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The cost of corruption

This is Mrs. Mitch McConnell.

There was a study published by the Justice Department during the Carter Administration, and boy, do I wish I still had my copy. But I remember enough to know that they estimated the costs of public corruption at 30% of public expenditures.

That was back in the old days, when people were actually ashamed of stealing taxpayer money and tried to cover it up.

That means your tax bills are higher to cover the costs of corruption. It means your local schools are being shortchanged, and roads and bridges aren’t being repaired.

I know a lot of people who say, “I don’t care for politics, I don’t follow that stuff.”

Can you really afford not to?

Stop the robocalls!

Classic

Here’s something we didn’t know we were waiting for: Sen. Jon Tester is co-sponsoring a new bill aimed at stopping the constant flow of robocalls (26 billion last year) at the source, and you can tell your Senators what a great idea you think that is.

Imagine: No more “that number looks familiar, should I pick it up?” moments. Or calls that identify as your favorite charity, but are really trying to sell you a timeshare.

Tester’s bipartisan Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act) will soon be up for a full vote on the Senate floor.

As consumer advocates, we like this bill a lot. So we’re asking you to contact your senators and show your support for Tester’s bill. (It’s bipartisan — no one is going to yell at you!) If passed and implemented, we will finally be able to know that when a number comes up on Caller ID, it’s actually who the ID says it is. And that’s a plus for those of us on the other end.

The bill is S. 151, but they should know which bill it is. Thanks!

New consumer watchdog chief may make consumer complaints private

It’s official: Senate approves Kathy Kraninger to serve as next CFPB director

Guess she’s not interested in transparency for consumers:

Speaking to Reuters in her first interview since taking office in December, Kathy Kraninger said the agency was discussing how the public complaints database, a key source of the bureau’s investigations, should operate.

“It is on the agenda this year to address what is the public kind of discussion about what the database should be,” she said on Wednesday.

The financial industry and consumer advocates have been watching closely to see whether Kraninger would continue with a number of controversial projects begun by Mick Mulvaney, formerly the agency’s interim director and now President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

Kraninger acknowledged the database, which went public in 2012 to boost transparency of consumer issues, supported the bureau’s mission to protect borrowers, but did not rule out making it private.

CIGNA capping monthly insulin costs

nurses duties

But it doesn’t really solve the problem. Via Vox,

But there are several catches here. In order for Cigna patients to participate, their employers will have to opt into the change in plan, Stat reported. And Cigna is just one of many insurance companies out there, covering less than 1 percent of the 23 million living with diabetes in America.

“Any measure that helps only a portion of the population through opaque deals between the players responsible for this crisis is not a solution,” Elizabeth Pfiester, the founder and executive director of the patient group T1International, told Vox. “We need long-term assurance that manufacturers will be held accountable and prices will be affordable — not another Band-Aid.”

Most patients with diabetes are still going to be vulnerable to the whims of drug company pricing, since companies can still set whatever prices they wish. And no drug is better for understanding how that happened than insulin.