Lizzo’s Performance at the 2019 BET Awards Was So Good Even Rihanna Gave It a Standing Ovation

Glamour – Entertainment

Abby Gardner,  Glamour         June 24, 2019

The Federal Reserve is about to create a lot more zombies


Opinion: The Federal Reserve is about to create a lot more zombies

Corporate zombies, that is. Kept alive by easy-money policies, companies that should have gone out of business keep staggering around.

By Brett Arends, Columnist              June 24, 2019

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Getty Images

Long-term interest rates just fell off a cliff.

And if you think they can’t keep falling, think again.

Albert Edwards, a strategist at SG Securities, pointed out in a recent note that none of the experts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal at the start of the year predicted 10-year Treasury yields would fall below 2.5%.

Current level: 2%.

No fewer than 12% of non-financial companies on major developed stock markets could be “zombie” companies.

I guess we can toss those forecasting models out the window.

He adds that mainstream economists have been saying for years that long-term rates would never end up at zero percent.

Yet rates in Europe are now negative. People are paying half a percent a year for the privilege of lending money to the government of Switzerland. Even in the U.S., 10-year rates adjusted for inflation are only 0.29%. A generation ago, they were typically 2% or better.

Western economists used to say that zero percent rates were a weird and unique thing you only saw in Japan — like people eating raw puffer fish and hoping not to die. It would never catch on over here, they said.

But they already have. Today European rates are even lower than those in Japan.

‘Three-off’ event

When U.S. rates first collapsed in 2011-2012, we were assured it was a freak one-off event and was never going to happen again.

When it happened again in 2016, we were told it was, well, a “two-off” event that was certainly never going to happen a third time.

Now it’s happening a third time, and I guess we’re waiting for the official line on why, once again, this is just a temporary derangement and nothing to worry about.

But the Bank for International Settlements — the central banks’ central banks — says there is something to worry about, and it’s the reason that economic growth, inflation and interest rates can’t get off the ground: zombies.

No, I’m not making this up.

The BIS says there are way too many zombies around, and they’re killing the economy, and it’s all the fault of low interest rates.

We’re talking “corporate zombies,” of course.

Extend and pretend

The BIS found that, ever since the 1980’s, falling interest rates have made it easier and easier for bad companies with lousy management and terrible products and dismal prospects to stay in business long after they should have gone the way of all flesh.

These “zombie” companies can stay alive — or whatever the correct term is for zombies — if they can just keep borrowing. Bankers call this “extend and pretend” (as in, “extend the term of the loan, and pretend it’s ever going to be repaid.”)

And when money gets cheaper, that’s great for zombies. Lower interest rates are correlated with rising numbers of zombie companies, the BIS found.

And there are a lot of zombies around. The BIS reckons no fewer than 12% of the non-financial companies on major developed stock markets could be “zombie” companies, at least by a loose definition.

This is an epidemic. In the early 1990’s, the figure was about 2%.

Zombie companies are bad for the rest of the economy. Forget about being an economist: Think about the worst company you ever worked for. Think about all the waste that took place — all the money, time, effort and potentially valuable real estate wasted by idiot managers and self-serving bureaucracies and terrible technology and all the rest.

Replicate that to make up 12% of the economy. There. Now you understand why economic growth has been so sluggish for a generation. Now you know why the stock market is so hooked on the Federal Reserve.

Hey, don’t blame me. Blame the BIS.

We’d all be better off if badly run companies were put out of their misery, economists agree. But as long as interest rates are low and debt is cheap, they keep staggering around.

The price of junk

Zombies have never had it so good. As the interest rate on 10-year Treasuries has fallen, so have rates on junk bonds. In other words, the rate paid by zombie companies.

Since the start of the year, the typical high-yield bond yield has fallen by a quarter, from 8% to 6%, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Albert Edwards says we’re in an economic Ice Age. The BIS says we’ve got too many zombies. The U.S. president is a clown. There’s a horror movie in this somewhere.

But look on the bright side. Wall Street’s having another party.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen nearly 2,000 points since investors began expecting falling interest rates earlier this month. The S&P 500 Index  has climbed 7.5%. What could possibly go wrong?

Brett Arends is a MarketWatch columnist.

Three terrifying facts that show how much we’re damaging the earth

Video – World Economic Forum

May, 2019

Wildlife: ⬇️
Biodiversity: ⬇️
Human population: ⬆️

📕 Read more:

Here are 3 terrifying facts that show how much we’re damaging the earth

Wildlife: ⬇️ Biodiversity: ⬇️ Human population: ⬆️ 📕 Read more:

Posted by Video – World Economic Forum on Thursday, April 25, 2019

Deported U.S. Veterans Feel Abandoned By The Country They Defended


Deported U.S. Veterans Feel Abandoned By The Country They Defended

By Marie Ines Zamudio          

This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center.

Miguel Pérez Jr. locked himself in a hotel room for an entire weekend in one of the most dangerous cities along the border between the United States and Mexico.

A Mexican native, Pérez, 41, grew up in Chicago. He enlisted in the military and served two tours in Afghanistan. When he returned home, he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Those struggles led to a drug-related conviction that landed him in state prison for seven years. While there, he received treatment for his condition, both therapy and medication. But that conviction also triggered deportation proceedings. After a year in an immigrant detention center, Pérez was deported to Matamoros, Mexico.

In that hotel room, as he waited for his friend to pick him up and take him to Tijuana, Pérez began to feel the weight of his new reality.

Pérez held his documents and two days worth of medication close to him. He was alone and overcome with anxiety, as he tried to figure out a way to live in a country he’d left when he was a boy.

“That night, I don’t really think I slept either. And … it was a big room, and I spent all night in one corner fixing my paperwork, separating everything. And then you hear gunshots down the street right outside,” Pérez said.

While veterans with service-related injuries have access to medical care, since his deportation Pérez has struggled to find mental health professionals and medication.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury from combat. He’s battled depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts for years. But living alone and thousands of miles away from his family in Chicago, suicide has felt like a solution for Pérez. Last year, on two occasions, he attempted to take his own life.

“I think it was when I was just feeling really, really bad. And … I just started shaking and sweating. And I couldn’t really do anything,” Pérez said. “That’s when it first happened and I was just like … maybe I’d be better off dead.”

Miguel Pérez looks out over Tijuana from his balcony.
Erin Siegal McIntyre for WBEZ
Miguel Pérez looks out over Tijuana from his balcony.


Pérez is among hundreds of veterans who have been deported in recent years. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report revealed that an estimated 92 veterans were deported from 2013 to 2018. But the numbers are far higher, according to groups of deported veterans.

The GAO report also found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “did not consistently follow its policies involving veterans who were placed in removal proceedings.”

Those policies include considering a veteran’s military service during removal proceedings. But Nicole Alberico, an ICE spokeswoman, said Pérez’s military service was taken into consideration when he was deported.

“Any action taken by ICE that may result in the removal of an individual with military service must be authorized by the senior leadership in the field office following an evaluation by local counsel,” Alberico said in a written statement. “Still, applicable law requires ICE to mandatorily detain and process for removal individuals who have been convicted of aggravated felonies.”

The U.S. Army declined to comment. A spokesperson said they don’t comment on specific cases.

Once deported, these veterans have been forced to organize and to help each other. Many say they’ve been forced to live in exile without medical care for the injuries they sustained in war. They’ve been deported to countries that feel foreign to them. It’s been decades since they’ve lived there, and some don’t even know the language.

“The main way we’ve been able to cope is by covering for each other and looking out for each other. There’s really nothing else we can do here,” said Hector López, director of United Deported Veterans, which has 40 members.

They are also united by their shared sense of longing for the United States, the country they served.

“Regardless of where we’re born, we all feel like this is not our home. This is not our country,” said Joaquin “Jack” Aviles, co-director of Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana. “Our ties are so strong. And our commitment to our country is stronger than where you were born. We don’t belong to the country we were deported to.” The support house, known by many deported veterans as “the bunker,” has tracked at least 400 deported veterans since it opened in 2014, said Aviles.

In all, about 40 deported veterans live in Tijuana. Another 24 deported veterans started a support house in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, right across the bridge from El Paso, Texas. Another three deported veterans live in central Mexico. And veterans have also been deported to other parts of the world, including India, Costa Rica, the Philippines and Kenya.

WBEZ interviewed more than a dozen deported veterans currently living in Tijuana, Mexico; India; and Kenya. They shared similar stories. They came to the U.S. as children with their families and as legal permanent residents. As adults, they enrolled in the military with the promise of expedited citizenship, which never happened. After serving, they got in trouble with the law. It’s a common story for veterans returning home from battle. However, unlike citizen veterans who run afoul of the law, legal permanent residents can be deported, if they’re convicted of certain felonies.

They also have one thing in common: they want to return to the country they served or, at the very least, they want to receive access to medical care from the U.S. government.

A section of the U.S-Mexico border wall is painted with art and the names of deported U.S. veterans in Tijuana.
Erin Siegal McIntyre for WBEZ
A section of the U.S-Mexico border wall is painted with art and the names of deported U.S. veterans in Tijuana.

Rudy Melson with Consultants For America’s Veterans has connected dozens of deported veterans with benefits. Melson says deported veterans have few options for healthcare outside the U.S., and it’s harming the most vulnerable.

“Many veterans are totally heavily depressed using substances to cope with their depression. Most may have not been given service connection for depression or PTSD or both. And so they are utilizing substances, drugs and what have you … as a way to cope with service-related mental health issues,” he said. “And as a result of that, we are looking at veterans becoming sicker, more likely to become suicidal because they are not receiving any care — or the care that they’re receiving is not care that has been acknowledged or vetted as care that they would receive in the United States.”

These are some of their stories:

Photos of Felipe de Jesús Pérez during his time in the military and today
Photos courtesy of Felipe de Jesús Pérez, María Inés Zamudio/WBEZ

Felipe de Jesús Pérez is a quiet 36-year-old veteran of the Iraq war. He avoids eye contact when he speaks. He’s been deported from California twice, once in 2014 following a domestic violence felony and again in 2018. De Jesús Pérez said he wasn’t aggressive before he went to war. “I never got in trouble before,” he said.

De Jesús Pérez said he couldn’t understand why he was so different when he came back from war.

He feels betrayed by the country he loves, the country he defended, and the country that deported him despite his military service.

“I joined after 9/11 because of what I saw. I loved the country. I did. They didn’t consider anything I did for the country. I got out of the Marines honorably, decorated, went to war and everything. Just to throw me out like that?” he asked.

De Jesús Pérez said he was diagnosed with PTSD and that he’s self-medicating with marijuana. There are limited medical and mental health care options for deported veterans. And that makes him feel like the country he loves doesn’t care about him.

“I’m a veteran. You’re just going to kick us out? To me it’s like, how dare you? I felt used. You’re good enough to send you to war, but now you’re all messed up, let’s get rid of you,” he said.

Edwin Salgado during his time in the military and today
Photos courtesy of Edwin Salgado

Edwin Salgado, 37, is also a veteran of the Iraq war and now lives in Ensenada, Mexico, about 60 miles south of Tijuana. Salgado was deported in 2016 from Orange County, California following a drug and weapons conviction. He was honorably discharged, but Salgado found “normal life” difficult. After his divorce, Salgado started using drugs. And since he was having a hard time finding work, he started selling them.

“I felt a little better when I was using,” he said. “It mostly helped me not to think.”

When Salgado was in the Marines, he tried to become a U.S. citizen. But he wasn’t able to finish the process because he was deployed.

Salgado is trying to view his deportation in a positive way. He describes it as a fresh start.

“I’m not trying to go back,” he said. “I would like access to medical treatment at the VA.”

Jiji Kurian during his time in the military and today
Photos courtesy of Jiji Kurian

Jiji Kurian, 43, was deported to India in 2012. And while he’s made a new life for himself there, he wants to return home to Kankakee, Illinois, where he grew up.

“I feel lost here,” Kurian said. “I’m married, and I have kids. That’s it. I have no friends. I have no social life. I can’t talk to anyone. Everything that I had before I don’t have. I can’t get used to how they do things here.”

Kurian moved to Illinois with his parents when he was nine years old. He joined the national guard after high school. After serving in the military for six years, he became addicted to cocaine.That’s when he started getting arrested. After multiple felonies ranging from drug possession to distributing cocaine, Kurian was deported.

When he got to India, his father helped him get stable. Since he didn’t speak the language well and didn’t know anyone, his father suggested getting married.

“Here in India, they have arranged marriages. They do it really weird here. They put an ad in the newspaper. I didn’t want to do that, but after a while I was like ok,“ Kurian said. “I went and met some girls that I could marry. Finally, I found one, and I got married.”

Kurian said it took eight months to find his wife. He’s started a new life, but he still doesn’t make enough money in India. He relies on his parents, who live in Kankakee and are both in their 70’s.

“I think the reason they haven’t retired is because they have to help me,” Kurian said.

Jack Aviles during his time in the military and today
Photos courtesy of Joaquin ‘Jack’ Aviles, María Inés Zamudio/WBEZ

Joaquin “Jack” Aviles, 43, was brought to California as a baby. He joined the Marines after high school. Aviles was ordered deported in 2001 following a firearm possession felony, but he didn’t understand what that meant.

“I wasn’t conscious of what it meant to be deported,” Aviles said.

At 25, Aviles was deported to Mexico, a country he didn’t know. He spent the rest of his 20s trying to get back home.

“I tried to cross, and I served a two-year federal prison sentence for attempting to enter,” he said. “Since I hadn’t lived [in Mexico], I didn’t really speak the language. I attempted to re-enter [the U.S.] again because that’s my home. That’s my country. “

He was arrested and sentenced to another three years in federal prison for trying to enter the country illegally. By that point, he decided to stop trying to cross the border and to try and find a way to live in Mexico.

“The only thing I’m grateful for is that the Marines did teach me a lot, especially skills to survive,” he said.

He used those skills to learn Spanish, find a wife and a job to support her and their children. He also started advocating for deported veterans living in the bunker.

Alex Murillo during his time in the military and today
Photos courtesy of Alex Murillo, María Inés Zamudio/WBEZ

Alex Murillo, 40, served in the Gulf War, code named Operation Shield and Operation Desert Storm. When he got back, it was hard to adjust to civilian life.

“It’s a similar story for a lot of veterans. Whether it’s alcoholism, or pills or whatever. It’s a self-medication issue that a lot of veterans have. And I was one of those veterans,” Murillo said. “The problems I had, mostly, were life problems. I wasn’t able to get myself together after the military. I had a problem with alcohol abuse. Now, it’s PTSD. But I didn’t know about that stuff until I was diagnosed.”

After serving three years in federal prison following a marijuana conviction, he was deported in 2012. Murillo said non-citizen veterans should be treated like other veterans.

“When a veteran gets in trouble and does his time, the veteran gets to go home to their family. We don’t. Why don’t we get to go home?” he said. “We’re that same veteran that served. We’re the same veteran that was willing to die and put everything on the line for flag and country.”

When he was deported, Murillo was forced to leave his four children in Phoenix. His two girls were ages eight and four. His two boys were ages 12 and 10. His absence deeply impacted his sons. They both became addicted to opioids, Murillo said. Last year, his sons went missing. From his apartment just outside of Tijuana, Murillo looked for ways to search for his boys.

“It’s hard to be a parent over the phone. I tried, but it’s not the same as being there with them, helping them,” he said. “They’ve suffered because of my absence. That weighs on me.”

Murillo spent months looking for them. He finally found them, and they are now living with him in Mexico.

“My kids are going to grow up angry at the system that did this to them,” he said. “I’m one of the few that joins the military. I have PTSD like so many other soldiers. I am a victim of the war on drugs because I was incarcerated for cannabis for three years. I am a victim of mass incarceration. And now my kids are addicted to fentanyl.”

Hector López during his time in the military and in 2019
Photos courtesy of Hector Lopez, Erin Siegal McIntyre for WBEZ

Hector López, 55, moved to California’s Central Valley when he was a toddler. He joined the military in 1982. He was convicted of several marijuana charges. He was deported in 2006. He’s fighting to go back to California with his family.

“I haven’t seen my kids in 12 years. I have grandchildren I haven’t met,” López said.

His father and sister died after he was deported, López said. “I didn’t get to say goodbye to them.”

He says he’s hopeful his marijuana convictions will be expunged now that marijuana is legal in California.

“I’m an American down to the core,” López said. “Apple pie, baseball, football, basketball, you name it. I don’t like flan, and I don’t like soccer.”

Mario Rangel during his time in the military and today
Photos courtesy of Mario Rangel, María Inés Zamudio/WBEZ

Mario Rangel, 56, served in the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division. He’s been stuck living outside Tijuana since 2008. He is a naturalized citizen but can’t prove it. Rangel said he became a citizen at a military base in South Carolina. He lost his naturalization documents and several attempts to recover his military file have failed, Rangel said.

His covert work in the military might be the reason why he hasn’t been able to get proof he was naturalized, Rangel said.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into. That’s the whole Oliver North thing that happened and the Contra hearings. So I don’t know if that has anything to do with my records,” he said.

Rangel was only able to get his medical records. He said he was shot while serving in Colombia.

“Basically what we were doing … we were getting areas that had cocaine that were manufacturing cocaine. And we would raid those. I didn’t understand why we were packaging this shit. Why aren’t we burning it?” Rangel said. “But I found out later about Oliver North and all that stuff. That they were selling arms for drugs.”

José Velasco during his time in the military and today
Photos courtesy of José Velasco and Maria Inés Zamudio/WBEZ

José Velasco, 74, was deported a year ago. The Vietnam War veteran was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Velasco said the charges were dropped, but he was still deported.

Velasco tried fighting the deportation until he ran out of money paying for lawyers. He sold his limousine business and moved to Tijuana.

The deportation has left him feeling devastated and betrayed on many levels.

“Have you ever seen a 70-year-old cry? Well, I did,” he said.

Velasco said he was told by military personnel that he was a U.S. citizen. That was a lie. And he doesn’t understand why he was deported since he was never convicted of a crime. He spent all of his savings to fight his deportation case, and he doesn’t know what else to do. Still, he remains committed to getting back to the U.S.

“I will go back. Because that’s my country. I’m more American than the average American. At least I served,” he said. “I’m Mexican by birth. By heart, I’m an American citizen.”

María Inés Zamudio is a reporter for WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities desk. 

Climate Change Protests are Growing Throughout the World!

Video – World Economic Forum

May 8, 2019

Grassroots activism.

📕 Read more:

Climate change protests are growing and spreading around the world

Grassroots activism. 📕 Read more:

Posted by Video – World Economic Forum on Wednesday, May 8, 2019

It’s Time for Plan Bee!

Video – World Economic Forum

It’s time for Plan Bee.

📕 Read more:

Here are three innovative European projects to rescue nature

It's time for Plan Bee. 📕 Read more:

Posted by Video – World Economic Forum on Friday, May 17, 2019

One person can make a difference for the environment!

Video – World Economic Forum

June 19, 2019

One person can make a difference.

📕 Read more:

These four exercise trends let you save the planet while getting fitter

One person can make a difference. 📕 Read more:

Posted by Video – World Economic Forum on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Trump administration’s lies about the Mueller report.

NowThis Politics

June 20, 2019

Robert De Niro, Rob Reiner, Sophia Bush, Stephen King, Jonathan Van Ness, and more are cutting through the Trump administration’s lies about the Mueller report.

EXCLUSIVE: The Truth About Trump Collusion and Obstruction in the Mueller Report

Robert De Niro, Rob Reiner, Sophia Bush, Stephen King, Jonathan Van Ness, and more are cutting through the Trump administration’s lies about the Mueller report.

Posted by NowThis Politics on Thursday, June 20, 2019

World Refugee Day: Defector Yeonmi Park describes how she escaped North Korea

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

June 20, 2019

On this #WorldRefugeeDay, defector Yeonmi Park describes how she escaped North Korea and became a human rights activist in the United States.

Watch the full episode: #C3 #YeonmiPark #GZW137

She escaped North Korea and became a human rights activist

On this #WorldRefugeeDay, defector Yeonmi Park describes how she escaped North Korea and became a human rights activist in the United States.Watch the full episode: #C3 #YeonmiPark #GZW137

Posted by GZERO World with Ian Bremmer on Thursday, June 20, 2019

1 in 6 ER visits or hospital stays triggers ‘surprise’ bill

Associated Press – Finance

1 in 6 ER visits or hospital stays triggers ‘surprise’ bill

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2019, file photo, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., walks to the Senate at the Capitol in Washington. A new study says about once in every six times someone is taken to an emergency room or checks in to a hospital as an in-patient, the treatment is followed by a “surprise” medical bill. (Associated Press)
In this Feb. 12, 2019, file photo, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., walks to the Senate at the Capitol in Washington. A new study says about once in every six times someone is taken to an emergency room or checks in to a hospital as an in-patient, the treatment is followed by a “surprise” medical bill. (Associated Press).


WASHINGTON (AP) — Roughly one in every six times someone is taken to an emergency room or checks in to the hospital, the treatment is followed by a “surprise” medical bill, according to a study released Thursday. And depending on where you live, the odds can be much higher.

The report from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that millions of people with what’s considered solid coverage from large employers are nonetheless exposed to “out-of-network” charges that can amount to thousands of dollars. It comes as congressional lawmakers of both parties and the Trump administration move to close the loophole, with a Senate panel scheduled to vote on legislation next week.

A patient’s odds of getting a surprise bill vary greatly depending on the state he or she lives in. Texas seems like a bit of a gamble, with 27% of emergency room visits and 38% of in-network hospital stays triggering at least one such bill. Minnesota looks safer, with odds of 2% and 3%, respectively.

Researcher Karen Pollitz of the Kaiser Foundation said the reasons for such wide differences are not entirely clear, but seem to be related to the breadth of hospital and doctor networks in each state, and the ways those networks are designed.

Patients in New York, Florida, New Jersey and Kansas were also more likely to get surprise bills. Among the other states where it was less likely were South Dakota, Nebraska, Maine and Mississippi.

Averaging the results nationwide, 18 percent of emergency room visits and 16 percent of stays at an in-network hospital triggered a surprise bill for patients with health insurance through a large employer, the study estimated.

That illustrates the need for Congress to get involved, said Pollitz, since large-employer plans are regulated by federal law and surprise billing protections already enacted by states like New York do not apply to them. “This is a prominent problem affecting patients, and it is beyond the reach of state laws to fix, and it is by definition beyond the ability of patients to fix on their own,” she said.

Next Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee plans to vote on bipartisan legislation that would limit what patients can be charged to their in-network deductibles and copays. The bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., would require insurers to pay out-of-network doctors and hospitals the median — or midpoint — rate paid to in-network providers. The House Energy and Commerce committee is working on similar legislation. President Donald Trump has said he wants to sign a bill.

Major industry lobbies are going to battle over the issue. Insurers and employers generally favor the approach the Alexander-Murray bill takes on how to pay out-of-network providers, using an in-network rate as the reference point. But hospitals and doctors instead want disputed bills to go to arbitration. New York has an arbitration system and a recent study found it has worked well. However, some lawmakers are concerned that on a national scale it may lead to a costly new bureaucracy.

Surprise bills can come about in different ways. In an emergency, a patient can wind up at a hospital that’s not in their insurer’s network. Even at an in-network hospital, emergency physicians or anesthesiologists may not have a contract with the patient’s insurer. For a scheduled surgery at an in-network hospital, not all the doctors may be in the patients’ plan.

Bills can amount to tens of thousands of dollars and hit patients and their families when they are most vulnerable. Often patients are able to negotiate lower charges by working with their insurers and the medical provider. But the process usually takes months, adding stress and anxiety. When it doesn’t work out bills can get sent to collection agencies.

The Kaiser estimates are based on insurance claims from 2017 for nearly 19 million people, or more than 1 in 5 of those covered by large employers. The claims details came from an IBM Health Analytics database that contains information provided by large-employer plans. Researchers excluded patients 65 or older, most of whom are covered by Medicare.

The Alexander-Murray legislation also includes other ideas aimed at lowering medical costs by promoting competition to brand-name drugs, blocking health industry contracting practices can bid up prices, and requiring greater disclosure of information. A public health section of the bill would authorize a national campaign to increase awareness of the role vaccines play in preventing disease.