Sunday, September 26, 2021

Play

New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.

Play

The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.

Play

A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Shaheen: 'Citizens United' Stopped Plan to Curb Surprise Medical Billing

Play

Friday, January 17, 2020   

CONCORD, N.H. -- As the tenth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision approaches, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said the nation's "broken" campaign-finance system has stopped Congress from fixing the issue of surprise medical billing.

As Shaheen recalled, lawmakers had been working on making sure that patients don't get sticker shock from their medical bills, when two huge, Wall Street private-equity firms poured $50 million into ads that misled and confused the public. Shaheen said a group with an innocent-sounding name -- Doctor Patient Unity -- was making scary claims about possible impacts on patients.

"Turns out, it wasn't concerned about patients at all," she said. "What they were concerned about was the bottom line of two private-equity companies who had invested in doctors that specialized in surprise billing. And the voters had no idea."

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, groups have spent $1 billion of so-called "dark money," hiding donors' identities, since the verdict in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

Supporters defend the court's decision, however, saying that political speech, including ads, should be protected by the First Amendment.

A report from the watchdog group Public Citizen found that the top 25 donors are responsible for nearly half of all contributions to super PACs.

Since being enabled by Citizens United and similar decisions, Shaheen said, their influence is stopping Congress from doing what the public wants and needs.

"This dishonest campaign around surprise medical billing is 'Exhibit A' in how broken our campaign-finance system is - the confusion, the misinformation and the destruction that happens because of Citizens United," she added.

A bill that would require disclosure of dark-money sources has passed the U.S. House, but is being blocked from discussion by Republican leadership in the Senate.

Polls show more than three-quarters of Americans would like to see Citizens United overturned. The tenth anniversary of the decision is Tues., Jan. 21.



get more stories like this via email

The climate resilience package includes $1.5 billion for measures to better defend the state against wildfires. (Peter Buschmann/U.S. Forest Service)

Environment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …


Social Issues

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …

Social Issues

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…


According to the World Health Organization, about one in six people age 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …

Environment

SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…

Roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. (JP Photography/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …

Environment

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021