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DeVos transplant clinic urges heart patient to start $10,000 online ‘fundraising effort’ to pay for treatment

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As progressive lawmakers and healthcare experts have frequently pointed out in recent months, few growing trends have laid bare the fundamental immorality and brokenness of America’s healthcare system quite like the rise of GoFundMe and other crowdfunding platforms as methods of raising money for life-saving medical treatments that—due to insurance industry greed and dysfunction—are far too expensive for anyone but the very wealthiest to afford.

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“Insurance groups are recommending GoFundMe as official policy—where customers can die if they can’t raise the goal in time—but sure, single-payer healthcare is unreasonable.”
—Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Providing the latest example of this horrifying trend, a Michigan woman seeking a heart transplant publicized a letter she received from the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic—named after the late father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—informing her that she is “not a candidate” for the procedure “at this time” because she needs a “more secure financial plan” to afford the required post-operation immunosuppressive medication.

The letter goes on to explicitly recommend “a fundraising effort of $10,000” to help pay for the drugs.

Hedda Elizabeth Martin, who posted the letter on Facebook, wrote that her situation encapsulates America’s “price gouging, horribly overpriced, underinsured system,” which affects millions each day in the richest country on Earth.

The letter, which Martin received shortly before Thanksgiving, began to go viral on Saturday and quickly caught the attention of progressives like Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who identified Martin’s situation as indicative of the broad failure of America’s healthcare status quo—which produces tremendous profits for insurance and pharmaceutical giants and worse outcomes than the healthcare systems of other industrialized nations.

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“Insurance groups are recommending GoFundMe as official policy—where customers can die if they can’t raise the goal in time—but sure, single-payer healthcare is unreasonable,” Ocasio-Cortez, an unabashed supporter of Medicare for All, wrote sarcastically.

“‘You can’t have a heart unless you do GoFundMe for 10K’ is not a just system,” concluded Pacific Standard columnist David Perry.

In her Facebook post, Martin—who has already completed one GoFundMe campaign related to her heart troubles—noted that she “will not be put on the transplant list until I fulfill a requirement of $10,000 set aside.” (Update: Martin has started a new GoFundMe to help pay for her treatment.)

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“Only when I have raised that required amount, will I then be ‘reconsidered’ for [a] heart transplant. Not automatically added to [the] list but reconsidered,” she continued. “This is new.”

Martin’s letter from Spectrum Health comes at a time when a growing number of Americans and members of Congress believe that the current for-profit healthcare system should be replaced by Medicare for All, a system that would guarantee everyone coverage regardless of their ability to pay.

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In addition, as Common Dreams reported, a Koch-funded study published earlier this year inadvertently found that Medicare for All would save the American public $2 trillion in healthcare costs over ten years while covering everybody.


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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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