Thom Hartmann says we have to get rid of the for-profit motive in healthcare

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Thom Hartmann says we have to get rid of the for-profit motive in healthcare. Does he mean it should be illegal to make a profit? Or does he mean that we should try to persuade our fellow man not to be motivated by profits. Is there room in our society for people who are motivated by profits and those who aren't? Why is bad to have a profit motive? Who decides which motives are better? Define profits.

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TheFirstLeftist
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It's bad that profit is the motive IF health care is seen to be a 'product' to be applied to all--and acted on accordingly. And, I think that the reason should be fairly obvious. If profit is to be that part of the application that is to be taken by those who finance such application above all its costs, and that is to be the incentive of applying it as a universal application, any centralized 'command and control' mechanism so situated could essentially take whatever profit it wants at will--and, if profit is the primary motive in such an action, will do so.

It's the same point Thomas Jefferson had against Alexander Hamilton's suggestion that a 'nationalized (and centralized) bank' take over (and centralize) all the state debts. Jefferson foresaw that, in doing so, such a centralization of financial power combined with a centralization of political power will offer essentially unlimited possibilities for corruptibility to usurp anything like a true democracy of free people acting with it. All centralized profit motives can do that--whether the centralized organization acting on it is corporate or government--and it can especially do so when the centralizing power is both corporate and government....Jefferson's concerns and warnings should be coming back to haunt about now...

By the way, having people making a living on what they do is NOT the same thing as 'organizational profit'--as you probably well should know. In fact, again as present situations indicate, 'organizational profit' (as the only motive) can end up with people making less of a living than what they previously did in some cases....especially if they fall outside of the 'command and control' mechanism of such an organization....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Mr. Wendell Potter worked for a large private health insurance company in an executive position for many years. Slowly, it dawned on him that more and more clients were having their claims denied. Potter left the industry to become a critic of it, revealing many of the practices that he himself once took for granted and now disagrees with completely.

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Robindell
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The basic problem is that everything in life can't be viewed from a profit standpoint. Falling in love or having children is a poor choice from a profit standpoint. Aiding someone in need, helping the sick, feeding the hungry and the like will never be profitable. But a society is judged by how it treats its least fortunate. Worry about profit when it comes to commercial goods and services and accept that some things that make us decent human beings will never show a money profit.

DynoDon
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Jun. 29, 2012 9:24 am

Health care is not a commodity -- it is a right. Whoever developed for-profit health care and then pegged it to someone's place of employment had to have been nuts. I recently interviewed Wendell Potter -- for his take on how we have to beat back the corporate health care interests, read here:

http://wisdomvoices.com/wendell-potter-a-prophetic-voice-for-our-time/

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Joanne Boyer
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Jul. 27, 2011 2:05 pm
Quote TheFirstLeftist:

Thom Hartmann says we have to get rid of the for-profit motive in healthcare. Does he mean it should be illegal to make a profit? Or does he mean that we should try to persuade our fellow man not to be motivated by profits. Is there room in our society for people who are motivated by profits and those who aren't? Why is bad to have a profit motive? Who decides which motives are better? Define profits.

I think it is nonlinear. Profits are good to a point, then too much profit is bad.

Most people recognize this because they say that in a free market, competitive forces in the long run will push profits to zero - and that all that is left is the exact amount it takes for the person to produce the product. That is why, after, the freely competitive market is efficient - prices represent actual costs.

People really maximize utility - it is really shorthand to say someone wants to maximize profits. People get their utility from money for sure, but there are also other things that they have preference for. For example, patriotism, concern for others, or - in a negative sense - hatred or prejudice for others.

A society cannot exist - I believe - if all we do is maximize profits. Workers would become exploited, capital would fly overseas at the drop of a hat, and the lack of charity would produce hardship, inequality and eventually crime and the destruction of society.

I think something like this was true in healthcare.

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Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Joanne Boyer:

Health care is not a commodity -- it is a right. Whoever developed for-profit health care and then pegged it to someone's place of employment had to have been nuts. I recently interviewed Wendell Potter -- for his take on how we have to beat back the corporate health care interests, read here:

http://wisdomvoices.com/wendell-potter-a-prophetic-voice-for-our-time/

How can everyone have a right to everyone else's property? Employer based health care was created by government policy. During WWII there were wage and price controls (Incidentally, the Depression was going on during WWII). In order to get around the wage controls, companies started to offer health insurance as a benefit. Tax policy gave business a better write-off for it.

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LysanderSpooner
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What LynsanderSpooner really means is how dare the American colonists rebel and take something away from the King of England that was not theirs to take: the U.S.A. All conservatives are Torys who are opposed to the American Revolution, the War for Independence, and the creation of the U.S. Constitution and are loyal to the King of England and the English royal family.

Spooner no doubt drives on public streets and highways which is an advantage, but resents having to pay taxes that go to build and maintain them. There is a resentment of having to pay for health insurance. There is a certain criminal element to the comments because in this care, the highest court in the land upheld the health care law, and so the emphasis, as is the case with corrupt bankers at places like Barclays, is on breaking the law for one's own perceived advantage.

When someone when in school didn't do the work necessary to get into medical school, or at least nursing school, and then comments under the topic of health care without having much knowledge and no experience working with the seriously sick and dying, and yet, despite this ignorance, acting as if the person knows what he or she is talking about, that is more than illogical. It is nonsensical. Wishing someone else dead when society has determined otherwise shows that the person is arrogant to the point of madness.

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Robindell
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Quote LysanderSpooner:

Incidentally, the Depression was going on during WWII.

I have to ask. Why do you make this statement?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The myth is that WWII got us out of the Depression. It didn't. The Depression didn't really end until about 46-47. War besides being tragic and usually morally wrong (when not waged in defense) is an economic disaster. Lifes are wasted and property and resources are destroyed and used up for no productive purpose.

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LysanderSpooner
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I'm familiar with the narrative. I had always understood it to mean the Depression ended once the war started. Now the narrative is that it didn't end until after the war ended?

What statistics are you using to support this claim?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The problem with the application of medical care, and how to resolve it, still rests on one contention--is medicine a right to all or a financially privileged product that, ultimately, is to go to only those that pay the price. The combination of corporate privileged product with government rights to some is, again, what is ruining the system that is American medicine--and it opens up all sorts of prospects that corrupt the process. And if medicine is to be seen as a right to all, why are there basically two paying sources (government and insurance companies) to begin with? That both basically rely on the same component to fund them--the taxpaying consumer.

Again, as has never been brought up in any public discussion that I have seen about health care in America (not even by Obama), as Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, notes, right now in America, 20% of the population takes up 80% of the medical budget--and government already pays for a substantial part of that. Leaving corporations to basically only have to be bothered with the 80% that take up 20% of the medical budget in order to profit more off of them AND have it even appear to the public that medicine is 'applied to all'. But, in order for corporations to justify such profit-taking (as others get it at little to no cost to them by government), it is presented in a distorted manner as if medicine is a privileged product 'all the time' and not as if some have it as a right (paid mostly, or completely, by government) while others have to purchase it separately as if a privileged product through insurance companies. Why? EMTALA law and medical malpractice litigation rights (given to any person whether they have paid anything or nothing for this 'privileged product') indicate by law medicine's legal right status. Why does the financial industry try to say otherwise? As my Canadian in-laws say, 'it's crazy'....

As I've said on other threads, instead of all the hoopla around Obamacare and the Supreme Court and the decision on the Constitutionality of our 'right to health insurance', I would love to see the Supreme Court determine the Constitutionality of EMTALA and its inferred 'universal right to the access of health care' (as specified by EMTALA, whether that person can pay or not). Would it get the same hoopla, and mass media coverage, as Obamacare? The 'right to health insurance' is NOT the same thing as the 'right to health care'.

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I thought Thom always says that in Europe you can still buy supplemental, "boutique" health insurance, so you can get better care than the working class slob, so someone will still make some profits even with socialized medicine.

chilidog
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Quote chilidog:

I'm familiar with the narrative. I had always understood it to mean the Depression ended once the war started. Now the narrative is that it didn't end until after the war ended?

What statistics are you using to support this claim?

Oh god, here we go again.

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Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

If this has already been hashed out in another thread, can you post the link?

I've never heard this claim before. There must be some bizarre reason it's being brought up.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote chilidog:

If this has already been hashed out in another thread, can you post the link?

I've never heard this claim before. There must be some bizarre reason it's being brought up.

I'm relying on the pioneering work of Dr. Robert Higgs. This link will give you some of the statistics you want. However, if you look at it logically, how can war be good for the economy. The soldiers aren't producing anything and they're being paid with tax dollars. And on top of it, war results in the destruction of property and the death of huge numbers of people. Besides being a moral catastrophe, it is an economic catastrophe.

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LysanderSpooner
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Quote Thom Hartmann:
❝we have to get rid of
the for-profit motive
in healthcare❞

True, next...

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DdC
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Mar. 22, 2012 12:39 am
Quote chilidog:

If this has already been hashed out in another thread, can you post the link?

I've never heard this claim before. There must be some bizarre reason it's being brought up.

The question whores are asking you to answer for them.

Start typing quick, before your knee jerks your head off.

Salivate now,

Salivate now.

anonymous green
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Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am
Quote Joanne Boyer:

Health care is not a commodity -- it is a right. Whoever developed for-profit health care and then pegged it to someone's place of employment had to have been nuts. I recently interviewed Wendell Potter -- for his take on how we have to beat back the corporate health care interests, read here:

http://wisdomvoices.com/wendell-potter-a-prophetic-voice-for-our-time/

It's not a right. You do not have the right to demand that others perform a service for you. if you are driving past an auto accident and you can help but you drive on by, did you deny the victim his right to health care? A right is not something that someone must do for you. A right does not require some sort of third party action.

Rights do not have to be paid for. Rights are free. Are you going to enslave doctors and force them to work for free?

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rigel1
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Jan. 31, 2011 6:49 am
Quote rigel1:
Quote Joanne Boyer:

Health care is not a commodity -- it is a right. Whoever developed for-profit health care and then pegged it to someone's place of employment had to have been nuts. I recently interviewed Wendell Potter -- for his take on how we have to beat back the corporate health care interests, read here:

http://wisdomvoices.com/wendell-potter-a-prophetic-voice-for-our-time/

It's not a right. You do not have the right to demand that others perform a service for you. if you are driving past an auto accident and you can help but you drive on by, did you deny the victim his right to health care? A right is not something that someone must do for you. A right does not require some sort of third party action.

It's called humanity rigel. Welcome back by the way.

If I saw you standing in the street with a plastic bag tied to your head and you were suffocating it would be my moral and humane duty to take it off of you as long as it presented no danger to me. You don't just let people die or suffer because you can. Humanity demands more of a civilized world.

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Bush_Wacker
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Quote Bush_Wacker:
Quote rigel1:
Quote Joanne Boyer:

Health care is not a commodity -- it is a right. Whoever developed for-profit health care and then pegged it to someone's place of employment had to have been nuts. I recently interviewed Wendell Potter -- for his take on how we have to beat back the corporate health care interests, read here:

http://wisdomvoices.com/wendell-potter-a-prophetic-voice-for-our-time/

It's not a right. You do not have the right to demand that others perform a service for you. if you are driving past an auto accident and you can help but you drive on by, did you deny the victim his right to health care? A right is not something that someone must do for you. A right does not require some sort of third party action.

It's called humanity rigel. Welcome back by the way.

If I saw you standing in the street with a plastic bag tied to your head and you were suffocating it would be my moral and humane duty to take it off of you as long as it presented no danger to me. You don't just let people die or suffer because you can. Humanity demands more of a civilized world.

Agreed. We should help those who cannot help themselves. It's the right thing to do. But rights should always be free. And even under Obama care, health care will get more expensive. In a free country you don't pay for rights. Again, I have no arguement with anything you just posted. Thanks for the kind words.

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rigel1
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Jan. 31, 2011 6:49 am

No problem-as long as everyone has access to affordable healthcare.

DynoDon
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Jun. 29, 2012 9:24 am

Funny thing about words like "profit" and "free." We have a "birthright" to be "in the family" with access to the rights and benefits of being a member. We have invoked similar societal bonds where, "as Americans" we have Constitutional Rights and the presumption of all human rights in a Credo of "liberty and justice for all." Being "in this together" is more than rhetoric, and the idea that if anything happens "we are on our own" insults both faith and patriotism. I believe the "common good" and "general welfare" are totally adequate charters for an American to claim the rights in our American birthright. We support public education through taxes, and we ought to do the same for public health.

"Profit" has been so tied to motivation that we have been led to believe that "making money" is the primary value to be worshipped. In the world of Commerce, "profits" are what a business can make to stay in business and verification of the value added. We "consume" the products and services organized by Commerce, and were the market what the dreamers claim, quality would drive out crap with lovely efficiency. But, for our purposes here, let us presume that business is doing fine and value is being rewarded in sales and profits, with competition keeping the profits under control and reinvested. This is a place where higher marginal taxes also help keep things in balance.

Less easy to grasp are the internalized profits of the Commons where our collective public investments are able to "pay off" without becoming profits on the bottom line. They can be in conservation and savings, even in building a system that does not require constant replacement parts or other devices used in the world of business. The eternal lightbulb, for example, is a bad business plan but a great public investment.

Fiscal Fundamentalists do not understand money. rigel asks how it is right to take anyone's money to pay for someone else, but the point is that it is "not your money." The Commons is not the Market, and you are not engaged in "Commerce" here. In the same manner that we provide for our common defense and security, we provide for our common education, health and welfare because these are birthrights, what it takes to be a people with our American charter.

Things we get "for free" have to be paid for. What we include in our birthrights is just financed collectively and distributed to guarantee access to basic needs. We do this for lots of stuff that Commerce loves and uses beyond what it pays. We do this to have a good society where people can be free of the desperation and coercion we would feel without our collective guarantees. Free is not a stand alone idea. It is embedded in universality, and the play of words rigel is using with rights and free is twisted. It is precisely because we do use the family assets to finance the Commons for the American 'Family' that all the members have "free" access. Or should.

Look what we have done to college education! Forget free in cost or personal liberty. It should be free meaning no more cost and real access.

What we have done with healthcare is far worse and will never be able to be fixed by the private market. There is no profit in healing the poor. Not in the private market world of Commerce. But there is tremendous value in healing the poor as well as eliminating poverty for all of us. I think we are free to use democracy and to own the Commons as part of being a free and self-governing people.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote LysanderSpooner:I'm relying on the pioneering work of Dr. Robert Higgs.

But he does not dispute the fact that "Evidence for the claim usually includes the great decline in the standard measure of the unemployment rate, the large increase in the standard measure of real GN..."

He is simply talking about the obvious fact that people's increase in welfare did not match economic aggregates, because the economy made bombs not butter.

I have gone all over this before you guys.

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Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Never heard of him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Higgs

But I've never hear of any of these Adjunct Scholars of the Cato Institute:

http://www.cato.org/people/adjunct.html

I thought all the right-wing economists came from the University of Chicago, and I thought Johns Hopkins was a medical school.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

One way of handling this problem of for-profit health insurance companies is to lower the Medicare eligibility age by 10 years on January 1st of the year following the census, and repeat that every 10 years until the eligibility age goes to 0 (pre-natal care for the mother and the fetus would be covered). The for-profit health insurance companies would be given a chance to convert to a non-profit or a limited-profit and offer a type of health insurance that has premium coverage levels above those offered by Medicare.

Really, I would rather see Medicare Part-E immediately, but this suggestion may be a more preferable compromise for many, including for the health insurance companies themselves. Of course, we would have to listen to the constant chorus from the cons complaining of a "government takeover of the health insurance industry" or of a "government takeover" of { fill in the blanks } .

miksilvr
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Jul. 7, 2011 11:13 am
Quote chilidog:

I thought all the right-wing economists came from the University of Chicago, and I thought Johns Hopkins was a medical school.

If you had bothered to read your own link, you would know that Higgs is not a right-wing economist, but a libertarian anarchist.

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LysanderSpooner
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Lovely distinction. I think I'll try democracy first, but always interested in better ways to do it.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote LysanderSpooner:
Quote chilidog:

I thought all the right-wing economists came from the University of Chicago, and I thought Johns Hopkins was a medical school.

If you had bothered to read your own link, you would know that Higgs is not a right-wing economist, but a libertarian anarchist.

One believes in the free market, and the other believes... in the free market!

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Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

No, Thom Hartman has never advocated taking profit away from actual health providers (doctors, dentists, nurses, surgeons, etc.). What he has advocated is taking the profit motive out of health insurance.

Health insurance is very different from insurance on something like a car or a house. In those cases, you are insuring against something that is unlikely to happen, and both you and the insurer are on the same side.

Everyone needs healthcare in some way. It is a flawed system that puts a healthcare delivery middleman in between patients and providers who's motive is to 1. collect as much as possible. 2. pay out as little as possible. Many for-profit insurers were operating with enormous overheads of 30, 40, 50% compared to Medicare's 3%. At least before the 80/20 rule took effect.

Basically, Thom Hartmann is just saying that insurance is a poor delivery vehicle for most medical care... especially from for-profit insurers.

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megavolt512
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote megavolt512:

No, Thom Hartman has never advocated taking profit away from actual health providers (doctors, dentists, nurses, surgeons, etc.). What he has advocated is taking the profit motive out of health insurance.

Health insurance is very different from insurance on something like a car or a house. In those cases, you are insuring against something that is unlikely to happen, and both you and the insurer are on the same side.

Everyone needs healthcare in some way. It is a flawed system that puts a healthcare delivery middleman in between patients and providers who's motive is to 1. collect as much as possible. 2. pay out as little as possible. Many for-profit insurers were operating with enormous overheads of 30, 40, 50% compared to Medicare's 3%. At least before the 80/20 rule took effect.

Basically, Thom Hartmann is just saying that insurance is a poor delivery vehicle for most medical care... especially from for-profit insurers.

Exactly!......I wonder why more people don't realize this?

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Sprinklerfitter
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Sep. 1, 2011 5:49 am

All Government contracts need to be non-profit.

Health care, energy, water, food, all general welfare programs would work better and run leaner.

The military would be cheaper.

If you want to sell trinkets, mark 'em up however you'd like.

But if you are holding the health of my child hostage for a profit you can simply kiss my ass.

And at this point, 'you' are.

anonymous green
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Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am

There are parallel health care systems in the US. Profit seeking, and non-profit seeking. The VA health system is not for profit, is is also government run, some would say socialist. It also costs about half the price of profit centers. Lower overhead, better follow up and less surgeries of choice. Less unneeded spinal fusions, less unneeded bypass surgeries.The system doesn't have a department of collections.

There is also Tricare, a hybrid MTF miltary treatment facility

Then Guard units which each state usually has, are not out for the big bucks, either.

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douglaslee
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Currently Chatting

The other way we're subsidizing Walmart...

Most of us know how taxpayers subsidize Walmart's low wages with billions of dollars in Medicaid, food stamps, and other financial assistance for workers. But, did you know that we're also subsidizing the retail giant by paying the cost of their environmental destruction.

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