June 24, 2021
Letter to the Editor
PBM fiasco shows more must be done to hold corporate executives responsible
I write to thank The Dispatch for its series on Pharmacy Benefit Managers and the editorial in the June 20 edition that summarized how PBMs prey upon the country’s health care system and increase the cost of health care.
The series illustrates the essential role local newspapers play in protecting the public interest.
It also revealed yet another example of how executives in corporations routinely escape accountability for their criminal actions because a corporation is considered a “person” under current U.S. law.
The Dispatch reported how Centene corporation and its subsidiaries double-billed Ohio for their services, were sued by the state and then paid the state $88 million to “settle” the case without admitting any wrongdoing. It also paid a total of $1.1 billion to settle claims from several other states.
But no one faced criminal charges. Not the executives and managers who planned the thefts. Not the accountants who buried the thefts in annual reports. Not the corporate boards that signed off on those reports. And of course, since a company cannot be locked up, not the corporate “person” that was allowed to use its stolen money to buy its way out of accountability. Everyone involved in this multistate criminal conspiracy walks away scot-free.
So I ask the question: If an individual swindles senior citizens and reaps millions of dollars, how much of that money should it take to pay a large fine, admit no wrongdoing and walk away with no criminal liability?
Corporations are not people.
As Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens noted in 2010, the idea of corporate personhood “often serves as a useful legal fiction…” Corporations “are not themselves members of 'we the people' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”
More information can be found at movetoamend.org.
Steve Abbott, Columbus
OHIO: Painesville Issue 1: Grassroots group pushing to send message against corporate campaign contributions
PAINESVILLE, Ohio — The Center for Responsive Politics preliminarily projects the total cost of the 2020 election cycle to be $10.8 billion, roughly a 50% increase in spending compared to the 2016 election when adjusted for inflation. If the projections hold true, political spending this election cycle would equal about a third of Ohio's annual budget ($32.4 billion). As large sums of money and political influence have largely become synonymous with one another, a small but passionate group in Painesville is trying to put a stop to it.
On their ballots this November, Painesville voters will decide Issue 1, a proposed ordinance by petition that would declare the need for a constitutional amendment that would clamp down on political contributions by corporations, unions and Super PACs. The ordinance would also declare that money is not the equivalent of speech.Read more
Our election system is broken because of the destructive influences of money in politics and the misguided notion that corporations may claim constitutional rights. With these rights they are able to spend tremendous amounts of “dark” money through organizations and PACS to support the candidates who will serve their needs. And their primary need is profit. While profits are essential in a capitalist system the needs of “we the people” should be primary since we are also a democracy.Read more