How much do you know about recycling in the bathroom? Photo: Johnson & Johnson
To test your recycling knowledge, Earth911 put together a pop quiz about recycling items in a place you may never have considered: the bathroom. See if you’re fit for a (toilet) throne, or whether your ideas about recyclables need to be flushed down the drain. READ MORE »
The Republicans have made big promises to their ultra-wealthy financial backers: Should they take the Senate, they promise to cut ‘entitlements’ and pass the savings on with more tax cuts for the 1%.
This isn’t fear mongering. This is taking them at their word. Republicans have promised to raise Medicare age and cut Social Security benefits.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who would become chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposed legislation to raise the retirement age to 70 and supported President Bush’s plans to privatize the system.
Representative Bill Cassidy, who hopes to replace Mary Landrieu as senator from Louisiana, has pledged to raise the retirement age to 70 and turn Medicare into a voucher program.
Senators Ron Johnson and Ted Cruz both refer to Social Security as a “Giant Ponzi Scheme.” Cruz went further, going on the record with the Texas Tribune for privatization. As Texas solicitor general, he even sued the federal government to strike down Medicare’s prescription benefit.
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona said he’d prefer “savings in entitlement programs rather than defense spending.”
Campaign for America’s Future has defeated similar bad ideas before. We’ve done it when Democrats are in charge, and we’ve done it when Republicans held all three branches of government.
In 2010, Representative Paul Ryan and House Republicans tried to use their new majority in the House to raise the retirement age and cut benefits. We fought back and prevented a “Grand Bargain.” Right-wing GOPers wore their folly around their necks in the 2012 election and it helped re-elect Barack Obama.
In 2015, the assault is likely to be a retirement age of 70 and yet another attempt to replace Medicare with vouchers.
We will not let them savage Americans who are vulnerable because of retirement or disability.
You’ve likely seen the TV ads for knee and hip replacements. These implants are big business in America, and why not? Who doesn’t want to feel better, play longer.
But there’s something important you don’t know. Most hips and knees aren’t required by the FDA to be proven safe and effective before they’re implanted in our bodies.
And despite manufacturer claims that implants are safe and of high quality, the largest U.S. companies won’t back them up with a warranty if they fail – dumping the cost to replace them on patients or taxpayers. Really?
Just like the warranties that cover defects in cars and computers, artificial knees and hips should come with a guarantee so the manufacturer – not you or Medicare – pays to replace them due to a defect. Already more than a million surgeries are performed each year, and that’s expected to reach 4 million by 2030 as industry markets these joints to younger Americans.
When an implant fails, it can require complex revision surgery that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Recently, Johnson & Johnson recalled a metal hip after one in eight patients needed it replaced within just five years. Our research found that all the major hip and knee makers have recalled a product, or line of products, in the past decade.
Without a warranty, it’s unclear who pays: the patient, the insurance company, or Medicare – which taxpayers end up covering. Only one major manufacturer has a warranty, and it’s just on one knee product. For all other hips and knees, companies aren’t on the hook for the replacement cost, despite implants ringing up billions in annual sales.
By taking action, you’ll be joining tens of thousands of other consumers sending an email directly to manufacturers’ headquarters. The more emails we can send, the more we can hold companies accountable for their products!
Health Care for America Now released new research today that shows big pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars by systematically overcharging taxpayers and seniors for drugs that they sell for a fraction of the cost in other countries. Since we released our research hours ago, the story has been reported by Politico, The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch and Think Progress. We’re expecting to see a lot more coverage, but we wanted to share our research directly with you first. Check out the blogpost by HCAN Executive Director Ethan Rome, which was published by Huffington Post and Daily Kos today.
By Ethan Rome, Executive Director, Health Care for America Now
Here’s an outrage that must be changed: Big Pharma has been systematically price-gouging the Medicare program for seniors and people with disabilities — and raking in billions in excessive profits. The 11 largest global drug companies made an astonishing $711 billion in profits over the 10 years ending in 2012, and they got a turbo-charged boost when the Medicare Part D prescription drug program started in 2006, according to an analysis of corporate filings by Health Care for America Now (HCAN). ??The drug companies hold the power to charge America’s consumers whatever they want. Worse, Medicare — the nation’s largest purchaser of drugs — is prohibited by law from seeking better prices. The result of this shortsighted policy is dramatic. In 2006, the first year of Medicare’s prescription drug program, the combined profits of the largest drug companies soared 34 percent to $76.3 billion. And unlike other industries, such as Big Oil, drug companies get something even better than a tax subsidy — they get a government program.
There is nothing wrong with a company making profits — that’s what they’re supposed to do. But the drug industry’s profits are excessive as a result of overcharging American consumers and taxpayers. We pay significantly more than any other country for the exact same drugs. Per capita drug spending in the U.S. is about 40 percent higher than in Canada, 75 percent greater than in Japan and nearly triple the amount spent in Denmark.
HCAN reviewed the last decade’s financial filings from the 11 prescription drug giants: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Merck, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Even as millions of Americans struggle to afford their medicines and as Republicans in Congress threaten to cut seniors’ benefits, these corporate behemoths have extracted $711.4 billion in profits for Wall Street investors. The drug companies’ annual profits reached $83.9 billion in 2012, a 62 percent jump from 2003.
There are two reasons why it matters that the drug industry is booking eye-popping profits. First, American consumers and taxpayers are footing the bill, and second, we could do something about it. ??It’s against federal law for Medicare, the nation’s biggest health plan, to use its unparalleled market power to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. This makes no sense. If the policy were changed, taxpayers and consumers would save huge amounts of money.
Simply empowering Medicare to get the same bulk purchasing discounts on prescription drugs as state Medicaid programs would save the federal government $137 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Eliminating price-gouging on that scale would go a long way toward addressing the fiscal challenges that are constantly under discussion in Washington — without harming seniors and middle-class families. This proposal has been supported by President Obama and is in the House Democrats’ budget plan. It is reportedly in the president’s 2014 budget plan as well.
Our politicians give all kinds of tax breaks and subsidies to big corporations that don’t need them: Big Oil. Wall Street. Companies that ship our jobs overseas. Every gift to a special interest, including allowing Big Pharma to overcharge Medicare, is an expenditure of scarce tax dollars. That’s called wasteful spending.
When it comes to addressing our country’s fiscal challenges, we shouldn’t even talk about cutting Medicare or any services people depend on, as the Republicans have proposed. Instead, we should eliminate indefensible special-interest tax breaks and subsidies for big corporations that don’t need them.