Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Vicki Ibarra opens a late medical bill for her son at her home on Saturday, February 2, 2019 in Fresno, California.

Vicki Ibarra opens a late medical bill for her son at her home on Saturday, February 2, 2019 in Fresno, California. (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

New Poll: Half in US Fear Bankruptcy From Major Health Event

"During a pandemic, this should ring some alarm bells."

Andrea Germanos

As millions across the nation lose their employer-tied healthcare coverage amid the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crash, a Gallup poll released Tuesday shows Americans are increasingly concerned a major health event could lead to bankruptcy.

According to the survey of 1,007 people conducted July 1-24, 50% of respondents are concerned or extremely concerned about such a possibility—a five-point increase from the 45% measured last year.

The concern was expressed nearly equally among women (51%) and men (49%). Concern among men jumped 7 percentage points compared to the January-February 2019 survey, while concern among women increased four points.

Among non-whites, concern about a health event-driven bankruptcy spiked 12%, surging from 52% to 64% in the new poll.

A similar uptick was seen in adults aged 29 and younger, increasing from 43% to 55%. For those aged 30-49, concern went up 9 points, going from 46% to 55%.

Gallup's poll also revealed that 15% of adults said someone in their household currently is saddled with medical debt they don't expect to pay off in the next 12 months. And the burden is overwhelmingly likely to be felt by those in lower income brackets. Twenty-eight percent of those in households making less than $40,000 annually said they had that long term medical debt compared to just 6% of those making more than $100,000.

If faced with a $500 medical bill, 26% of those surveyed said they would need to borrow money to pay it. Such a scenario, Gallup noted, "is likely to feed into a cycle of accumulating medical debt that cannot be readily repaid."

The findings come as the coronavirus crisis continues to spotlight the inequities of the U.S. healthcare system. A national analysis out last month from the Economic Policy Institute, for example, estimated that roughly 12 million people have lost access to employer-sponsored healthcare coverage since February.

Those losses have bolstered Medicare for All advocates' demands for a single-payer healthcare system and cancellation of medical debt. 

Among those who've called for such a transformation is healthcare activist Ady Barkan. In remarks delivered at the Democratic National Convention last month, Barkan said, "We live in the richest country in history, and yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right."

"Everyone living in America should get the healthcare they need," he said, "regardless of their employment status or ability to pay."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·


West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·


'Texans Deserved Better Than This': Supreme Court Leaves Abortion Ban in Place

The nation's high court set a date to hear a pair of legal challenges to the "horrific" restrictions.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like It Never Happened': Federal Judge Tosses Trump Attack on Clean Water Rule

Denying a Biden administration request to temporarily retain the rule, the judge reestablished "the careful balance of state and federal power to protect clean water that Congress intended when it wrote the Clean Water Act."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo