August 16, 2022
work from home for justice
One of the things that gives me hope is the remarkable work that folks are doing to repair the society and help one another.
I’ve been very proud to contribute to RIP Medical Debt, an extraordinary organization that has erased $7 billion in debt for 4 million people by purchasing debt directly from hospitals.
Eventually, they realized they were in a unique position to help people and switched gears from debt collection to philanthropy.
What triggered the change of heart for Ashton was meeting activists from the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 who talked to him about how to help relieve Americans' debt burden. "As a bill collector collecting millions of dollars in medical-associated bills in my career, now all of a sudden I'm reformed: I'm a predatory giver," Ashton said in a video by Freethink, a new media journalism site.
The proposed regulatory changes include
easing requirements for targeted loan-forgiveness programs for public servants and borrowers with disabilities, along with preventing interest from spiraling on debt balances.
Biden has promised action — both reforms and relief — this month. This is the right time for student debt cancellation. Biden is leery of going too far, and likely not to go far enough. There has been talk of canceling $10,000 of debt for each student-loan borrower.
At $20,000, half of all debtors have their debt canceled completely, and at least half of all debt is canceled for three-quarters. But $20,000 is still a small fraction of the debt owed by the typical doctor, lawyer, or MBA, and that problem could be addressed by income limits.
Debt cancellation is also a particular benefit for the roughly ten million people now in default who risk ruined credit ratings. It is a well-targeted gain for people who never graduated and now face the double burden of relatively low incomes and debt repayment. These debtors are disproportionately African American.
The Debt Collective has been mobilizing debtors into a union in order to persuade Biden to cancel all student debt.
Write to your Congressional representative in support of cancellation of all student debt. This is a ready-made action from Debt Collective.
Just as many of us walk into into a local pharmacy to purchase a pair of reading glasses, millions of Americans will be able to buy a hearing aid as soon as October.
Older Americans are far more likely to schedule an appointment for their pet to see a vet than to have their hearing checked, even though an estimated 30 million people in the US suffer from hearing loss. The overwhelming majority — around 80 percent — do not seek medical help for hearing loss, in part because visits to audiologists and hearing aids are not covered by Medicare.
The [FDA rule] changes could upend the market, which is dominated by a relatively small number of manufacturers, and make it a broader field with less costly, and perhaps, more innovative designs. Current costs for hearing aids, which tend to include visits with an audiologist, range from about $1,400 at Costco to roughly $4,700 elsewhere.
Hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline, depression, isolation and other health problems in older adults.
to advance access to comprehensive Medicare coverage, health equity, and quality health care for older people and people with disabilities by providing exceptional legal analysis, education, and advocacy.
I am contemplating how we repair the systems and human ties that will enable us to contend with our problems. Last spring, I introduced some 6th and 7th graders to the importance of advocacy groups that promote responsive policies, complementing the work of organizers and activists.
One of the groups we looked at was WE ACT, which promotes environmental justice by advocating for policies and practices to protect human and environmental health with and for people of color.
WE ACT recently secured a victory by convincing Johnson & Johnson to stop selling talc powder. They made the case to shareholders, presenting the studies that link the use of talc powder to cancer.
The company has known about the dangers of talc since the 1970s, but continued to market baby powder with talc to women of color in the US and continues to sell it overseas even after tens of thousands of lawsuits from cancer victims led them to pull it from shelves in the US and Canada.
International sales of talc powder will end in 2023.
The law directs $369 billion toward investing in renewable energy and reducing America’s planet-heating emissions, marking the country’s most significant effort yet to combat the climate crisis. Experts have estimated the bill could reduce US emissions by about 40% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.
This didn’t happen without a lot of effort at the grassroots. Joe Manchin is not the hero of this story. (Duh.)
It seems almost cliche to say that we are the ones we have been waiting for, but that was what I took away when I read in today’s Digestable a wonderful summary of an interview:
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist and climate person, appreciates the importance of folk heroes and charismatic leaders, but suggests that the time for this kind of hierarchy in our movements has passed. Rather, she says, we need everyone, doing decentralized, leader-ful organizing to meet the scale of the crisis ahead.
I’m working on a project with an old friend, John Trotter, and a new friend, Claudia Mallea, to highlight the importance of home care (the greenest jobs!) and win Fair Pay for Home Care.
Yesterday, we met at Claudia’s to talk about the importance of bringing home care out of the privacy of homes into public consciousness. John took this picture of Claudia in her kitchen, as she prepared a snack of peanut butter on a cookie.
Next week, John will photograph Claudia and her mom, Tamara, assisting her in the kitchen and accompanying her for a walk. We are lining up other pairs of caregivers and care recipients.
Claudia Mallea is a photo archivist, librarian, and digital curator who will be organizing and assembling the project with me. You will see it first!
Here’s one more piece of good news that I read today:
The NBA is hoping teams use that night as an opportunity to encourage fans to vote, as well as amplifying the need for civic engagement.