Category : Global News
PBS NewsHour on Thursday, December 12, ran an in-depth story on RIP Medical Debt, announcing the charity had passed the milestone of forgiving $1 billion in unpayable healthcare bills.
The NewsHour report ended with the book, END MEDICAL DEBT, written by the charity’s founders, edited by Judah Freed and published by Hoku House. The book educates readers about the historic causes and proposed cures for medical debt in America. PBS noted that each copy sold forgives about $500 in medical debt.
GREAT NEWS! As a result of the PBS NewsHour segment on RIP Medical Debt and the book, End Medical Debt, because each copy sold forgives about $500 in unpayable medical debt, as of Tuesday morning, the book had sold enough copies for RIP forgive a full $1 million in debt!
Please share this post and ask your friends and family to buy copies as holiday gifts for their friends and family. You will earn the heartfelt thanks of those struggling to pay medical bills causing hardship for their own families.
If you are on a smart phone, to access the homepage and sidebars, scroll to the bottom of this screen and switch viewing mode from the Mobile to Desktop version.
If you are using a tablet, the site automatically loads in Desktop view, so rotate the device to landscape (horizontal) to see the sidebars.
If on a laptop or desktop, Mac or PC, the site is optimized for you.
Enjoy your explorations!
– Judah Freed
End Medical Debt, written by industry insiders Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico (founders of the charity RIP Medical Debt), realistically and clearly looks at the causes and possible cures for more than $1 trillion in unpayable medical debt in America. Our national conversation on healthcare can no longer ignore the urgent medical debt crisis.
In our fervent public debates about the broken U.S. healthcare system, we have overlooked the devastating impacts of America’s urgent medical debt crisis. Everybody knows somebody struggling with their medical medical bills.
End Medical Debt, written by three industry insiders, is the first book to bypass political posturing to look clearly and realistically at the actual causes and possible cures for more than $1 trillion in unpayable medical debt in America. Medical debt causes hardships for individuals, families, communities, and the nation as a whole.
Voicing decades of experience in debt collections, debt buying and healthcare management, the authors of End Medical Debt bring deep expertise to the problem of medical debt. Jerry Ashton has more than 40 years of experience in the credit and collections industry. Robert Goff recently retired from 40 years in healthcare administration management. Craig Antico has 30 years in collections, debt buying, outsourcing, and consulting.
Drawing on their industry knowledge, the authors lay bare the inner workings of our healthcare system. They show how it produces medical bills that people cannot ever pay, including insured middle-class people who think they are covered. They tell how the early hospitals that focused on patient health evolved into today’s healthcare conglomerates focused on patient revenues. They dissect the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) to show where theory and reality do not match. They expose how our veterans get laden with medical debt that effectively tells them, “No thank you for your service.”
The authors together began RIP Medical Debt, the charity made famous in 2016 by John Oliver on HBO for abolishing $15 million in medical debt. Since 2014, RIP has purchased and forgiven more than $500 million in medical debt. RIP is on track to abolish $1 billion in medical debt by 2020.
Expressing the authors’ divergent progressive, moderate and conservative viewpoints, End Medical Debt offers pragmatic insights on such diverse solutions as promoting healthier behaviors to reduce costs and debt (personal responsibility), imposing price controls on drugs and care services, reforming health insurance, fixing the Affordable Care Act, making Medicaid an opt-out program for all who qualify, adding a Medicare Option to the ACA for people over age 50, or enacting “Medicare for All” for single-payer universal healthcare.
The authors disagree on the solutions, but they all agree on their one simple act of charity — buying and forgiving medical debt. Debt forgiveness is necessary but not sufficient. At best, it’s an interim solution for medical debt until we can agree on a better financial structure for the broken U.S. healthcare system. End Medical Debt is a major step in that direction.
“End Medical Debt confronts an important, sad truth: No one asks to be sick. It’s hard enough being poor; it’s hard enough being sick. But being poor and sick becomes a death sentence for some, a life sentence of indentured servitude for others. The bills are almost beyond belief. I went into the hospital overnight with chest pains, and the hospital bill was $25,000. It’s time to lift this yoke off the necks of some of the most vulnerable and defenseless members of society, and that is precisely what End Medical Debtdoes.”
— Alan Grayson, Former U.S. Congressman (D-FL)
End Medical Debt does more than describe the unsustainable structure of our current health care system. The book demonstrates what was always the solution: People helping people, voluntarily and without coercion. The current healthcare system has created a debt-enslaved class with few options. Necessity will produce many solutions, but in the meantime, End Medical Debt is offering hope from those willing and able to pay forward their success. Humanity at its best.”
— Ernest Hancock, Publisher, FreedomsPhoenix Talk Show Host, “Declare Your Independence”
“End Medical Debt explains that among all the developed countries, only Americans risk the probability that medical treatment will be financially inaccessible or that a family will be made destitute from a serious injury or disease. The sacrifices families make for medical care of loved ones is heartbreaking. The experience and wisdom of authors Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico have resulted in the system presented in their exciting new book. Their charity, RIP Medical Debt, may well help us to turn the corner on this major problem facing quality medical care in America.”
—Nancy A. Niparko, M.D., Attending Neurologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
“While care providers fight to make ends meet and corporate interests seek out profit margins everywhere, politicians struggle to strike a balance as more and more Americans are compounding their serious health issues with unprecedented and unmanageable medical debt. Meanwhile, a small self-appointed group of experts from the world of health care finance are seeking solutions for consumers, providers and a broken system. Where there are no acceptable answers yet, people are creating them. Jerry Ashton, Robert Goff and Craig Antico are putting lifetimes of experience to work in End Medical Debt to spread the word that medical debt is a personal and national crisis. More so, they are offering answers that are gaining national attention.”
— Kevin A. Cahill, New York State Assemblyman; Chair, Assembly Committee on Insurance; Member, Assembly Committee on Health
“End Medical Debt is exactly what is needed to jumpstart the much-needed national discussion about our current dysfunctional for-profit health care system, and what to do about it, so patients like me don’t have to experience the financial and personal hardships caused by medical debt. We are a forgotten, disposable, invisible universe of people. There are millions of us. This book explains with passion and honesty the nightmare of medical debt”
— Joel R. Segal, Former senior legislative assistant, U.S. Congress, 2000-2019, Co-author, HR 676: “Expanded and Improved Medicare For All”
“America spends more on medical care than any other country, and the resulting medical debt is our nation’s top reason for bankruptcy and financial ruin. I’ve seen the impact. End Medical Debt offers clear answers on what people can do for themselves and society to end this scourge.”
— Ed Asner, Actor, Activist
In our age of “fake news” with journalists widely distrusted by the public, we may benefit from a better understanding of what is ethical journalism, how to identify ethical journalists, and how to support more of it.
Despite what some pundits would have us believe, good journalists do exist. They work each day with the highest professional ethical standards in mind.
According to The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), ethical journalism is “truthful, compassionate, independent and transparent.” We need ethical journalism now more than ever.
No journalist is ever wholly objective on any news topic, especially if controversial. However, good news stories written by ethical journalists are not that hard to spot.
Good journalists report all the sides in any issue as accurately and as equally as possible. Good journalists make sure all opposing viewpoints are represented fairly. No special interest get special treatment in the selection of quotes or facts.
Good journalists may have their own views on the people and events they cover, especially when controversial, but you will find no trace of it in their writings. Their news stories are free of bias. A news story may have an “angle” or “news hook,” but never a slant.
Good journalists verify all facts in a story from at least two reliable “sources,” more if possible, and ideally from a variety of sources. In a story on a traffic accident, for instance, statements from the drivers are balanced by statements by at least one eye-witness along with quotes from the investigating officer and ideally the police accident report.
Good journalists ask the tough questions. They dig for the story behind the story. The investigate and report the truth as best they can learn it. They do not accept anything they are told at face value. They stay skeptical without becoming cynical.
Good journalists verify each “fact” from as many sources as possible, the more the better. In the canon of ethics for journalists, news stories citing only one single source are discouraged, although necessary at times, but that single source must be carefully vetted and corroborated before the news story ever appears in print.
A reporter may quote a news source stating an opinion (placing the quote where it best fits the story flow), but good journalists differentiate opinions from facts in all news writing. Even if they agree, they accept as given that beliefs are not facts.
Good journalists write tight and get it right. Simple nouns and verbs do the job of reporting the news. Good news stories are free of undue adjectives and adverbs.
Features stories may show off a writer’s creativity and perspective, but not hard news stories. Opinions belong on the editorial page, not the news pages.
Good journalists are skilled at writing “straight news.” Their stories usually use an “inverted pyramid” style. The most crucial facts are on top, called “the lead,” followed by a “nut graph” or “neck” paragraph (or two) placing the news event into context. Nut graphs help readers make sense of the news The rest of the story presents facts and quotes in descending order of importance.
A playful example:
Headline: “Man bites big dog.”
Lead: “A local man yesterday was first to bite into a 15-foot hotdog offered free to the public at the grand opening of the new Mustard’s Last Stand food cart downtown.”
Nut graph or neck: “The food cart is among a dozen small businesses opening this month as part of the city’s economic revitalization initiative.”
FYI: The inverted pyramid style goes back to the earliest days of print newspapers. News stories often were and still are cut for length, from the bottom up, to fit all the stories into the available space (the “news hole” is determined by how much advertising is sold). If only the first paragraph or two sees print, that’s still enough to report the core news.
Now you have the basics of what makes any news story trustworthy.
I’m bringing all this to your attention because this week, April 22-28, is “Ethics in Journalism Week.” In connection with this observance, SPJ.org offers a simple four-part Code of Ethics that all good journalist follow:
If you read a news story in any publication that meets these ethical standards, then you are reading the work of good journalists.
We will continue to suffer fake news and unreliable reporting only if we tolerate it. Talk back. Object to unethical journalism, Never accept it a “normal.”
Whenever you spot ethical reporting in a newspaper or magazine, or on the internet, you can support quality journalism by sending a short, polite note to the editor or publisher. You can help the venture stay in business by thanking the advertisers or other backers, saying you found them through a publication you trust.
We may dislike the news being reported. We may dislike what the facts imply about some notion of reality we hold dear. That’s fine. Demand solid evidence and debate the facts openly. Truth and the rule of law uphold democratic republics.
Demand and support ethical journalism. The Fourth Estate remains our best guarantor of freedom and democracy in America and the world.
Judah Freed worked four decades in Denver as a local to national and international journalist before moving to Kauai in 2010. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hawaii chapter of SPJ.
A Parable of Liberty Lost and Found is the fiction preamble of my nonfiction book, Making Global Sense, inspired by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Paine wrote Common Sense to spark national revolution. I wrote Global Sense to spark world evolution.
Thomas Paine began Common Sense with a parable about a remote community struggling to govern itself. He used the fable to show how various forms of government arise, to argue against hereditary monarchy, and to help create in America the first modern republic.
In updating his allegory in “A Parable of Liberty Lost and Found,” I aim to show how governments change when people and societies lose a genuine connection with Spirit, by whatever name we prefer for the divine creative force. We face this peril now, so I’m retelling Paine’s cautionary tale for us today. I’m adding an optimistic alternative ending to encourage the practical idealism of common global sense.
Paine published Common Sense in Philadelphia on January 10, 1776. This ebook excerpt from my unpublished book was released in Hawaii on January 10, 2018.
As an experiment, I’m offering this ebook to show a prospective publisher that there’s public support for my work, so the more readers I can report, the better. Therefore, if you are willing to help, you can get your own free copy by subscribing to my “Global Sense News” e-letter or by subscribing to my “Global Sense Blog” (use the form on the right). Your support is profoundly appreciated!
Read an Excerpt from:
A Parable of Liberty Lost and Found
- Imagine with me a small group of brave humans who settle a large, remote and unoccupied island paradise surrounded by a vast ocean….
More generations pass. Government makes basic choices that people once made for themselves. Government decides when to harvest the field and where to grind the grain. Government decides who can tend the sick and how much it costs to be ill.
Government sets all the rules for commerce and industry as well as personal conduct in the community and home.Habits of mindfulness that once ensured joyful harmony have been replaced by habits of dull obedience. Compliance with the government earns social approval and rewards, which satisfy most people’s need for safety and love.
Spiritual consciousness is left to a few mystics and faith healers. They are respected not revered, or tolerated as quirky amusements, but denied any real social influence.
A descendant of preacher Al Cartman, Horace B. Cartman, runs for president. His name is tainted. Voters reject him. In retaliation, he urges election reform. He says public funding of campaigns denies “freedom of speech.” The government should pay for running the elections themselves, of course, but paying for all campaigns across the island, even in remote districts, is unfair to those suffering taxpayers who care only about their own backyards, the working stiffs, struggling to feed their hungry families, bless them.
Cartman and his secret backers offer a new constitutional amendment. Any private person or group may contribute to any campaign — citizens, businesses, trade unions, civic clubs, religious groups, even charities — but taxes may not fund anything beyond election administration and vote counting.
Foes of the measure finally win one concession: Donation records become public documents. The provision is meaningless, however, because campaigns already routinely keep two sets of books. It’s a difference that makes no difference.
A campaign of united citizens buys time on the newfangled broadcast radio and television networks. Letters to the editor run in the newspapers with a plain-folks appeal, “All of them darn campaigns should be paid for only by those who care about them, not by everyone,” writes one man. “Taxes for election campaigns is unfair to all of us like me who never even vote!” The amendment passes by a slender margin.
Competition for campaign donations soon spawns rival political parties. Each party adopts a platform of proposed laws, which the party machine sells to voters like a bill of goods. Scoundrels readily sway voters with patriotic appeals, saying the other party is an evil threat to the nation and must be feared. Bigots use racial slurs to divide and conquer the opposition. Passions get aroused and manipulated in this game of graft.
Meanwhile, each party ensures all candidates running for office, whether for the congress or the presidency, first prove their loyalty to the gentry. Elections convince the common people that their democracy is real, but the campaigns are a pretense, held for sport, actually. The ruling class still rules, men still rule, no matter who wins any election.
The elites are more powerful than ever. Wealthy donors assume they own the politicians they help to elect. Politicians spend more time raising funds than passing laws.
Still, the legislators’ job is lawmaking, so they generate a vibrational energy field attracting more problems to solve with more laws, hoping they look good to voters. They never see their trap.
If you like this except from the middle of the story, if you are curious about all that happens on the island over many generations, their ups and downs, how the fable applies to our real lives today, please subscribe and download the whole ebook. Most folks tell me it takes about a half hour to read. I believe you will feel the time is worthwhile.
Thanks and blessings,
Newsletter Subscription Premium
Subscribers get a free copy of my ebook, “A Parable of Liberty Lost and Found,” the preamble from my proposed book, Making Global Sense. Please use the form in the right-hand column. Thanks!
The “double opt-in” newsletter is free. You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. You are not subscribed until you reply to that email.
We never share or sell subscriber information, subject to law, so you will never get unwanted solicitations or spam. Your privacy is protected by MailChimp.
FOUND this rare video today from the first 1986 Windstar Foundation “Choices For the Future” symposium in Aspen, hosted by John Denver. The video touches me because it’s still relevant to our world today, three decades later.
I attended the annual summer gatherings from 1988 until the last one in 1995, two years before JD passed. For most of those years, I was blessed to serve as the press room aide. I volunteered in the active Colorado Windstar Connections program, too. Connected my personal and spiritual growth with social and economic activism. Changed my life.
Hope you see for yourself what stirred my heart and mind:
SOME in the GOP wish they could dump Trump, but do millions of Americans wish to see Trump dump democracy?
Trump’s most fervent followers want Donald John Trump to be the 45th President of the United States, whatever it takes to get the job done, democracy be damned. This scares me because a Trump victory in the electoral college looks increasingly difficult or doubtful but not downright impossible. With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, The Donald is shouting about “conspiracy” and a “rigged” election.
Despite ample researched evidence that widespread vote tampering is not possible and is not happening, depute ample researched evidence that individual voter fraud is relatively rare, despite facts and logic, a Reuters poll show half of the electorate believes Trump about the election system begin rigged, The belief casts doubt on the entire democratic process, from local town councils to national government.
In a brazen act of hypocrisy and chutzpah, like a child having a temper tantrum, “man-baby” Trump refuses to accept the voting results will be valid “unless I win!” He plays the blame game to deny how he shot himself in the foot with his sexist, racist, and xenophobic outbursts.
Instead of thinking matters through, Trump’s most ardent True-Believer followers parrot his words, and some threaten to act on them by launching a violent revolution if he loses.
Why would Trump do and say such things, and why is all this surreal absurdity so dangerous for America and the world?
AMID the restart of my life after the second cancer surgery, I’ve installed a new site theme, chosen by Melissa. Navigation requires clicking the line stack in the upper left corner or scrolling to the bottom of every screen. As time allows, I will work on making navigation better. Meanwhile, here’s an interim menu bar:
The site redesign reflects a life redesign. My restart occurs on every level.
Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto created this beautiful yet terrifying time-lapse map of the 2,053 nuclear explosions on earth between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May 1998. The video leaves out all tests since 1998, including North Korea’s questionable nuclear tests.
Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever that country detonates a nuclear weapon. A running tally appears on the top and bottom bars of the screen. look for the national flags to pop up as countries enter the “nuclear club.”
Hashimoto began the project in 2003, saying his goal was showing “the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.” The video starts very slowly in 1945 and builds momentum with the crescendo starting around 1962, tapering off only recently. The overall effect is overwhelming and chilling.
Ideally, this video motivates you to effectively advocate the peaceful resolution of our world conflicts.
Kauai County Council representative Gary Hooser talks about why he drafted Bill 2491 and what he hopes it will do for Kaua’i. He also lets us know what we can do to help to get it passed and what we can do as citizen action to stop the poisoning of our island from chemicals and GMO pollens. Please repost this video on your own website.
When it comes to civil rights, the U.S. Supreme Court seems to give with one hand what it takes away with the other.
Many celebrated yesterday’s decisions to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied equal liberties to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. In a parallel ruling, the high court rebuffed efforts to undo a lower-court ruling that same-sex marriage should be legal in California.
In both of these cases, the Supreme Court ruled that all people in the United States should enjoy equal rights and equal protection under the law, as provided in the U.S. Constitution.
Kauai, 25 May 2013 — Ever since January 2013 when Dr. Vandana Shiva spoke on Kauai about the GMO research crops contaminating the island ecology, Garden Isle residents increasingly have been speaking out against the biotech companies on Kauai.
The latest demonstration took place today on Kuhio Highway in Kapaa. At least 200 people from all ages and backgrounds lined both sides of the road. Waving signs and chanting slogans like “No label, no table,” opponents of genetically modified foodstuff called for GMO labeling as well as the eviction of the biotech companies from Kauai. Lawsuits are pending, apparently.
The national and international movement against GMOs continues to grow. If you are not already involved and vocal, please do your research, get the facts behind the industry propaganda, and then add your voice to this vitally important cause.
Given the rapid growth of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement across America and the world, these songs are as relevant today as more than 40 years ago.
The original recording of the classic Buffalo Springfield song brings it all back with vivid images.