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BOTTOMLINE: Negotiating Drug Prices Will Make Affordable Health Care More Affordable

Publisher’s Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

Congress is preventing Medicare from performing one of the basic elements of cost savings. An element that is critical to the profit line and in some cases critical to the survival of a business. Negotiating based on all of Medicare’s clients creates a lower cost per unit than if each individual insurer negotiates its own price. Bulk negotiation and purchasing is the answer! Bulk purchasing via direct negotiations with drug manufacturers by Medicare could save billions of dollars.

The 2003 overhaul of Medicare included a concession to the pharmaceutical industry that prevents Medicare from negotiating drug prices directly with the manufacturers… Instead, the individual insurers pay for drugs based on their individual fragmented negotiations, a process which guarantees higher prices.

The drug prices for the Veterans Health Administration and Medicaid, which are negotiated by the federal government, are much lower than those paid by Medicare. A recent study by Carlton University and Public Citizen, an advocacy group, found the negotiated prices are generally 1/3 less than those paid by Medicare. Medicare pays the highest prices on the planet, for drugs manufactured in the USA. The same drugs are exported around the world and delivered for prices that are more often than not, one-tenth of prices in the USA. The same study estimates that negotiating Medicare’s cost could save 16 billion dollars per year.

Supply/Invest in low or no-cost education for students who contract to repay with a commitment to social service, such medical school med, in exchange for five years of low-cost service to be provided over a 20 year period.

Ben Jealous: Sanders Is Qualified to Tackle ‘Racism, Militarism and Greed’

Ben Jealous

Ben Jealous

By New America Media, Question & Answer, George White

From 2008 to 2012, you served as president of the NAACP, an organization that does not endorse political candidates. As a public figure, you’re now free to make an endorsement. Why are you endorsing Senator Sanders? 

My generation was the first targeted in an era of mass incarceration that accelerated as a result of laws enacted in the 1990s. Our national priorities should include an effort to move us away from a society of mass incarceration to a country that provides better education and an economy that produces good-paying jobs. Senator Sanders is pushing for that shift.

Regarding my criteria, I look at the litmus tests that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., provided. He said the first test of genuine leadership is whether the candidate is a follower of consensus or a molder of consensus. Senator Sanders is a molder. The other consideration is the candidate’s stand on issues related to what Dr. King called the giant triplets – racism, militarism and greed. Bernie has been the most consistent opponent of the policies and politics that promote those anti-progressive attitudes.

After Iowa and New Hampshire, the presidential campaigns move to states that are more racially and ethnically diverse – South Carolina among them. Some say Senator Sanders will not garner enough votes from communities of color to get the nomination. What are your thoughts?

The mainstream media continues to tell us that African Americans will vote en masse for Hillary Clinton. However, I see a different trend – African Americans are increasingly turning to Sanders. As a volunteer surrogate, I will campaign for Bernie in South Carolina and other states. In the world of politics, the time we have to win more support in South Carolina is an eternity.

African Americans and Latinos have higher unemployment rates and studies show that black and brown communities have not benefitted as much from the recovery from the Great Recession. How would Senator Sanders address those disparities? 

Historically, a leading cause of bankruptcy among African Americans is the cost of health care. Also, Latinos are among those more likely to be uninsured. The cost of medical care continues to be a threat to our communities. Bernie Sanders, through his advocacy of a national health care plan, will do more to reduce those costs. Also, education is a key to achieving the American dream and Bernie would make college free…He’s identified the primary political obstacle to a fairer economy that would help more people realize the American dream: unrestrained Wall Street spending on political campaigns.

As you know, there are millions of undocumented people in the U.S. living in the shadows – many of them Latino and many are Asian, the fastest growing immigrant population in the U.S. One Republican candidate says they should be deported and some candidates say the undocumented should never have a path to citizenship. Tell us about Senator Sanders’ views on immigration. 

Senator Sanders supports comprehensive immigration reform. As a believer in the dignity of every person in this country, he would be the greatest champion of immigration reform we’ve ever seen in the White House.

We’ve all seen the spate of videos of black men being killed by police officers in situations that – in the view of most – did not require the use of deadly force. Policing is a local issue. What can a president do about this issue? 

Senator Sanders is the only candidate who supports the creation of a national standard for the use of force. Others want standards to be defined on the local level – the status quo.

Senator Sanders has been outspoken about the threat of climate change. As you know, the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program says contaminants from power plants and factories in or near communities of color are also a threat. In addition, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission recently announced it is investigating whether discrimination was a factor in state decisions that led to the Flint water crisis. Is environmental justice a Sanders priority?

Yes. He is a fierce defender of a clean environment for all. As president, he would take action to preserve our planet and would urgently address environmental injustices such as industrial contamination and infrastructure failures that are poisoning black and brown communities. With regard to Flint, he has called for the resignation of the governor of Michigan.

You’ve organized campaigns against voter suppression measures in a number of states. Senator Sanders says our political system is corrupt and rigged. If Sanders is elected, what would he do about these political participation issues?

There’s a connection between voter suppression and big money in politics. Senator Sanders is not just talking about the growing imbalance between the haves and have-nots – he’s also talking about reining in greed. The Koch brothers and other industrialists are making huge campaign donations as they contribute to the destruction of the environment. Bernie wants campaign finance reform and won’t take special-interest money. The average contribution to the Sanders campaign is $27. That’s why bankers fear Bernie. He’s shown that the people will fund a campaign when they’re concerned about our democracy.

We’re also going through the biggest wave of voter suppression since the Jim Crow era. It’s an attempt to suppress large numbers of progressive voters. Bernie’s campaign is creating the kind of enthusiasm we need for a large voter turnout. He’s showing how we can bring people together and change the system.

“Who’s really Pimping who?”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Running around thinking you are running things, and ain’t running nothing! [Satan] has fed you so many rotten apples with worms that you think they taste good. Sorry boo-boo… hate to burst your bubble, but you have been bamboozled, conned, led astray , run amok, dupe, tricked, fooled, swindle, hoodwink; you have been deceived… You see, Satan has been pimping from the third chapter of the Bible onward. He has opened up God’s Word to us, seeking to interpret it, to apply it, and offer an invitation; and you bought into his lies; you ate the apples; you took him up on his invitation; knowing that he is the master destroyer of the souls of men; knowing that he is the one who tempts, lies, deceives, murders, sins, and who is the author of every wicked act that has ever been committed. The pimp of all pimps and you want to hang out with him! Slap yourself awake! My bag…. He just did it for you!

Satan, prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour [1Peter 5:8]. His M.O. [Method of operation or Modus operandi]. It is all very simple. He cannot have his office in heaven back, and he cannot stop Jesus from doing his work [Matthew 16:18]. So, all Satan has left to do is to destroy people by tying them up so well in sin that they cannot reason and understand the Gospel. But the apostle Paul, in [2Corinthians, chapter 2 and verse 11], says that we are not to be ignorant of the schemes, or the plans, or the stratagems, or the tricks of Satan. We need to know how he works. We need to know something of his character, something of his person, something of his approach. And since we have the Word of God, which unmasks Satan’s disguises, and which reveals his schemes, there’s really no reason to be ignorant.

I want you to know that Satan is deadly, defeated, damned, and without hope. In this state he craves company in a morbid bid for revenge. And you and I are the top priority in Satan’s eyes for attack and conquest. But he has no power in the life of a believer, unless we give it to him. That’s right! Jesus freed us from Satan’s power, and as long as we abide in Him, the devil has absolutely no power over us. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Gal. 5:1) Refuse to make deals with Satan, no matter how attractive the trinkets. Refuse to be a commodity that is for sale to the highest bidder. Refuse Satan’s insistence to relax in the passenger seat of your life. Don’t be like Esau; so driven to satisfy his craving that rather than endure the few unpleasant minutes that restraining himself would entail, he made the biggest mistake of his life. He thought every minute he denied himself would seem an eternity, but the real eternity was his never-ending regret over having sold his future for a mouthful of pleasure. He could never undo his devastating loss (Hebrews 12:16-17). Don’t eat the apples!

So how can one keep from being deceived? Listen to Paul’s advice to Timothy in [2Timothy 2:10-26]. Deception comes when we are not grounded in the Word of God. Some simple ways to get grounded in the Word of God; Read the bible, or listen on Audio CD’s, watch and listen on DVD’s. Find a bible believing church, worship and get connected. Join a small group who are Christ followers and process life together. Allow a person of faith, good character and integrity, to mentor you, to become your accountability partner. Get involved in a weekly or daily devotional. Learn the importance of prayer, and practice it.

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” [Ephesians 3:14-19]