Trump Administration Wants to Take Away Right to Sue Nursing Homes

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You’ve probably signed away your right to sue your cell phone carrier, your cable company, and maybe your doctor and dentist too. Instead, if you have a complaint, you’re required to take it to arbitration, whether you want to or not.

How do they get away with this? Mostly by giving you no choice. You probably have only one cable company to choose from. There are four big cell phone carriers, but they all mandate arbitration. And it’s so common among doctors that you’d have a hard time finding one who doesn’t require it. In practice, they require it because they have enough market power to make it stick.

It’s ironic, then, that nursing homes don’t like it when someone with even more market power than them turns the tables:

In October 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to push back on mandatory arbitration. By rule, CMS adopted a novel “condition of participation” for Medicare and Medicaid. Nursing homes that participate in the programs—which is to say, all nursing homes—could no longer ask their residents to sign away their right to sue upon entering the nursing home.

….Predictably, the nursing home industry sued, arguing that the rule exceeded CMS’s authority….Then President Trump took office. In early June, with little fanfare or notice, the administration dismissed the appeal and proposed to undo the change altogether. “Upon reconsideration, we believe that arbitration agreements are, in fact, advantageous to both providers and beneficiaries because they allow for the expeditious resolution of claims without the costs and expense of litigation.”

That’s from Nicholas Bagley, who says, “With health reform dominating the news, this volte-face has been overlooked. That’s a shame: it’s a big deal.” He promises to dive into it in more depth over the next couple of weeks.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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