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This Week in Tarbell
After pouring at least $45 million into lobbying so far this year, the health industry has already succeeded in pushing its rhetoric into the Democratic presidential debates. If you’re opening this newsletter between commercial breaks of tonight’s debate, be sure to read this analysis of how debate hosts are absorbing Big Health’s talking points against Medicare For All, and how public support is still strong despite health industry lobbying.
And be sure to visit our partner site, Maplight, for more coverage!
Notable Investigations and Solutions
Fraud is a part of the health insurance industry game. If you don’t believe me, ask the people who are trying to prosecute insurance scammers. The industry is doing nothing to stop fraud because the cost doesn’t fall on them, a ProPublica investigation revealed.
Public support is increasingly turning toward stricter gun control, and the National Rifle Association appears in financial shambles. But meanwhile, powerful individual gun lobbyists have stepped in to exert new influence.
If you or your child still holds a federal student loan, you might be quite familiar FedLoan Servicing, which holds one-third of the nation’s $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. But FedLoan Servicing is looking to get familiar with President Trump as they face scrutiny for denying 99 percent of public-service loan forgiveness applicants.
A slew of wealthy conservative individuals have come together to start a nonprofit, but not with an altruistic aim. The newly formed Foundation for Government Accountability is working to take out Medicaid and food stamps, starting in West Virginia, Kentucky, Kansas and Mississippi.
Though surprise medical billing has a shocking level of bipartisan support, and even manages to catch the eye of President Trump, the proposed legislature to inject transparency into hospital pricing has a slew of powerful opponents, hiding within and around physicians associations.
Newspaper publishing companies are entering K Street to take on one of Congress’s favorite targets: Facebook and Google.
A new bill emerged in Congress this year, providing compensation for victims of accidents on cruise ship. But this has long been a proposal that cruise lines have fought tooth and nail.
The Kochs’ key political group, Americans for Prosperity, is coming to aid of Silicon Valley as the FTC and Congress take a scrutinizing look at Big Tech.
Spotlight on Local Influence
BP feigned support for Washington governor Jay Inslee’s progressive carbon pricing plan, but they withdrew interest at the last minute. From that point on, InsideClimateNew found they joined a coalition of Big Oil players who threw major money against any of Inslee’s plans for carbon fees following that.
While presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls for reduced military spending, stakeholders in Vermont question his convictions, based on decades of support for military projects in the state, and VT Digger found heavy fundraising support during his 2016 presidential campaign from employees of the largest military contractors.
Uber, the decentralized ride-hailing company with a rack of sexual harassment and worker rights complaints against it, is taking up a creative (and illicit) tactic to retain its lucrative fees on food service deliveries in New York: hire lobbyists to pose as concerned restaurateurs, according to the New York Post.
Maryland’s longest serving Senate president has generated a long list of supporters, and they’re showing their support at a lavish fundraiser for a leadership school in his name, Maryland Matters reports.