ProPublica: A Doctor Went to His Own Employer for a COVID-19 Antibody Test. It Cost $10,984.

ProPublica: A Doctor Went to His Own Employer for a COVID-19 Antibody Test. It Cost $10,984.. “When Dr. Zachary Sussman went to Physicians Premier ER in Austin for a COVID-19 antibody test, he assumed he would get a freebie because he was a doctor for the chain. Instead, the free-standing emergency room charged his insurance company an astonishing $10,984 for the visit — and got paid every penny, with no pushback. The bill left him so dismayed he quit his job. And now, after ProPublica’s questions, the parent company of his insurer said the case is being investigated and could lead to repayment or a referral to law enforcement.”

New Yorker: How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic

New Yorker: How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic. “On June 22nd, in the baking heat of a parking lot a few miles inland from Delaware’s beaches, several dozen poultry workers, many of them Black or Latino, gathered to decry the conditions at a local poultry plant owned by one of President Donald Trump’s biggest campaign contributors. ‘We’re here for a reason that is atrocious,’ Nelson Hill, an official with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, told the small but boisterous crowd, which included top Democratic officials from the state, among them Senator Chris Coons. The union, part of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., represents some 1.3 million laborers in poultry-processing and meatpacking plants, as well as workers in grocery stores and retail establishments. Its members, many defined as ‘essential’ workers—without the option of staying home—have been hit extraordinarily hard by the coronavirus. The union estimates that nearly thirty thousand of its workers in the food and health-care sectors have contracted covid-19, and that two hundred and thirty-eight of those have died.”

Billionaires By The Numbers: New Website Offers Insights Into Nation’s Biggest Fortunes (Americans for Tax Fairness)

Americans for Tax Fairness: Billionaires By The Numbers: New Website Offers Insights Into Nation’s Biggest Fortunes. “A new website launched today provides in-depth insights into the startling reality of America’s billionaires—their growth in numbers and fortunes over recent decades, staggering real-time net worth, and growing political influence. ‘Billionaires by the Numbers’ tracks the fortunes of U.S. billionaires and is particularly vital right now for a nation confronting long-standing economic injustice brought to light by disease, recession and racial oppression.”

New York Times: Most Coronavirus Tests Cost About $100. Why Did One Cost $2,315?

New York Times: Most Coronavirus Tests Cost About $100. Why Did One Cost $2,315?. “In a one-story brick building in suburban Dallas, between a dentist office and a family medicine clinic, is a medical laboratory that has run some of the most expensive coronavirus tests in America. Insurers have paid Gibson Diagnostic Labs as much as $2,315 for individual coronavirus tests. In a couple of cases, the price rose as high as $6,946 when the lab said it mistakenly charged patients three times the base rate.”

Asian Age: US man receives $1.1 million hospital bill after surviving COVID-19

Asian Age: US man receives $1.1 million hospital bill after surviving COVID-19. “Michael Flor was admitted to a hospital in the northwestern city on March 4, and stayed for 62 days — at one point coming so close to death that nurses held up the phone so his wife and children could say goodbye. But he recovered and was discharged on May 5 to the cheers of nursing staff — only to receive a 181-page bill totalling $1,122,501.04.”

Axios: Health care CEO pay outstrips infectious disease research

Axios: Health care CEO pay outstrips infectious disease research. “The CEOs of 179 health care companies took home almost $2.5 billion in 2019, a majority of which came from cashing out stock, according to an Axios analysis of financial filings. The big picture: That amount is four times what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had to study and prepare for all ’emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases’ last year, right before the novel coronavirus outbreak turned into a global pandemic.”

USA Today: Coronavirus postcard that featured Trump’s name cost struggling Postal Service $28 million

USA Today: Coronavirus postcard that featured Trump’s name cost struggling Postal Service $28 million. “A postcard mailed to every American household that included coronavirus social distancing guidelines and also prominently featured President Donald Trump’s name cost the U.S. Postal Service $28 million, USA TODAY has learned. The coronavirus card, which began appearing in U.S. mailboxes in March, drew fire from good-government groups that said it applied a political veneer to the administration’s effort to inform Americans about the pandemic. The cost comes as the U.S. mail service – which Trump has described as ‘a joke’ – is struggling financially.”

CNBC: American billionaires got $434 billion richer during the pandemic

CNBC: American billionaires got $434 billion richer during the pandemic. “America’s billionaires saw their fortunes soar by $434 billion during the U.S. lockdown between mid-March and mid-May, according to a new report. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had the biggest gains, with Bezos adding $34.6 billion to his wealth and Zuckerberg adding $25 billion, according to the report from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program for Inequality. The report is based on Forbes data for America’s more than 600 billionaires between March 18, when most states were in lockdown, and May 19.”

Techdirt: NSA Blew $100 Million On Phone Records Over Five Years, Generated Exactly One Usable Lead

Techdirt: NSA Blew $100 Million On Phone Records Over Five Years, Generated Exactly One Usable Lead. “The telephone metadata program the NSA finally put out to pasture in 2019 was apparently well past its expiration date. Since the initial Snowden leak in 2013, critics have argued the program needed to die since it was obviously the sort of general warrant rummaging (only without the warrant!) the founding fathers headed off with the Fourth Amendment.”

CNET: Google to spend $10 billion on offices, data centers in US this year

CNET: Google to spend $10 billion on offices, data centers in US this year. “Google continues to expand far beyond its headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said Wednesday that the company will invest more than $10 billion in offices and data centers across the US in 2020.”

Ubergizmo: Top TikTok Stars Could Earn As Much As $1 Million Per Post

Ubergizmo: Top TikTok Stars Could Earn As Much As $1 Million Per Post. “Remember back in the day when bloggers could earn a ton of money for sponsored posts? This later moved on to social media platforms, where those who were particularly popular on platforms like Instagram could also earn a lot of money, but now it looks like we’re moving on to a new platform: TikTok.”

Mashable: Rhode Island suggests Facebook overpaid the FTC billions to protect Mark Zuckerberg

Mashable: Rhode Island suggests Facebook overpaid the FTC billions to protect Mark Zuckerberg. “The state of Rhode Island is suing the social media giant in a bid to force Facebook to turn over documents related to the head-turning $5 billion FTC payout. While the inciting incident was the charge — following the Cambridge Analytica scandal — that Facebook lied to its users about their privacy, at issue for Rhode Island is the size of that monumental payment. The state, which owns Facebook stock, suggests in the suit that the company substantially overpaid the FTC in a bid to get Mark Zuckerberg personally off the hook.”

Ars Technica: Open access journals get a boost from librarians—much to Elsevier’s dismay

Ars Technica: Open access journals get a boost from librarians—much to Elsevier’s dismay. “When Florida State University cancelled its ‘big deal’ contract for all Elsevier’s 2,500 journals last March to save money, the publisher warned it would backfire and cost the library $1 million extra in pay-per-view fees. But even to the surprise of Gale Etschmaier, dean of FSU’s library, the charges after eight months were actually less than $20,000.”

The Washington Post: Should the public pay a dime for access to court records?

The Washington Post: Should the public pay a dime for access to court records?. “The federal judiciary charges 10 cents per page to pull up court files from its online record repository. The fees can add up quickly, and users must consider whether each click to view a public record is worth the cost. But a lawsuit in court Monday in Washington challenges the government’s paywall to search online for case documents through the service known as PACER, an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records.”

New York Times: The Gap Between the Haves and Have-Nots of Tech Widens

New York Times: The Gap Between the Haves and Have-Nots of Tech Widens. “In the last two weeks, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon — like Alphabet, all flirting with a $1 trillion stock value on Wall Street — posted record results. The final member of tech’s Big Five, Facebook, which is a little more than halfway to a $1 trillion valuation, also reported strong earnings. With each passing quarter, tech’s wealthiest companies are building on their power, making it harder for smaller outfits to compete and for entrepreneurs to build the next Google or Facebook.”