NY Attorney General Targets Drug Companies

drugs_in_hand

A crusading leftist attorney general in New York is going after health insurers for allegedly refusing to cover expensive hepatitis C drugs that are likely to prove cost-saving in the long run.

The push by the Left and some market participants to impose price controls on drugs, especially hepatitis C medications, was examined by Dr. David Hogberg in last month’s issue of Organization Trends. (Hogberg is also author of Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians.)

Previously dubbed “Inspector Gotcha” by one critic, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a progressive Democrat, has reportedly issued subpoenas to insurance companies in hopes of unearthing proof that they are skimping on care in order to fatten their bottom lines.

Next stop? Probably a demand for price controls.

So-called health care reform organizations view expensive drugs as a growing threat to government-provided health care, regardless of the potential benefits the drugs may bestow on patients.

“Some of the drugs have been the subject of consumer lawsuits, a continuing inquiry by the Massachusetts attorney general and a warning by federal officials that state Medicaid programs may be violating federal law by denying patients the medication,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Pharmaceutical companies say the drugs are worth the cost because they result in long-term savings in care.”

Activist groups in Washington State are suing insurers Group Health Cooperative and BridgeSpan for allegedly restricting access to hep-C medicines except for the “most severely ill” people based on “financial concerns.” Groups in California filed similar lawsuits last year against Anthem Blue Cross.

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Philanthropy Notes: February 2016

For donors interested in education reform, the Philanthropy Roundtable has a new “Wise Giver’s Guide” that focuses on how donors of all religions and none can best support Catholic schools. Those schools, especially in the inner city, often serve mostly poor, non-Catholic students, and they help make the case for school choice: the idea that all students and parents should have the freedom to choose the best schools for their situation, and therefore that all schools should be forced to compete for private and government funds. This guidebook, available at PhilanthropyRoundtable.org, has lots of practical advice for donors who want to join in the innovative progress that has been achieved in recent years by cutting-edge funders like equity-capital pioneer Russ Carson of Partnership for Inner-city Education and Rob Birdsell, B.J. Cassin, and John Eriksen of the Drexel Fund. As the book’s editor Karl Zinsmeister observes, a sector of schooling that not long ago looked in danger of going extinct has been saved by “entrepreneurs who know that competition is the best route to success,” and “donors who are willing to share their wealth with schools that improve lives.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) bid for the Democrats’ presidential nomination has boosted interest in the Marxist group known as Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose full name is Democratic Socialists of America Fund Inc. The Wall Street Journal reports that around 10,000 people visited the group’s website the day of the Democratic debate in Las Vegas in October—which is more than six times the normal level of visitors. Since Sanders jumped into the fray in May, new membership applications have jumped by 100 to 200 percent on a monthly basis. “This is a gift from the socialist gods,” said Joseph Schwartz, a DSA vice chairman and Temple University professor. Around 120 people attended DSA’s biennial meeting in Pennsylvania in November, a third more than the previous meeting.

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Fanatic David Brock’s hardball tactics frighten his comrades

david-brock

Former conservative journalist David Brock has built an empire of activist groups since he went over to the left years ago. Once an avowed enemy of the Clintons, he’s now their best buddy, wielding influence by churning out a constant stream of pro-Hillary propaganda.

He’s created a bunch of groups that play a big role in politics, including Media Matters for America, the Correct the Record super PAC, and steered money to leftist causes through George Soros’s Democracy Alliance. Some call this network the “Brocktopus.”

But Brock’s desperate scorched-earth slime offensive against insurgent Democrat contender Bernie Sanders is giving Democrat insiders heartburn.

According to The Hill:

Key Democratic players are worried that Hillary Clinton ally David Brock could be hurting her image and hampering her chances of winning the presidency.

In interviews over the past month, Clinton donors, fundraisers and operatives have told The Hill that the concerns about Brock’s comments, particularly some of his attacks on Bernie Sanders, stretch all the way to the top of Clinton’s political machinery.

A leading figure in the Democracy Alliance, the liberal equivalent of the conservative Koch brothers’ donor network, said donors he associates with would like to put Brock “back in the can.”

“I have heard people express concern that what he does could be harmful generally” to the campaign, the donor said.

Longtime Clinton fundraiser Bill Brandt, an Illinois-based businessman and personal friend of Bill Clinton, said of Brock, “David is well meaning but I think perhaps like a zealot. He should keep it in check a bit. I don’t think this needs to be about tearing Bernie down. … It’s getting nasty and it doesn’t need to be.”

One Brock comment that drew backlash regarded his plans to raise questions about the 74-year-old Sanders’s health, seen by many as a low blow at the senator’s age and one that left Clinton vulnerable given attempts by conservatives to portray her as being in fragile health.

After news reports emerged that Brock was going to raise the issue of Sanders not having released his health records, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta shot off an unusual tweet on Jan. 17 to Brock: “Chill out. We’re fighting on who would make a better President, not on who has a better Physical Fitness Test.”

[…]

 

 

 

 

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Briefly Noted: February 2016

A blast email sent by Jesse Moore, Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White House, urged prominent entertainers to use Twitter to promote gun control, which highlights once again the incestuous relationship between Hollywood and the Obama administration. The anti-gun propaganda email was addressed to “Family” and its subject line was, “Artists & Entertainers Unite to #StopGunViolence.” It read, FoxNews.com reports, “Below you have: short and long-term action steps, more info on POTUS’s actions, highlights from YOUR Tweets thus far (thank you!), and draft Tweets for you to build from if helpful.” Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mark Ruffalo tweeted “@POTUS is taking steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.” Singer Andrea Bocelli tweeted to his 207,000 followers, “FACT: Each year, more than 30,000 American lives are cut short by guns. It’s time to #StopGunViolence.” Dan Gainor of the Media Research Institute commented, “This seems an unprecedented abuse of White House influence to manipulate the public into believing celebrities genuinely supported the president.” Gainor added, “Hollywood is just an extension of Obama’s press office.”

Iran booster and former Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering has been involved in a project using Palestinian protesters to vilify Israeli soldiers, journalist Caroline Glick reports. In an email to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pickering “recommended using leftist NGOs—including Peace Now, which he mentioned by name—to destabilize the political situation on the ground in Israel … and set out a plan, which in his view would force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ask the Americans to initiate a new diplomatic process with the Palestinians.” Pickering urged that Saul Alinsky-style tactics be used against the Israeli government and be captured on film. Provocations aimed at the Israeli military “could create the kind of action which no army can easily use force to deal with.” He urged that Palestinian women demonstrate “peacefully under the eyes of the world, [because] the chances are much less force will be used against them, since that action has its own consequences.” He wrote that “there might be peaceful demonstrations against all aspects of the occupation on the Palestinian sides—roadblocks, land confiscations, new settlement activity, around military government installations and perhaps in Area C, which they do not control.” Soldiers would look mean as they stopped female demonstrators from interfering with military operations or disrupting the local economy. Pickering has ties to the pro-Iran Islamist front group known as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which a federal court ruled is a tool of the brutal, totalitarian Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Stop me before I donate again

Leonard Harlan, former chairman, Castle Harlan, Fleur Harlan, board member, Manhattan Institute and Bernard Schwartz, chairman and CEO of Bls Investments, attend the Film Society of Lincoln Center tribute to Catherine Deneuve in New York, U.S., on Monday, April 2, 2012. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** TKTK

Bloomberg has an interesting piece on left-wing donor Bernard Schwartz today that highlights the absurdity of so-called campaign finance reform and the Left’s crazy ongoing assault on Citizens United.

The headline is, Top Clinton Donor Wants A Law Against $1 Million Gifts Like His.

Mickey Mouse figurines and photos of grinning politicians surrounded the 90-year-old investor Bernard Schwartz in his Manhattan office on Thursday. Four days earlier, new federal filings showed he gave $1 million to a super-PAC supporting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, making him one of her top backers and part of the campaign-finance system that her rival Bernie Sanders calls undemocratic and corrupt.

Schwartz, a former head of satellite maker Loral Space & Communications who’s no stranger to hefty political donations and was once a target of suspicion about the favors they buy, mostly agrees with the Vermont senator.

“PACs are a bad thing, it distorts the political process,” said Schwartz, who now manages his money as chairman of BLS Investments. “Rich people have the opportunity to get access.”

 Besides his August gift to Priorities USA Action, which supports Clinton, Schwartz has sent about $2.5 million of soft money to Democratic groups since 2010, according to Federal Election Commission filings. That year, a federal appeals court helped lift caps on what donors can give to some political action committees. Schwartz wants new limits, but he chuckled when asked how that clashed with his own generosity. He isn’t holding back, he said, as long as supporters of the rival party aren’t. […]
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Soros Luvs Hillary

Soros_droopy

Radical philanthropist George Soros gave $8 million to pro-Hillary Clinton super PACs in 2015, Kenneth P. Vogel reports in Politico.

Six million of those dollars were donated in December. That tidy sum went to Priorities USA Action, which was part of the Brocktopus when it was founded. (The neologism refers to the network of activist groups and PACs created by sleazy ex-journalist David Brock. Brock severed ties with the outfit last year.)

Left-wingers pay attention to Soros’s campaign donations.

As Vogel writes:

Soros is seen as a bellwether among rich Democrats. He is one of the few liberals who has shown a willingness to drop eight-figures in an election cycle, having donated more than $20 million in 2004 to groups that tried to oust then-President George W. Bush. After the failure of that effort, Soros dialed back his big-money political spending.

Despite intense courtship in 2012, Soros gave only $1 million to Priorities USA, which at the time was dedicated to supporting President Obama’s reelection. That year he told a close Clinton ally that he regretted supporting Obama over her in the 2008 primaries and praised Clinton for giving him an open door to discuss policy, according to emails released last month by the State Department.

Priorities USA was among the many super PACs assiduously courting him heading into 2016, and his huge check is sure to be interpreted as an encouraging sign headed into an election cycle in which conservative billionaires are expected to donate more than $1 billion to super PACs and other unlimited money groups.

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Philanthropy Notes: January 2016

For donors interested in education reform, the Philanthropy Roundtable has a new “Wise Giver’s Guide” that focuses on how donors of all religions and none can best support Catholic schools. Those schools, especially in the inner city, often serve mostly poor, non-Catholic students, and they help make the case for school choice: the idea that all students and parents should have the freedom to choose the best schools for their situation, and therefore that all schools should be forced to compete for private and government funds. This guidebook, available at PhilanthropyRoundtable.org, has lots of practical advice for donors who want to join in the innovative progress that has been achieved in recent years by cutting-edge funders like equity-capital pioneer Russ Carson of Partnership for Inner-city Education and Rob Birdsell, B.J. Cassin, and John Eriksen of the Drexel Fund. As the book’s editor Karl Zinsmeister observes, a sector of schooling that not long ago looked in danger of going extinct has been saved by “entrepreneurs who know that competition is the best route to success,” and “donors who are willing to share their wealth with schools that improve lives.”

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Briefly Noted: January 2016

President Obama’s Chicago-based nonprofit group, Organizing for Action (OfA), has trained “more than 10,000 leftist organizers, who, in turn, are training more than 2 million youths in [Saul] Alinsky street tactics,” according to the Hoover Institution’s Paul Sperry. This “army of social justice bullies” will carry on Obama’s campaign to fundamentally transform America after he leaves office in January 2017, continuing his push to punish America for its imaginary sins and to promote manufactured controversies. Some observers have compared OfA to the government-supported goon squads that Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Cuba’s Castro brothers use to harass and intimidate their domestic opponents. OfA units brought muscle to the 2011-12 fight in Wisconsin over laws that reformed the state’s out-of-control government labor unions. OfA has also bludgeoned Democrats that Obama deemed insufficiently left-wing, especially red-state congressional Democrats who had been wavering on Obamacare.

The terrorist-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wants to make America safe for Sharia law. So it’s not surprising that on Dec. 2 after 14 Americans were gunned down in San Bernardino, Calif.—an event the Heritage Foundation labeled the “75th Islamist-inspired terrorist attack or plot in the U.S.” since Sept. 11, 2001—CAIR tried to grab hold of the media narrative. CAIR, which the United Arab Emirates designated a year ago as a terrorist group, set to work crafting a storyline about the mass-murdering Muslim married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik to ensure Islam wouldn’t be blamed for this latest massacre committed in its name. CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, who is also an Executive Board member of the California Democratic Party, first played dumb, saying at a press conference, “We don’t know the motive. Is it work, rage-related? Is it mental illness? Is it extreme ideology? At this point it’s really unknown to us and it is too soon for us to speculate.” Two days later on CNN, Ayloush changed his tune, blaming America for the shootings. “Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy, as Americans, as the West, have fueled that extremism.”

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David Bowie Understood the Vital Import of Intellectual Property

A wonderful, timely column from Seton Motley of Less Government:

Bowie_Bonds

David Bowie passed away on Sunday. To say he was an innovative guy – would be the largest of understatements. He created, imbued and embodied multiple music personas – reinventing himself over and over again. He parlayed his multiplicative rock music success into fashion icon status – and numerous Hollywood and Broadway gigs.

All of which barely touches on his inventive approach to the business of being David Bowie. He was an avant-garde entrepreneur – who saw around the curve of the Earth just a little bit further than most people. He created out of whole cloth ways to make being David Bowie even more highly lucrative – and allow others to share in the earnings. And he intuitively understood how technological advances would help – and hurt – the business model of music and all things intellectual property.

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Philanthropy Notes: December 2015

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson is proposing eliminating all tax deductions, including those for charitable contributions and mortgage interest payments, as part of his flat income tax plan. He is the only Republican in the race to propose dropping the charitable deduction. Carson said charities have no reason to worry, because under his plan Americans will have more money to spend and will be more inclined to give. “The fact of the matter is people had homes before 1913 when we introduced the federal income tax,” he said. “We had churches before that, and charitable organizations before that.” The Alliance for Charitable Reform and other nonprofit trade associations oppose abolishing the charitable deduction.

So much for Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto: The company’s philanthropic arm is giving $2.35 million to race-baiting community organizers, including $500,000 to help the Black Lives Matter movement. Presumably, the money is intended as community outreach: critics say only 2 percent of Google’s workforce is black. The extreme-left Ella Baker Center for Human Rights of Oakland, Calif., co-founded by self-described “communist” and former Obama administration official Van Jones, is to receive $1 million from Google.org, half of which will go to co-founder Patrisse Cullors, to help develop software to report police violence. Cullors is known for her rants about so-called white supremacy and her conspiracy theories in which the U.S. is carrying out genocide against African-Americans.

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