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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  April 6, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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04/06/21 04/06/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> the truth is that they called us social workers, but i want to ask, are we essential to the just will we make them profits? amy: essential workers denied government aid during the pandemic, some because of the immigration status, have entered their third week on hunger strike to demand assistance. we will speak to new york
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assembly member marcela mitaynes, who joined the hunger strike 11 days ago. then we look at pandemic profiteering in the medical system. as non-profit hospitals take in billions in covid relief aid, why are patients being sued over unpaid medical bills during a pandemic? and why are hospitals charging up to $3000 for a covid test? we will speak to elisabeth benjamin of the community service society of new york. >> we haveo have a moratorium on all medicalebt that reagan billions of dollars in federal and state funding. amy: then as treasury secretary janet yellen calls for a global minimum tax on corporations, we will look at president biden's more than $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. pres. biden: it is a chance to win the future, paid for by asking big corporations
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committee which do not pay any taxes at all, just to begin to pay their fair share. amy: we will speak to darrick hamilton, founder of the new school's institute on race & political economy. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. in minnesota, the doctor who tried to save george floyd's life at a minneapolis emergency room last may testified monday asphyxia was the likely cause of floyd's death, with no evidence floyd was killed by a heart attack or drug overdose. dr. bradford langenfeld's testimony came as the second week of former police officer derek chauvin's murder trial got underway. also testifying was minneapolis police chief medaria arradondo, who told prosecutors chauvin violated department policies and showed a disregard for life when he kneeled on george floyd's neck for over nine minutes.
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it was a rare instance of a police chief testifying against a former officer. >> but once was no longer any resistance and clearly when mr. floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way shape or form is by policy, not part of our training, and certainly not of our ethics or values. amy: police chief arredondo is among several high-ranking law enforcement officials who've condemned derek chauvin's actions during the trial. yet chauvin racked up 18 complaints over his 19-year career as a police officer, raising questions about why he
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remained on active duty at the time of george floyd's killing. the united states reported over 79,000 new coronavirus infections monday as cases continue to rise nationwide, led by soaring rates of infection in michigan. in montana, republican governor greg gianforte, who ended a statewide mask mandate in february and pushed local governments to drop covid-19 restrictions, has tested positive for coronavirus. governor gianforte received his first dose of pfizer vaccine four days before his positive test result, which came a day after he attended easter sunday services at grace bible church in bozeman. in waco, texas, thousands of college students who'd gathered in baylor university's football stadium to watch the ncaa basketball finals rushed the field monday night after their team won the national championship. the students packed together for celebrations, few of them wearing masks.
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meanwhile, in arlington, texas, over 38,000 fans packed the home opener of the texas rangers major league baseball team monday. the rangers said masks were required but the rule was widely flouted. it was the first time in over a year that any professional sports team in the u.s. has allowed its stadium to fill to capacity. as of monday, just 16% of texas residents had been fully vaccinated against covid-19. florida has become the latest state to open vaccinations to everyone 16 and older. the move follows accusations that republican governor ron desantis prioritized wealthy communities that were connected to political donors for vaccination pop-up sites. the biden administration has set up its own federally-run vaccination sites in florida's biggest cities to combat what it says are racial disparities in vaccine distribution. this is white house press secretary jen psaki. close 17% of florida's
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population is african-american but less than 7% of vaccinations have gone to african-americans in the state. that is one of the reasons we opened four fema sites and they serve communities of color proportionally. amy: ukraine has tightened public health measures as a surge of covid-19 cases is threatening to overwhelm hospitals. it's part of a massive wave of coronavirus infections sweeping europe and latin america. saudi arabia says it will open islam's holiest site in mecca to pilgrims throughout e month of ramadan, but only to those who've been vaccinated against covid-19 or who've recovered from the disease. public health agencies are warning haiti has yet to receive a single dose of covid-19 vaccine for its 11 million peoplewith further delays now likely to postpone a scheduled first shipment of vaccines due to arrive in may. the pan american health organization says haiti's government failed to apply for a pilot program that would have
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sped up deliveries of doses under the u.n.'s covax initiative. haiti remains in deep political turmoil after u.s.-backed jovenel moïse refused to leave office after a five-year term, as required by haiti's constitution. in february, the biden administration sided with moïse's claim that he can serve for another year. the biden administration has lifted trump-era sanctions imposed on international criminal court prosecutor fatou bensouda and another top icc official for the court's investigation into u.s. war crimes in afghanistan. secretary of state tony blinken, however, reaffirmed u.s. opposition to the probe, as well as to the icc's investigation into israeli war crimes in the occupied palestinian territories. israel's president has given prime minister benjamin netanyahu a chance to form a coalition government after elections in march failed to produce a clear winner for the fourth consecutive round of voting. this comes as netanyahu's
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corruption trial has open a court in jerusalem. he is accused of bribery and breach of trust. on monday, the former ceo of an online news site testified he was ordered by the company's owner to drop negative stories about netanyahu and to trash his rivals. prosecutors say in exchange, netanyahu enacted regulatory actions resulting in millions of dollars to the owner. netanyahu is accused of trying to push tax breaks to benefit an israeli billionaire movie producer after receiving gifts from him, including expensive cigars and champagne. nenyahu has repeatedly lashed out at reports over corruption, calling them fake news. >> this is how they tried to overthrow a powerful prime minister from the right. this is what attempt at a coup looks like. amy: back in the united states, senate democra have uniled a an to overul u.s. taxes on corporations more than three yearafter present trump and republican lawmakers cut the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.
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on monday, west virginia democratic senator joe manchin said he opposes a white house plan to raise the corporate tax to 28%, saying he might be open to a partial rollback of trump's corporate tax cut to 25%. manchin is a key swing vote in the evenly-divided senate. meanwhile, treasury secretary janet yellen called monday for a minimum global corporate income tax to help pay for president biden's proposed 2.2520 and all infrastructure and jobs plan. this comes as a new study finds at least 55 ofhe wlthies u.s. corpotions, includi dex,ukenergy, a nike, paid zo dolla in tas last yearn tens obillionsf doars in pfits. arkansas republican governor asa hutchinson has vetoed a bill that would have criminalized doctors providing gender-affirming treatment to transgender youths following
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massive pressure from activists against the legislation. the governor spoke from little rock monday. >> house bill 1570 would put the state as the definitive oracle of medical care overriding parents, patients, and health care experts while in some instances the ste must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human, and ethical issue. this would be an is a vast government overreach. amy: this bill could still become law if arkansas's legislature votes to override the governor's veto. republican lawmakers in at least 17 other states are considering similar bills. this comes just a month after governor hutchinson signed a bill into law aimed at banning trans women and girls from participating in sports. meanwhile, virginia has become the first state in the south to ban individuals charged with
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killing lgbtq people from using so-called gay and trans panic as a defense for lesser charges or a reduced sentence. the legal defense has allowed individuals accused of murder or manslaughter to argue that the victim's gender identity or sexual orientation was what provoked them to commit the crime. the legislation was introduced by virginia house delegate danica roem, who became the rst transgender lawmaker elected to a state legislature. and in missouri, people incarcerated at a st. louis jail led another uprising sunday protesting the facility's inhumane conditionduring the pandemic and demanding an end to cash bail and for court hearings to be resumed. videos posted on social media show prisoners standing in front of broken windows yelling and holding signs that read "help us."
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others lit small fires and chanted their demands to people outside the jail. this is at least the fourth uprising at the . louis city justice center since decembe according to the associated press. missouri state representative rasheen aldridge, jr., said in a statement -- "the detainees are being held without trial and unable to pay their bail, causing a system that disproportionately puts poor and black people behind bars. if we care about justice, these systems need to change." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman in new york joined by my co-host juan gonzález in new brunswick, new jersey. hi, juan. juan: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: more than a year into the pandemic and the economic crisis it generated, many workers continue to be excluded from receiving any government relief.
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these excluded workers include undocumented people -- many of them in essential services -- and people recently released from prison. well, on monday in new york, hundreds of excluded workers from across the state marched through the capitol of albany in a final push to demand lawmakers support a $3.5 billion fund that would be the first of its kind in the united states to provide financial relief and healthcare to those shut out of the current system. embattled governor andrew cuomo is now in final negotiations with legislators on a budget bill that was due last month. new york assemblymember marcela mitaynes has joined excluded workers in a weeks long hunger strike urging support for the fund. she addressed monday's rally. >> there is plenty of money but there isn't a political current
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to do the right thing. amy: a democratic majority controls both legislative houses in new york, and governor cuomo is a democrat. if passed, the state's excluded workers fund could issue payments to as many as 275,000 people. advocates say governor cuomo is pushing for a two-tiered system of access to the fund that would require burdensome proof-of-employment requirements for people who may not have access to bank records and pay stubs or other forms of identification. these are hunger striking workers ana ramirez and felipe idrovo. >> tre are my exclud workers not st me. arehousan of famies a babitte, domeic rker constructn works, streetenrs. >> iost my j last rch after eight ars. my brotherassedway.
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i wa in the hoitalith covid. i lost my aparent. i am herto raisey voice a thvoice oths. i am i dpite inemorof my brother i am in this fighin mery of myrother. amy: forore, we e joinedy neyork assemblmember mcela miynes, whas we rerted is on hunr strikeith exuded workers. before h ection la year, e ent a dede as a nant orzer. she imgrated tthe united atesrom peruith her mily when s was a cld, and y of --any ofer cstituents ar exclud workers she islso callg for a alth tax. ank yofor joing us. ur in your 12 day of hunger strike and the other people, something a wheelchairs, rolled through capitol yesterday, are in the third week -- there are 21 days of hunger strike. talk about what you are demanding. >> good morning. thank you for having me. we are asking for $3.5 million,
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that would be on par with what other new york state employees have received any unemployment benefits and also stimulus assistance. we are asking for folks that were not able to qualify for any federal or state assistance to be compensated in this way. the money could be retroactive to april 2020 through september of this year when the benefits are supposed to continue. what we are asking is to give folks an opportunity who are trying to get out of this pandemic -- we all are -- who are facing obstacles that nobody expected, who are suffering at no fault of their own. i truly believe this is the job of government. we are supposed to provide for our people and this is a moment where we need to step up.
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juan: how would the excluded workers fund function given the fact any of the folks as s been noted, are not necessarily in the employment system per se in terms of verification, in terms of the number of children in their family? how would this fund work from your understanding of it? >> what we're hearing -- and we are still trying to fight this. it is a two-tiered system. the first tier eating that bulk of the money, but they have to have an i and never come have to what pay stubs, letter from an employee -- all things that will be very difficult if not impossible to produce. the second-tier who cannot produce the things will get a very small amount.
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it just does not seem right that at the time when the city was asked to shut down, when people of privilege were able to shelter in place, that folks that did not have any other options, that needed to continue woing, did. they were exposed and then got sick. it is just not right and it is not fair they are not given an opportunity to fight this pandemic as well. so to me, the fact that folks have gone on 21 days of a hunger strike to try and call attention to this immense need -- folks have not received any type of assistance for over a year and these are families with children, families with elders. what ended up happening is communities had to step in. what we have seen is mutual aid comento placend try to provide help where the vernment has failed.
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for those people on hunger strike for 21 days who are doing this not just for themlves but for all their immigrant neighbors throughout the state of new yk, it would be a real shame they would not be able to qualify for the assistance that they truly need. the way i look at this -- this is not just giving them money, but an investment in our community, investment in our future because they will then take the money and put it back into the economy. which is what we need. this is the way we can all begin to work together and thrive and get back on our feet. juan: how has governor cuomo responded to this, especially given thes. fact, obviously, he was citing a huge budget deficit in the coming years but then there was quite a bit of financial aid that came in president biden's recovery plan. what is your sense of how the
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governor is responding to the budget impact of not only does, but the rest of the budgethat needs to be passed -- should have been passed by april 1? >> should have been passed, yes. let's understand this governor has passed a 30 budget and that is 10 years of budget cuts to truly important services and programs that hurt our most needy. so his original proposal did not include a single dime for these excluded workers. what we are doing is negotiating. so we are hopeful. we had also proposed six differt bills to tax the rich that together with comprehensively change not just the progressive tax system, but over time would start chipping away at that income inequality. what we're seeing is options on the table that are not fully
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being considered. what we're seeing is where the governor's priority is. because what he is pushing through is $1.3 billion project for pe station where he is talking about building 10 office towers. i'm not sure how the people of the state of nework who are still hurting, who are still in need could still need -- we still need much, much more are going to pay for this budget with this proposal in in it. amy: i want to go to reyna, an undocumented worker and activist with the immigrant rights group, make the road. the group held a rally last month. >> i am scared right now because i own two months rent and the landlord has been knocking on my door. i tell her, wait, wait, but he says, for how long? i'm going to take you to court. i am very scared because i am struggling. i have a job every eight days working, making $80. i can't live off $80.
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i am a household commuter. i am excluded from government support. that has a big impact on me because i'm a mother of two children. amy: assembly member mitaynes, i've a friend who went to get a vaccine shot as a bodega delivery person. they came up to him online and said, show me your pay stubs from the bodega. he said, when was the last time you saw a paystub from a bodega? and they laughed and ultimately, let him go through. this issue of documentation and what is needed in all aspects of life and also this woman talking about rent, your history before you were an assembly woman is as a crusading tenet organizer after your family lost their own homes in queens. can you talk about that and how that fits into this picture? >> yes. we lost our home in sunset park
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where i continue toive. it is part of the community i represent. i deeply believe housing is a human right. at the time i got this place, my daughter was eight years old. the only home she knew. i had to explain to her what was happening. and that year she learned gentrification and eviction. people don't understand how violent being evicd is and the trauma that it instills in u and how you carry at with you. you know, it eaks my heart to hear what is happening. although, i am also just very used to it. we are hearing things where landlords are telling tena don't care the governor is put in evictn moratorium, that is their property and they need theimoney. they're being told you have credit cards, short cards. what we're trying to do is what
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we should be focusing on i providing basics so that folks can get back on their feet. what they want to do more than anything else is to be able to get back to work and pay their bills. but they can't do that right now. i think it is morally wrong for us to ask these people to work during the pandemic and then now tell them that we can't assist you, wcan't help you because you don't have the proper paperwork. juan: assemblywoman, you recently wrote an op-ed piece in the independent where you wrote about taxation. could you talk about the initiatives that are being attempted in this budget to change that by some of the more progssive democrats in the state? >> i mentioned there is a comprehensive approach that we were trying to push and it is
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x pieces of legislation that would beg to change the income inequality. one of the things i am pushing in particular is the change in the constitutional amendment that would allow us the ability to tax intangible wealth. so what is happening right now is bause the state is not able to collect -- it does not have sufficient revenue for its expenses and it can only collect so much in tax, that it really -- it really leans on the city to be able to fill in the gap. what we see and what i am hearing, and i heard this over and over and over again through my campaign, was, you know, this issue about property taxes. it has gotten so out of control that it has become a huge problem. so every time we talked about taxing the rich, we get these
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lies and rhetoric and pushback about the fact they are richer than the rich let the city during the pandemic and went to their second home in the hamptons. the people that are living are the cost new yorkers that can no longer afford the property tax, that are tired of sending their children to schools that are underfunded, that are tired of the expensive health cost, transportation costs, and the continued budget cuts through the governor of much-needed social services. what we should be focusing on and what this legislation, along with the rest of the legislation was really trying to tackle, is we were proposing six pieces of legislation that together would bring in $50 billion of revenue for the first year and really setting down the foundation for
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ongoing revenue so that we can finally fully fund all of the services we need and start reinvesting in our communities because we all deserve to live in communities that are flourishing, not just folks that have money. amy: marcela mitaynes, thank you for being with us, new york assembly member, on hunger strike along with other excluded workers. before her election last year, she spent a decade as a tenant organizer. emigrating from peru with her family when she was a cld. next up, we look at pandemic profiteers in the medical system. the nonprofit hospitals taking in billions and it covid relief and suing patients over unpaid medical bills during the pandemic? we will look at why some charge up to $3000 for a covid test. stay with us.
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♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now! i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as the united states reports over 79,000 new coronavirus infections monday and cases continue to rise nationwide, even with the vaccines, we turn now to look at pandemic profiteering in the medical system. a new report by kaiser health news reveals some of the nation's richest hospitals recorded hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus over the past year after accepting federal healthcare bailout grants. in texas, the state's largest nonprofit hospital system, baylor scott & white health, received over $450 million in relief funds despite laying off 1200 workers. baylor is now sitting on a surplus of $815 million. appropriate i should cough during health care
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segment. the report cited the mayo clinic, the university of pittsburgh medical center and nyu langone health as other big beneficiaries. here in new york, the state's largest non-profit health system, northwell, received $1.2 billion in federal funds from the cares act. but northwell, which is run by a close ally of new york governor andrew cuomo, has faced intense criticism for some of its practices during the pandemic. -- for suing over 25 hundred patients last year for failing to pay their medical bills. it only opped suing for medical debt after a report by the community service society exposed the practice. meanwhile, "the new york times" recently revealed one of northwell's facilities, the lenox hill hospital, billed over $3000 for covid tests -- more than 30 times the typical cost. we are joined now by elisabeth benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at the community service society of new york and co-founder of the
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health care for all new york campaign. can you start off by talking about these pandemic profiteers? what are you start off by talking about northwell and what happened as patients read such dire circumstances this year. the hospital sued thousands of them. >> yes. i think is important to note that two thirds of all hospitals in america are nonprofit hospitals. in new york state come every single hospital by law is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity. and we have to remember the first tenet of medicine is to do no harm. there's a lot of talk in our health care system about putting patients first and this is not doing that. this is not taking care of patients first. suing patients rui their
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lives. it means you have to make decisions between paying your rent or paying a medical bill, putting food on your table or paying the medical bill. i think what our cash own, and we look now at everything the hospital in new york state, and found they have collectively sued over 50,000 patients despite all being charities and over 5000 patients during the pandemic, is there is a deep problem here with our so-called not-for-profit hospitals. i thinke really need to take stock as a country and say, look, either you get to be a charity and raise money and not pay taxes and 178 billion dollars for example in cares act funding went to hospitals during the pandemic from you can get all that but you must not sue your patients. suing your patients hurts them. juan: elisabeth , i'm wondering
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if you could talk more about this whole issue of the enoous money the spitals have made? i did a deep dive into the finances here in new jersey of the largest hospital chain and discovered they received about 1.2 billion dollars in grants and loans from the federal government, far more than they lost in patient revenues. and during lester as a result of the cares act funding. at the same time, they were making huge gains in their investment portfolios as a result of the tremendous drive-up in the market. so there sitting in far more -- it is a must like the coronavirus became a financial windfall for the hospital, as you say, nonprofit corporations. the federal government even gave them advanced medical
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reimbursement, which was basically a zero interest loan for these hospitals. so how are they able to get away with this? >> i think the issue is, look, we want hospitals, right? you're so grateful to the staff and everybody that works at hospitals for helping us survive this horrible pandemic. in new york, are nonprofit hospitals got will over $13 billion in cares act funding. most of the hospitals in new york i don't believe ended up with, the exception of nyu and a few others, huge surpluses by the end of the year and perhaps that is because new york was hit so hard by the pandemic. my concern is if we are going to invest our public dollars and public goods into hospitals, what business do they have in suing patients? let's talk about what happens to these lawsuits. most patients are sued and what
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happens is there is a default judgment. if you look at lenox hill for example, the hospital with a $3000 corona test, they sue patients for about $1900. they are suing patients for not very much in terms of their huge surpluses -- nearly $100 million surplus -- and they are suing patients for about $1900. altogether, they are suing patients -- they get 34 times more in their annual surplus and they get in what they're suing for patients over five years. so what is going on here? there are ruining patients lives while reaping surpluses in revenue. this is not the way to pay for health care. by suing your patients. that is the problem here. i think we as a country need to really look at how we're
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supporting nonprofit hospitals. if we are going to be investing billions of dollars to cares act funding, medicare, medicaid, then i think we have the right to demand certain practices. in the first practice should be dropped is suing no, patients of color. i think what is really important is to understand the lending tree that -- 72% of the people that they rveyed said medical debt prevented them from achieving their major milestones in life. 40% of people of color have medical debt. 137 million americans have medical debt in 20 before the pandemic. we really need to have some political action here because if your nonprofit hospital, your first tenet is to do no harm and i think that is reasonable expectation.
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it was a public outcry that stopped a public outy that stopped the humane society from killing the animals. hospitals should not be suing their patients. that should be a never event. it should be approved by the cfo and board of dectors if they must do at all. juan: art most hospitals required to do indigent care and get reimbursed by the state governments for their charity care? how do you reconcile this issue of their having to have some public good as a result of big charity and yet care continuing to sue as would any for-profit company? >> i can't reconcile it. in new york state, we get our hospitals $1 billion in what is called charity care pool funding and yet altogether there are suing people for couple $10 million. each year.
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makes no sense. when we review the pleadings -- we go to court and pull the case files, for example lenox hill, we conduct one offer of financial assistance was actually made or attested to in their court documents. the documents they use when they sue pele, they use creepy law firms, for example and at lenox hill, they're using a law firm that is alleged to have used profit servers that falsify their service -- a federal court action, they are alleged to basically use a profit server that pertains to serve patients but they really don't. then they wonder why all of the hospitals lawsuits are won based onefault. that means the patient never showed up in court. the very few that do get their pleadings and are served, when they do show up, they never have lawyers because they can afford it. what are we doing here as a society? we need to make demands -- our
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political leaders need to step up and make demands and say, these lawsuits should be never events. we need to have fair and transparent billing. most patients do not understand their bills. consumer reports did a survey and found one third of patients pay bills they don't think they even know because they're so afraid of having an adverse event on their credit report. it is out of control. we need to demand more from our not-for-profit hospitals. juan: you mention lenox hill hospital, which is part of the northwell chain headed by michael dowling very close friend and ally of governor cuomo. where is the governor on these issues these days? >> we have met with the administration several times. i cochaired a committee on indigent care the governor handled a couple of years ago.
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there were some reforms made on that charity care pool, so that was a great thing the governor did. in the state of the state, he promised he would have a one unified financial aid form that everything the hospital must use in new york state. that has yet to materialize. we have gone to the legiature and said, we need one simple uniform financial aid form. so every hospita-- there are 200 in new york task is to design their own financial aid form. if you have seen one, have seen one. in the lenox hill case come you even find the form on the website. you have to know exactly what to be looking for. after like four clicks, maybe you'll make it to the mothership website where you might be able to find a financial aid policy. they make it as hard as possible to apply for financial aid. we have never seen a lawsuit with actually said they offered
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financial aid and found the patient was not eligible. we need massive reform. amy: i would ask about the distinction in hospitals. yet the so-called not-for-profit hospitals, the private hospitals, then i'm looking at a piece by politico, new york safety net hospitals where this frontlines of the coronavirus good now facing real and. so compare them like lenox hill, northwell, etc., to new york city hospitals that serve the poorest patients facing financial ruin after being on the front lines. >> that is one of the things we did report in the middle of the summer bause the original allocation of the cares act funding was based on commercial interest, commercial insurance practices are past performance -- for past performance. new york presbyterian and northwell were getting hundreds
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and hundreds of millions in health and hospitals which has a much smaller commercial insured base of business was getting tiny amounts. that was visually corrected toward the end of the year. but the ideas the federal government thought it was ok to allocate hostal reli package based on insurance performance and not based on medicaid performance for example is crazy making, especially given the fact the pandemic as such a disparate impact on low income communities of color where our beloved central workers live and work. that was sorted out eventually. i think the allocation by the time we reviewed it in the end of december, early january, it was right-sided.
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but going back to our indigent careful that new york is at $1 billion to support the provision of charity care, that was never allocated as it ould have been to the top 25% a safety net hospitals which are public hospitals arall part of. right around -- spread around like in a better tohe so-called charities that were suing the pants outpaties. there's something deeply wrong. i don't believe one charitable hospital who was suing the patient should be getting any indigent pool care because clearly they are not following the letter of the law and really getting the financial aid out to the patients that need a. amy: before i go, there are two critical issues and we only have a few minute. one is we did the first segment on undocumented workers and california have a document of people getting health care and if you could briefly address the expansion of the affordable care act -- i don't most people know this -- who has access to
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obamacare depending on their wealth or not wealth? >> sure. two things most of the first thing on immigrant health, like the essential workers, new york state really fumbled in its budget this year. our leaders, we put together a packag of 20 land dollars. just 20 lyondell is to provide coverage to undocumented immigrants who have covid. that was unacceptable to our state lawmakers and that did not pass in our state budget where they are raising billions in revenue. that is just a total abdication of leadership by all of our lawmakers and we are completely upset about that. in terms of the affordable care act, this is extraordinary with the biden administration did. they did four thanks tell people. if you're getting coverage through the marketplace, you're eligible for more financial assistance. so you should immediately go back onto the marketplace and
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reestimate your tax credits. number two, for higher income people are now eligible for financial aid. if you ever applied for financial assistance and were turned down because of your income, go back. number three, if you get even one unemployment check in 2021, you can get a zero premium plan right now that is super good, platinum level plan. number four, there were totally paying for cobra subsidies between april and september. you get free -- the government will pay for your cobra payments, insurance premium payments when you get terminated from your job or lose your job, you can get the offer of insurance. your job insurance. you can get the government to pay for your premiums between april and september. the rescue plan is done a lot on health care coverage for americans but we're support grateful -- super grateful. amy: working people go for this information? >> you can go to
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for many states for their own marketplace and you should go to your own state marketplace and call the call cents. they can help you. you can also go to a local navigator that is a real person. they can help you sort through all of this. amy: elisabeth benjamin, thank you for being with us, vice president of health initiatives at the community service society of new york and co-founder of the health care for all new york campaign. when we come back, we will look at president's infrastructure plans. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. treasury secretary janet yellen is calling for a minimum global corporate income tax to help pay for present biden's proped $2.25 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan. yellen spoke at the chicago council on global affairs on monday. >> another consequence of an interconnected world has been a 30-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates.
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president biden's proposals announced last week call for bold domestic action, including to raise the u.s. minimum tax rate and renewed international engagement, recognizing it is important to work with other countries to end the pressures of tax competition and corporate tax base erosion. we are working with g20 nations to agree to a global minimum corporate tax rate that can stop the race to the bottom. amy: treasury secretary yellen's remarks comes as part of a broader pushy the bin ministration to propose the president's infrastructure plan. during a speech friday, biden criticized corporations who pay no taxes at all. pres. biden: this helped build the country and have been ignored or neglected for much
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too long by our government. it is a once in a generation investment on our economic future, a chance to win the future, paid for by asking big corporations -- many of which do not pay any taxes at all -- just to begin to pay their fair share. amy: to talk more about the proposal and binds plans tfind it, were joiney darric hamilt, profesr of econocs the new sool, whe he is alsoounding direor of the stitute onace & polical econy. he served as economic adviser to the bernie sanders 2020 presidential campaign. professor hamilton, welcome back to democracy now! can you assess this infrastructure plan? everything from highways and failing bridges to eldercare and childcare, and racial justice issues that people don't usually associate with an infrastructure proposal. >> the good news, the conception
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of infrastructure has been expanded to include human infrtructure as well a addressing the environment. beyond just traditional bridges and roads, which are in dire need of investment in america, we're also talking about trying to make it so people can access to care and further that those workers who deliver that care receive adequate wages, and adequate benefits, and work in adequate worng conditions will stop there's also a great amount of investment directed at improving our environment, as well as public infrastructur like broadband access,aking sure that everyone has access to broadband in the 21st century. those are some of the reay good things in the bill. juan: professor, what aut some of these details? we are talking about sums of money unheard of in the past in terms of this kind of government aid. 100 billion day for broadband.
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will this be for the actual infrastructure or will this be for subsidizing broadband costs for customers which would in essence mean giving more money to the broadband companies? how would this work, do you know? >> when you lead with the sum of money, get to put actual dollar values in perspective. we need to think about things like share of gdp that is being invested as opposed to the actual shock value of the number that is presented. in the bill come he talks about 1% of gdp going toward total investment. juan, we need to think about, are we talking about public-private partnerships for direct public provisions? so we lead with some of the good and some of the ways in which you can be approved, the scale is inadeate. if we are talking about addressing our own ability to climate change and any type of
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natural disasters, the scale needs to be larger than $2 trillion. if we are talking about ensuring there is adequate protection for workers, thinking about public-private partnerships have not always worked in the past. we need a public sector that directly competes with the private sector. that is another way of intervening that could benefit workers directly. but again, it is mixed because provisions in the bill that promote unionization, provisions that promote equity. but in addition to direct public options for jobs, direct public jobs, we also need to make sure that equity that proposed n the bill has accountability. metrics to measure how well we are doing in delivering racial justice, tribal justice. then if we are failing in delivering that equity, that there is some pathway toward
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accountability to rectify that failing. an: could you talk somewhat about the biden proposal to increase the corporate tax rate as a means of paying for some of this? also, this more recent announcement the federal government is going to try to seek a global corporate minimum tax, something that obviously will take years of negotiations with the countries of the world to come up with something like that, if it ever does come to fruition? >> that is a fantastic provision under the bill also. one can think of this bill as two parts. one is the public infrastructure and the other is -- here's the adjective i would describe other than a corporate tax hike, restoration of the corporate tax rate. not even back to historic prr to the tmp administration. and some of the other administrations.
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calling for 20% corporate tax rate and in calling for that 28% tax rate, including provisions to avoid loopholes for sevier county's and corporations that are able to skate that responsibility. as you point out, and secretary yellen pointed out in the beginning of the segment, there is also the race to the bottom are transnational and they paid countries, nationstates, against one another. so putting a baselevel tax rate at a minimum of once that race to the bottom and corporations being able to bid one nationstate against the other. another way to conceive of this is thi of it not only as an industrial policy, but evea trade policy group tax reform to make sure we have fair standards only think about ways in which
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nationstates engage across borders. amy: progressives are continuing to call for an even greater investment in infrastructure projects. this is new york congressmember alexandria ocasio-cortez speaking on msnbc last week. >> we're talking about realistically $10 trillion over 10 years. i know that may be an eye-popping figure for some people, but weeed to understand we are in a devastating economic moment. millions of people in the u.s. are unemployed. we have a truly crippled health care system and a planetary crisis on our hands and we are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. amy: can you respond to that? and lay out your vision of what infrastructure project, program, bill, law promoting racial equity should look like. you write about this all the time. >> the congresswoman, as usual,
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is spot on in thinking about the scale of the problem and the size of the bill is incongruent. juan, you lead with that to trillion dollar figure but if put in perspective, if we understand the growth and equity for the top 1.1% has as much of the nations wealth as the bottom 90% and then if we add the dimensions of race and gender where once race is more predictive of one's economic stance than class -- enemy education or even job that you work at, that is a problem. that will require any investment well beyond what is being proposed. if we think about our environment and what we will need to shore up our resiliency to not only climate change but the next pandemic, it is going to require something more in the order of what the congresswoman has proposed.
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even framing. ultimately, weeed public provisions that are more direct. some of the approaches of using tax incentives using public-private partnerships, we don't have to do away with those. they have their place. but what we really need is real balance of power where the public sector is exercising there might in a way to avoid, just like talking about race to the bottom across borders, race to the bottom and labor markets if we have direct jobs where an individual can choose to go work in the private sector with proper conditions, with proper wages -- that in and of itself will discipline the private sector. i call for federal job guarantee. that is a direct way to ensure every worker literally has a job that desires to have a job at an adequate wage with proper benefits. it not only gives that worker direct jobs, those workers that are are not in the public sector
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would be able to better bargain where they are for better wages, it etc. one quick example. if you are a waitress putting up with sexual harassment at your job or a black man or black woman being discriminated in your job, you have less agency to deal with that if you d't have an alternative. and building up the public sector employment can do is provide that alternative and also provide a way that is building our public infrastructure that goes directly to the publicn areas that frankly the private sector is not adequately producing, chs makg our environment more resilient. amy: on that note, i want to thank you for being with us, darrick hamilton, professor of economics at the new school, founding director of the institute on race & political economy. democracy now! is currently accepting applications for a senior news producer to join our
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