• As the nation focuses on the impeachment inquiry over Donald Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine in exchange for personal political favors, the Trump White House quietly placed a hold on $105 million in military assistance to Lebanon. The funding was provided to the Lebanese army to purchase U.S.-made military equipment. The aid to Lebanon was released prior to Thanksgiving after complaints from congressional Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who recently traveled to Lebanon.
(“Trump Administration Quietly Releases Lebanon Military Aid,” Associated Press, Dec. 1, 2019; “We Are Telegraphing Abandonment,” Foreign Policy, Dec. 3, 2019; “Lebanon Appeals for Import Aid,” Reuters, Dec. 6, 2019)
• Patients who visit an emergency room or are admitted to an in-network hospital by an in-network doctor may find that some of the professionals who treat them are not covered by their insurance policy. That’s because hospitals have outsourced emergency room, anesthesiology, radiology, or other specialized services to outside physician practices or staffing firms. Patients now often find themselves on the hook for thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars in surprise medical bills.
(“Private Equity Tries to Protect Another Profit Center,” American Prospect, Sept. 9, 2019; “Key Negotiator Say Deal Is Close on Surprise Medical Bill Legislation,” The Hill, Dec. 6, 2019)
• MSNBC is the cable station of choice for most Democrats and liberals. While the TV channel now offers wall-to-wall impeachment coverage, over the summer it broadcast critical coverage of the candidates running for president in 2020. But MSNBC’s prime time hosts weren’t neutral, but delivered biased coverage favoring Democratic party establishment centrist candidates like Joe Biden.
(“Pete Buttigieg Touted Three Major Supporters for His Douglas Plan for Black America,” Intercept, Nov. 15, 2019; “Surging in Iowa, Buttigieg Struggles to Connect With Black Voters,” New York Times, Nov. 21, 2019)
This week’s News Summary was narrated by Richard Hill.