Friday, October 22, 2021

Play

Some states entice people back to the workplace by increasing safety standards and higher minimum wage; Bannon held in Contempt of Congress; and the latest cyber security concerns.

Play

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress; Trump announces new social media platform TRUTH Social; and the Biden administration says it will continue to expel migrants under Title 42.

Play

An all-Black Oklahoma town joins big cities in seeking reparations; a Kentucky vaccination skeptic does a 180; telehealth proves invaluable during pandemic; and spooky destinations lure tourists at Halloween.

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

California has collected more than 600 tons of unwanted prescription drugs since the Take-Back Day program began in 2010. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)

Health and Wellness

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out …


Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE - This month marks the four-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, and an art project aims to help incarcerated survivors heal by telling …

Social Issues

OGDEN, Utah - Utah is one of only a handful of states that taxes food, but one state legislator says taxing groceries should become a thing of the …


In a new poll, 71% of all registered voters support strengthening rules to reduce oil and gas methane pollution, including 73% of Independents and 50% of Republicans. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

CASPER, Wyo. - A strong majority of voters across party lines say they want national rules similar to those passed in Wyoming to reduce methane …

Health and Wellness

ARLINGTON, Va. - Although COVID-19 rates have gone down, the virus continues to hit the Hispanic community especially hard. Now, a new campaign aims …

Child-care advocates say if North Dakota doesn't boost funding for the system, more families might pull out of the workforce because of access issues. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. - A portion of American Rescue Plan funding sent to North Dakota has yet to be divvied up. Groups that want to improve the child-care …

Social Issues

PITTSBURGH - As businesses across the country deal with a massive labor shortage, Pennsylvania aims to entice people back to the workplace by …

Environment

ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that mandates monitoring the state's drinking water for "emerging …

 

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