THEY WERE ENTITLED TO FREE CARE – HOSPITALS HOUNDED THEM TO PAY:
With the help of a consulting firm, the Providence hospital system trained staff to wring money out of patients, even those eligible for free care. In 2018, senior executives at one of the country’s largest nonprofit hospital chains, Providence, were frustrated. They were spending hundreds of millions of dollars providing free health care to patients. It was eating into their bottom line. The executives, led by Providence’s chief financial officer at the time, devised a solution: a program called Rev-Up. Rev-Up provided Providence’s employees with a detailed playbook for wringing money out of patients – even those who were supposed to receive free care because of their low incomes, a New York Times investigation found. In training materials, members of the hospital staff were instructed how to approach patients and pressure them to pay. “Ask every patient, every time,” the materials said. Instead of using “weak” phrases – like “Would you mind paying?” – employees were told to ask how patients wanted to pay. Soliciting money “is part of your role. It’s not an option.” If patients did not pay, Providence sent debt collectors to pursue them.
A Shrinking Margin:
In Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, he won the Hispanic vote over Mitt Romney by 40 percentage points – 70% to 30%, according to Catalist, a political research firm. Four years later, Hillary Clinton did even better, beating Donald Trump by 42 percentage points among Hispanic voters. But then something changed.
The economy became even stronger at the start of Trump’s presidency than it had been during Obama’s. The Democratic Party moved further to the left than it had been under Obama. Trump turned out to have a macho appeal, especially to some Hispanic men. And some Hispanic voters became frustrated with the long COVID shutdowns.
Whatever the full explanation, Hispanic voters have moved to the right over the past several years. As a group, they still prefer Democrats, but the margin has narrowed significantly. In 2020, Joe Biden won the group by only 26 percentage points. And in this year’s midterms, the Democratic lead is nearly identical to Biden’s 2020 margin, according to the latest New York Times/Siena College poll – a sign that the shift was not just a one-election blip.
Being Unhappy Or Lonely Speeds Up Aging – Even More Than Smoking:
Being unhappy or experiencing loneliness accelerates the aging process more than smoking, according to new research. An international team says unhappiness damages the body’s biological clock, increasing the risk for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses. The team reports that they detected aging acceleration among people with a history of stroke, liver and lung diseases, smoking, and in people with a vulnerable mental state. Interestingly, feeling hopeless, unhappy, and lonely displayed a connection to increasing a patient’s biological age more than the harmful impact of smoking.
Examiner – Lens:
A worker clears notes placed in the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, to make space for new notes ahead of the Jewish New Year, in Jerusalem’s Old City, September 20.
Crime And Inflation:
Thefts and robberies in major cities increased by around 20% in the first half of 2022, after falling or plateauing the previous two years, the Council on Criminal Justice found.
Several factors explain the increases, experts said. A big one is inflation. America’s last major crime wave, from the 1960s through the early ’90s, happened alongside a rise in inflation for much of the same time period. That likely was not a coincidence, said Richard Rosenfeld, whose research has linked crime and inflation.
How can inflation lead to more crime? For one, there is a direct link: People might try to get around higher prices by stealing. But a bigger dynamic is also at play, Rosenfeld said: Higher prices can push people to seek cheaper – and potentially stolen – goods at gray markets, such as pawn shops. These purchases effectively boost demand for stolen goods, enticing more thieves and robbers.
In 2022, inflation does not seem to be leading to more shootings and murders – a sign that the other forces, like the receding of COVID, may be even stronger. Inflation is obviously not the only cause of the increase in property crimes. As COVID has eased, people are spending more time outside their homes and in more situations where they can be stolen from or robbed, said Anna Harvey, a public safety researcher at New York University. And in response to the spikes in murders and shootings, the police may have shifted resources away from nonviolent crimes, allowing more of those offenses to happen unchecked.
Assault Weapons Makers Pulled In Over $1 Billion As Violence Surged, Report Says:
The leading manufacturers of assault rifles used to perpetrate the deadliest mass shootings in the United States have collected more than $1 billion in revenue over the past decade as gun violence across the country has surged, according to a House investigation set to be presented on Capitol Hill. The findings, released before a congressional hearing on the marketing of assault rifles, indicate that the gun industry has thrived by selling and marketing military-grade weapons to civilians, specifically targeting and playing to the insecurities of young men, while some have made thinly veiled references to white supremacist groups. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform opened an investigation into the gun manufacturing industry in May after the gun massacre in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers and a racially motivated mass shooting in a Buffalo supermarket that killed 10 people.
Examiner – Lens:
After criticism by Arab American and Muslim filmmakers led to the film being shunned by festivals, Meg Smaker renamed her documentary “The UnRedacted.”
Examiner – Commentary by Shawn McCreesh:
** SF Crime won’t quit. It’s hard to decide which part of this big new San Francisco Chronicle poll is more shocking. Is it that “nearly half of respondents said they were victims of theft in the last five years”? Or is it that “roughly a quarter were physically attacked or threatened”? Midtown Manhattan is starting to seem a whole lot nicer.
** A third-world water crisis right here in America: What’s happening in Europe is pretty luxe compared to what the people of Jackson, Mississippi have been dealing with. After nearly seven weeks, their governor lifted the boil-water advisory that had been in effect. The city, which is almost 83% black, has nightmarish infrastructure problems. Aging pipes froze last February, cutting off water. When it does run, it often isn’t safe for consumption.
** Speaking of energy cutbacks… what about all those dead oligarchs? So far, in 2022, 12 Russian oligarchs have mysteriously – and violently – met their ends. Most appear to have committed “suicide.” Some were murdered along with their wives and children. Alexander Subbotin was discovered in a shaman’s basement, outside Moscow, having reportedly died from a drug-induced heart attack (which may have included the typical toad poison) that was part of “an anti-hangover session.” The same phenomenon has been reported in China. Maybe the lesson here is: There is no such thing as independent wealth in authoritarian regimes. Just wealth that is dependent on the good graces of the powers that be.
** Oh look, Facebook is doing something creepy again: The social media giant banned filmmaker Joshua Newton from promoting his Holocaust movie, Beautiful Blue Eyes, because it ran afoul of the social media giant’s policy against content that “includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race.” The reference to “blue eyes” apparently refers to a key scene about a child in the movie. Newton, who is the son of two Holocaust survivors, told Rolling Stone: “This is the action of haters – and there are sadly many in our society – who seek to damage the film in order to trivialize the Holocaust.” The cyborgs at Facebook seem to have learned little from the global backlash that ensued in 2016 after they banned one of the most important images in the history of photography – the picture of the little girl fleeing a Napalm attack in Vietnam that was taken by the Pulitzer Prize-winner Nick Ut.
** National Adderall shortage: More than six in 10 pharmacies are having trouble stocking the ADHD drug, according to a survey last month from the National Community Pharmacists Association.
Examiner – Look Back:
A couple at Woodstock 48 hours after meeting each other, and the same couple 50 years later, still together.
Examiner – (Notable) Remarks:
** In popular culture the midlife crisis is fodder for comedy, personified by the 40-something guy who suddenly hankers to sky-dive or buy a convertible. In scientific circles the midlife crisis is sometimes said not to exist at all: “Epidemiological study of psychological distress in adulthood does not suggest that midlife is a time of out-of-the-ordinary distress,” said an article in 2000 in the journal Motivation and Emotion. But new research says that midlife crises are very real and nothing to be laughed at. “Something elemental appears to be going wrong in the middle of many of our citizens’ lives,” says a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research released this month. —- Peter Coy
** A staggering 83% of Americans believe the economy is poor or not so good, according to a May Wall Street Journal-NORC poll. And an equally staggering 83% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, according to a Gallup poll. Parties get punished when they make mistakes. Recently, Democrats have made the kind of mistakes that make voters furious. —- David Brooks
** We now face the threat of a future pandemic in a country in which a large number of people no longer trust public health authorities. What happens when we have a novel, highly contagious, airborne virus with a much higher fatality rate than that of COVID-19? We desperately need to rebuild public trust now. That begins by having public health officials apologize for being dogmatic in their pronouncements, when the correct answer should have been: “We don’t know.” One lesson we should all learn from COVID-19 is that we should not put our entire faith and trust in one physician. —- Marty Makary M.D., M.P.H., a Johns Hopkins professor and public policy researcher, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, writes for the WSJ and the Washington Post, and is author of the NYT bestselling book, The Price We Pay
** A lot has been written about the broader meaning of the attack this month on Salman Rushdie, for which a Muslim religious fanatic has been charged with attempted murder. Not enough has been said about the evil of the regime that presumably inspired the deed and so many others like it – or of what it says of the wisdom of trying to strike a nuclear deal with it. The Islamic Republic of Iran did not take responsibility for the murder attempt on Rushdie. But Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against him for “The Satanic Verses” remains in effect, and in 2007 Rushdie reported that every Feb. 14 he receives a “sort of Valentine’s card” from Iran recalling its promise to kill him. Following this month’s attack, Iranian state media called it “divine retribution.” —- Bret Stephens
Examiner – Readers Have Spoken:
SHOULD CREDIT CARD COMPANIES TRACK GUN PURCHASES?
We asked Examiner readers in all 50 of the United States and in 26 foreign countries for their thoughts. The Examiner readers have spoken.
EXAMINER – INVESTIGATES:
** Nonbinary athletes will be able to run the 2023 Boston Marathon without having to register with the men’s or women’s divisions, CBS reports. READ
** China tests new cars that hover an inch above roads using magnets. READ
** Height Surgery – These men want to be taller, so they’re undergoing a costly surgery – and a break to both femur bones – to add a few more inches. READ
** Why do Russian Executives Keep Dying? – At least a dozen wealthy Russian executives have met their ends under questionable circumstances since the beginning of the year. Is it a coincidence or conspiracy? READ
** AI imagines how deceased celebrities may look today. READ
** A stunningly large sturgeon fish. WATCH
** A doctor answers the internet’s burning questions about the gut. WATCH
** The Poet and the Machine – Robots are writing poetry, and many people can’t tell the difference. What does that mean for the future of the art? READ
** Exercise stimulates brain cell growth, promotes up to 40% higher levels of dopamine in mouse study; chemical boost lasted for a week after exercise regimen. READ
** Johns Hopkins students design edible tape to keep your burrito wrapped. READ
“Intel for Influencers” – Who Reads the LBN Examiner?
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A 24-7 Fishing Operation:
A single country has accounted for about 80% of the fishing in the international waters just off Argentina, Ecuador and Peru this year. And it is not a South American country. It is China. In recent years, hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels have begun to operate almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, off the coast of South America. The ships move with the seasons, from Ecuador to Peru to Argentina. China has focused on these faraway waters after depleting fish stocks closer to its own shores.
A source close to the legendary Mariah Carey says that the Songstress and recent Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee decided it was time to move on from Boulevard Business management and return to her previous acclaimed Business Manager Michael Kane at Miller Kaplan, a firm noteworthy for dealing with musical artists and publishing catalogs at the highest level.
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Examiner – Business:
** FedEx will hike delivery rates and make several cost-cutting moves in 2023. The company shook the market last week after reporting global declines in package volume. READ
** Instagram is testing a filter that will prevent users from DMing each other unsolicited nudes. READ
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Examiner – 20 Years – A Look At 2002
The LBN Examiner was founded on June 1, 2002, an incredible 20 years ago. Let’s take a look back at what was going on in 2002:
** On October 6, the French oil tanker Limburg was bombed off the coast of Yemen.
** On October 10, Hungarian writer and Holocaust survivor Imre Kertész was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Examiner – A Different View:…
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