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This Week in Tarbell
Doctors are quick to prescribe pre- or follow-up appointments for any condition or operation: routine X-rays, EKGs, vitamin D testing, you name it. But these seemingly helpful, or at least innocuous, “cascade” procedures are not necessarily helpful to your health, and they’re certainly burdening the health care system, Trudy writes this week.
Notable Investigations and Solutions
Big Pharma’s Big Bills: Want proof that 2019’s drug pricing debates made pharmaceutical companies nervous? Check their lobbying disclosures: STAT News found that companies spent $120 million lobbying Congress, plus PHRMA broke its previous lobbying record.
BP Cheers Deregulations: The Trump Administration recently pulled the teeth out of the landmark environmental law that would make it much easier for companies to drill, extract and release chemicals without regulations to protect wildlife and human life. Recently discovered documents show that BP has been pushing the administration to weaken this Nepa process since 2018.
Microsoft Fights for its Offshore Accounts: When the IRS came down on Microsoft for shuffling its profits to Puerto Rico and evading taxes, the company fought in court and lobbied Congress to undermine the tax agency and write its own tax laws.
Pentagon’s Troubled Books: The Defense Department had to make $35 trillion in accounting adjustments in 2019 – a total that’s higher than the entire U.S. economy. Experts say the Pentagon is “double, triple and quadruple counting their money as it got moved between accounts” and that the department is struggling to keep its books straight.
Solution – Reaching the Unreachable: When news outlets drop in to get a story and leave, homeless individuals and incarcerated people feel that journalists will never listen to their full story. The co-founders of Law @ The Margins are trying to change that by working deeply with marginalized communities, and they explain how and why.