in their last campaigns. Nevada Capital News did a roundup of state influence this week, so be sure to check it if you have stakes in the state.
The tech lobbyists that claim to hold your privacy rights so dearly are working hard to water down California’s consumer privacy bill, which allows users to see what data companies collect and opt out of data sales.
As California is reconsidering its energy industry, the state’s three utilities lobbies pitched a combined $1.3 million into state politics.
Colorado tobacco lobbyists have been trying to get ahead of a bill that would hike cigarette and nicotine taxes, with thousands in lobbying and a social media campaign that asserts politicians are taxing advantage of the high taxes.