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Reposted from Shockwave by Shockwave

Susan Bonilla photo Susan Bonilla large_zpssy8w5lux.jpg

A special election on May 19 will determine whether Susan Bonilla or Steve Glazer gets to be a California Senator representing the 7th Senate district.  Susan came 2nd in the March 17th primary.  

Glazer received 38,411 in the primary while Bonilla got 28,389, about 10,000 votes less.  However,  the next candidate was Joan Buchanan who received 25,534 and she endorsed Bonilla.

True, the Republican in the race came 4th and received 18,281 and endorsed Glazer (another red light when a Republican endorses a Democrat) before withdrawing from the race 1 month before the March primary.  So many of the votes Glazer received were probably Republicans.  Republicans that voted for Michaela Hertle even after she withdrew will probably not participate in the special election.  So it will be close and we can make a difference.

“I am endorsing Steve Glazer for California State Senate District 7.  Mr. Glazer has proven that he can work with Republicans and Democrats alike to find common sense solutions to our state’s needs”, said Hertle.  “He is not beholden to labor or other special interests, as seen by his opposition to BART strikes.”
The choice in ths special election in DailyKos' backyard is clear, Susan Bonilla, a great Democrat or Steve Galzer a blue dog.
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I'm far from the district but as a Single Payer activist I will do what I can to support Susan.  She is all for Single Payer, Glazer is not.  And we need Single Payer supporters in Sacramento so that what happened in 2012 doesn't happen again and so we can get to Single Payer however convoluted the road map has become in the era of Obamacare.

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As a matter of fact, the recently launched Single Payer PAC has picked Susan as the first candidate to support.  You can donate to her campaign via PayPal on the PAC page or donate to her campaign directly via ActBlue on her website.

Single Payer PAC Susan Bonilla photo Single Payer PAC_zpsehno0eil.jpg

Another red light, SF Gate seems to endorse Glazer;

Steve Glazer: A moderate Democrat, actually;

It’s true Glazer has business support. But that’s because private enterprise needs Democrats who are, as California Chamber of Commerce Veep Marty Wilson put it, “reform-minded” and “will stand up to the unions.” The chambers’ JOBSPac has spent more than $180,000 to help elect Glazer, a Democrat who helped push through a big tax increase, because the chamber is desperate to elect Democrats willing to buck the left’s entrenched interests.
 And those progressives in the  Chamber of Commers obviously love Glazer even if he is a Dem.

If you still have doubts, compare the endorsements of  Bonilla vs. Glazer. Interestingly, Governor Jerry Brown has not endorsed Glazer even though he is one of his top advisors;

Glazer is known as Jerry Brown's leading political strategist.
A yellow light at least IMO.

And this from Calbuzz;

Op-Ed: Why Unions Back Bonilla Over Glazer

Bipartisan Bonilla: Experience is one reason labor backs Bonilla. A former high school English teacher, she has built a reputation in the Capitol as a workhorse who tackles tough issues. Susan has teamed up with Gov. Jerry Brown on a landmark restructuring of the state’s local education funding formula, and won bipartisan praise for her handling of the “Uber” bill last year as chair of the Assembly’s Business and Professions Committee.
On income inequality, Glazer has refused to support an increase in the minimum wage, a bread-and-butter Democratic issue supported by Bonilla, not to mention President Obama and Gov. Brown.

When Glazer was asked about the minimum wage at a candidate forum last year, he replied that, “Most of these jobs are being provided by small business people in our communities. I think you should talk to them. I think they’ll tell you things aren’t so grand,” hardly what we expect from someone running as a Democrat anywhere, especially in one of the wealthier enclaves of California.

Glazer also has angered environmentalists by suggesting that he’d push for unspecified major changes in the state’s landmark California Environmental Quality Act (better known as CEQA). By contrast, Bonilla, scored 81 percent on the California League of Conservation Voters scorecard.

Bill Clinton, Jerry Brown and Dianne Feinstein are all moderate Democrats. But none has crossed labor like Steve Glazer. He is pushing policies that damage the middle class and reflect the California Chamber of Commerce‘s agenda. His victory would signal that there is not much difference between Democrats and Republicans on economic issues. That is precisely what corporate interests want in California.
So if you want a better Democrat in Sacramento and if you are a supporter of Single Payer, please get involved or at least donate.
Reposted from Shockwave by Shockwave

The Single Payer movement is moving forward in California.  We are kicking off the new strategy on Monday.  

The ultimate goal is to apply for a "waiver" under the ACA in 2017.  For this we need several things but paramount is the state legislature to budget and complete the economic impact study.

But this Lobby Day we will focus in supporting SB 4, the Lara Bill. The idea is to make healthcare available to 3-4 million undocumented workers in California.  Senator Lara is one of the biggest Single Payer supporters in California and will be leading the effort in Sacramento.  This SB 4 is good and it's a step in the right direction.

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Hundreds of activists organized by the AllCare Alliance will be bused in on Sunday.

There will be speeches and events at the Leadership Conference. Here you can get a ticket (nobody turned back) and even a hotel room and bus ride.

This is a diary I posted 5 years ago for another Single Payer Lobby Day.

If you can't make it perhaps I can talk you into signing this TakePart petition supporting SB 4;

Sign On: California Needs Health for All!

I'll be in Sacramento on Sunday through Wednesday morning meeting with legislators, attending the Leadership Conference and Alliance board meetings.

But I will hive time for dinner and drinks in our state capital.

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Reposted from james321 by smileycreek

Probably known more for its presence in the lobby of the Econolodge or Holiday Inn than exhaustive, in-depth reporting, USA Today has hit it out of the park with its recent article on the crushing burden -- for an increasingly-strapped middle class -- of health care in America.

Americans -- working full-time jobs in the formal economy -- are simply being abused by this country's bloated medical-industrial complex. Let's start with a heartbreaking anecdote and then dig deeper.

Jennifer Ross, an arthritis sufferer in Florida insured through her husband's job, says she recently made the wrenching decision not to take a medication that might allow her to get around without her wheelchair. The $2,400-a-month medicine would cost her $600 a month out-of-pocket even with insurance, and she simply can't swing it. To make matters worse, Ross' 12-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with arthritis, too.
Reread the aforementioned and join me below the fold.
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Reposted from Shockwave by Shockwave

The June 3 "jungle" primary is upon us.  The new rules are that the top 2 candidates, whatever their party affiliation, will face each other in November.

There is one race where it is clear that if we get on the same page and do what we can before Tuesday we may make a huge difference; California Secretary of State.

The current Secretary of State is Debra Bowen, I had the honor to meet her a couple of years ago.  She is retiring due to term limits.  From her official website these are the responsibilities of the office.

The one relevant poll about the primary was conducted by Field Poll;

Field poll S of S photo Fieldpoll_zps65eba0bf.jpg

Leland Yee, a corporate Dem, is out because of problems with the law;

Feds: Calif. pol Leland Yee schemed to trade arms for campaign cash.

Repug Pete Peterson looks like a shoe in for one of the 2 to go on to November.

Of the Dems, Alex Padilla looks like a favorite with 17% but,  and a big but, 41% are undecided.

So it looks like the 2nd candidate to make it to November is up for grabs.

I believe that if we all get the word out we can get Derek Cressman elected.

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Why Derek Cressman?

I had the pleasure to meet him when he spoke and marched at the kickoff of the March for Democracy;

Derek Cressman Day 1 photo DerekCressmanDay1_zps81572082.jpg

Derek joined the march again on Day 10 with Dolores Huerta;

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Day 11 Derek Cressman photo Day11DerekCressman_zpsa1f38356.jpg

Derek supports the march because his #1 issue is;

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I agree with him, money in politics is the common denominator in all the causes I'm involved with.  For an explanation of what the march is about check the interview with the organizer, Kai Newkirk, in this diary.

Derek Cressman's credentials on this issue are very reliable, he has served as Vice President of State Operations for Common Cause and he has spoken against the Koch brothers;

Derek Cressman Crusades Against the Koch Brothers in California.  He is definitively one of us.

And his Dem opponent Alex Padilla?

Alex has taken money from telecomms, auto dealers, payday loan providers, banks, alcohol companies and gambling interest and done favors for all of them.

As a Single Payer activist I will never forget he was one of the 6 senators who sabotaged SB 810 in 2012;

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So on Tuesday, remember to vote for a better Democrat; Derek Cressman.  Here is his Twitter.

Reposted from linkage by smileycreek

Six California Democratic Senators voted against California SB-810 Single‑payer health care coverage. Link to SB-810 bill text at California Legislative Information.  One is no longer a Senator.

Logo From:Campaign for a Healthy California

Campaign for a Healthy California is leading the effort to contact the following five California Senators and ask them to stop blocking SB-810. These California State Senators are Ron Calderon, Lou Correa, Michael Rubio*, Juan Vargas, Alex Padilla, and Rod Wright. Please call their office and tell them you support SB-810.  Jump the fold for their contact information and a flyer with additional information.

UPDATE:  Michael Rubio resigned a year ago for a more lucrative job as a lobbyist with Chevron - Thanks ybruti   (Sorry the flyer is a little out of date)

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Reposted from Laurence Lewis by Shockwave
Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The faces of fail
It's not often that a Washington Post editorial is a must read, but today's headline speaks for itself:
House Republicans are failing Americans in their effort to kill Obamacare
As one of the leading shapers of Beltway opinion, the Post editorial board shares responsibility for the normalizing of Republican extremism. Not today.
AMERICANS’ RESPECT for their Congress has, sad to say, diminished in recent years. But citizens still expect a minimal level of competence and responsibility: Pay the bills and try not to embarrass us in front of the world.

By those minimal standards, this Congress is failing. More specifically, the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives are failing. They should fulfill their basic duties to the American people or make way for legislators who will.

The Post emphasizes that it isn't partisan, points to its criticism of President Obama, and its having urged compromise during the last (concocted by Republicans) fiscal crisis. Indeed, the Post long has been the primary purveyor of the false narrative that, no matter how extreme the Republican drift, both sides are at fault. Just two days ago, the Post even twisted itself into pretzels attempting to promote the idea of shared blame for the current crisis. Apparently, even the delusions of the Washington Post editorial board has limits.

Continue reading about the Washington Post editorial below the fold.

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Reposted from Shockwave by Shockwave

First of all, knowledgeable activists believe that the ACA will benefit millions and its success will clear the road to Single Payer, the final destination.  If Obamacare fails, many of us understand that it will set back all healthcare reform back.  Then again the insurance companies are so greedy and the current system so dysfunctional, so expensive (increasingly) and unjust that it may self destruct if the ACA fails. Obviously the success of the Vermont Single Payer implementation is huge and we really look forward to it's quick implementation.

Healthcare is a human right photo Healthcareisahumanright_zpsf85f378d.jpg

The ACA implementation is not trivial. Here in California, one of the leading ACA states, $1 billion has been budgeted, between federal and foundation contributions,  to enroll about 5.5 million people.  Covered California is enlisting all sorts of organizations to become certified enrollers. And the plan is to pay $58 per enrollee.  This alone comes out to be about $300 million.  Covered California is running a pretty tight organization and I wish them the best.

Once the exchanges are rolling by October 1st and once enrollees become enrolled by January 1st the ACA will gain momentum in California.  I will look forward to all the anecdotal account diaries of the positive impact of Obamacare on people everywhere.

So, paradoxically,  one way you can help Single Payer is to get involved in the implementation of the ACA.

More below the orange croissant.


Single Payer...

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Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar

One of the big draws of Obamacare was that at least - at the very least - expenses would be capped. No longer could someone run up a catastrophic $100,000 bill. As the President said

"We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick..."
Or so we thought. But that is not to be for some this year.
...some group health plans will not be required to impose any limit on a patient's out-of-pocket costs for drugs next year. If a drug plan does not currently have a limit on out-of-pocket costs, it will not have to impose one for 2014, federal officials said Monday.
In other words: Yet Another Exception For The Benefit Of The One Percent.

In other words, should you be so unfortunate to be one of the lucky ones to fall under "some group health plans" you can still go very, very broke, very very quickly...

The American Cancer Society... noted that some new cancer drugs cost $100,000 a year or more.
Multiple Sclerosis drugs are also exceedingly expensive:
Theodore M. Thompson, a vice president of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said: "The promise of out-of-pocket limits was one of the main reasons we supported health care reform. So we are disappointed that some plans will be allowed to have multiple out-of-pocket limits in 2014."
If you're not quite so unlucky, your out-of-pocket expenses will only be double what the law is written to allow!
Under the policy, many group health plans will be able to maintain separate out-of-pocket limits for benefits in 2014. As a result, a consumer may be required to pay $6,350 for doctors' services and hospital care, and an additional $6,350 for prescription drugs under a plan administered by a pharmacy benefit manager.
And why did this insanity come about?
federal officials said that many insurers and employers needed more time to comply because they used separate companies to help administer major medical coverage and drug benefits, with separate limits on out-of-pocket costs.

In many cases, the companies have separate computer systems that cannot communicate with one another.

Oh, no!!!  Not that.  Separate computer systems?  Separate computer systems that health care providers have known need to talk to each other for almost FOUR FUCKING YEARS NOW?????

And this is just bullshit anyway. If the systems really can't talk to one another this year but will magically be able to do so next year, then why not demand at the very least that the two different insurers provide reimbursements at the end of the year, insisting that the two balances be reconciled?  Explain to me why people making $30,000 a year have to cough up a possible extra $6350 a year because the government is too stupid to figure out a way to deal and so gullible as to believe insurance companys which make $300,000,000 / yr. claims?

But the worst of the worst is those who will still be caught in hell - a total non-cap on out-of-pocket expenses. What in the name of the Affordable Care Act were they thinking?

Reposted from Shockwave by Shockwave

If you believe that healthcare is a basic human right and understand why Single Payer IS the final destination of healthcare reform and you want to get it done as soon as possible, read on.

Single Payer System photo SinglePayersmall2-4.gif

If you are involved in the Single Payer movement in California this diary may help you understand what we face and whet we can do to get things done.

I am one of those Single Payer activists who understands that Obamacare will benefit many and it is truly amazing that this effort, that President Obama should get full credit for, is the best that could come from a dysfunctional and extremely polarized DC.

And I support those who keep up the fight to prevent its sabotage by all the Republicans in red states and in DC.

I consider the ACA a giant first step towards an America where healthcare is recognized as a basic human right and there is a system that allows ALL who live here to have access to affordable medical attention without the fear of going bankrupt.

And I understand that California is leading the country in the implementation of Obamacare.  But it's not about being better than other states like Texas and Georgia where Obamacare is being sabotaged or ignored. It's about joining Vermont to help lead the country to a place where ALL are covered, where the private insurance blood suckers are gone, where medical results and costs are in line with other developed nations, where if you need to see a doctor (or a dentist) you make an appointment and you don't worry whether you will be able to pay the rent (given that 76% of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck).

So how do we get it done? Follow me below the orange croissant.


Single Payer...

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Reposted from Shockwave by Shockwave

The Affordable Care Act will help millions but it is not enough.  If OFA and other Obamacare supporters want the grassroots to help it get implemented they need to clearly indicate that it is not the final destination.

MLK on healthcare photo MLKonhealthcare_zps49508968.jpg

Healthcare represents more than 18% of our GNP according to the WHO ($2.700.000.000.000/year), dwarfing everything else.  Obamacare will not bring this down. Norway, with a Single Payer system, spends only 9.7% of GNP and 100% of everyone there is covered with significantly better outcomes.  As a matter of fact, we are #38 in healthcare according to the WHO. Hopefully the ACA will improve our ranking but even with Obamacare, more than 30 million people will not be covered according to a study by the Health Affairs journal.

And I doubt that the bankruptcies caused by medical bills will be reduced. 62% of all bankruptcies are due to medical bills and 75% of those happen to people who HAVE insurance.

I was not happy at all when Obama put Single Payer off the table before the negotiations with the GOP (and Blue Dogs) got started in 2009.  He had supported Single Payer before 2008 but his bargaining chip for the ACA was the Public Option.

The ACA was the best Obama could get in the ridiculously polarized and dysfunctional DC given Republican shenanigans and blue dog timidity. But it is not what is best for the country.

Obama has his hands full implementing the ACA in red states and elsewhere.  The fight for Medicare for all continues now state by state.  Vermont leads the way with their Single Payer system based on the Taiwanese model but Single Payer advocates are not giving up in many other states including California where the movement is regrouping after the fiasco in Sacramento last year.

If we are going to reach the final destination people really want, we need to embrace healthcare as a human right.  Once we do and reject the idea of healthcare as a privilege, nothing can stop us.

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So yes, let's support Obamacare implementation but let's keep our eyes on the prize.

But if you want to expand Obamacare, as a majority of liberals, progressives and Democrats do according to Pew and Kaiser follow below the orange croissant.


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Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar

It's the sequester. And the sequester is good. Austerity for cancer patients. What could go wrong with that?

Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts...

After an emergency meeting Tuesday, ((North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates)) clinics decided that they would no longer see one-third of their 16,000 Medicare patients.

((Jeff Vacirca, their chief executive, said))

"A lot of us are in disbelief that this is happening. It's a choice between seeing these patients and staying in business."

Oh, but it's just an unintended consequence of doing something really, really stupid. Who could have predicted?
Legislators meant to partially shield Medicare from the automatic budget cuts triggered by the sequester, limiting the program to a 2 percent reduction - a fraction of the cuts seen by other federal programs.

But oncologists say the cut is unexpectedly damaging for cancer patients because of the way those treatments are covered...

The federal government typically pays community oncologists for the average sales price of a chemotherapy drug, plus 6 percent to cover the cost of storing and administering the medication.

Since oncologists cannot change the drug prices, they argue that the entire 2 percent cut will have to come out of that 6 percent overhead. That would make it more akin to a double-digit pay cut.

In other words, if the price of the drug is 94% of the total charged, and the other 6% is used to pay for the clinic's costs associated with the administering a drug, then reducing reimbursement by 2% means the government is really reducing what the clinic gets to cover costs by 33%, while the drug company that supplies the drug isn't taking a hit at all.

Isn't that sweet? But hey, there's hope. Maybe their patients won't all just up and "Die quickly!"

Cancer patients turned away from local oncology clinics may seek care at hospitals, which also deliver chemotherapy treatments.
There's just one catch. Catch 6500.
The care will likely be more expensive: One study from actuarial firm Milliman found that chemotherapy delivered in a hospital setting costs the federal government an average of $6,500 more annually than care delivered in a community clinic.
Seems like some cancer clinic administrators believe the tooth fairy will solve the problem.
Some cancer clinics are counting on the federal government to provide relief, and continuing to see patients they expect to lose money on...

"We're hoping that something will change, as legislators see the impact of this," Ralph Boccia, director of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Bethesda, Md., said.

What legislators would that be, I wonder? Ted "let's repeal Obamacare for the 36th time" Cruz? Paul "let's kill Medicare in your lifetime" Ryan?

I know for as certain as I could ever be that enough legislators do not exist to vote to make drug companies take a minor two percent hit in the amount they charge for cancer drugs. I suppose it is barely possible enough could be shamed to simply undo the cuts for drugs falling into this "gotcha."

But I wouldn't bet my clinic on it, Mr. Boccia.

Boccia estimates that 55 percent of his patients are covered by Medicare, making any changes to reimbursement rates difficult to weather.

"When I look at the numbers, they don't add up," he said. "Business 101 says we can't stay open if we don't cover our costs."

Not unless health care was treated like it is in every other industrialized country on Earth - as a right, not as a business.
Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar

Today, Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street which organized the Rolling Jubilee to raise money for debt relief, announced it's first major purchase of and elimination of said debt.  Approximately $50,000 of the money they've raised was used to retire $1,000,000 in medical debt in their first major purchase on the 'open debt' market. (In December, 2012, they commenced to do a 'trial buy' of medical debt, using $5,000 to purchase $100,000 of unpaid medical debt.)

We are very happy to announce that we have completed our second purchase of medical debt. This time, we bought and abolished over $1 million in debt from emergency rooms in Kentucky and Indiana. The average debtor owed around $900 and we will be abolishing the debt of over 1,000 people! We are sending the letters to the debtors as we type this. We are very concerned with the privacy of debtors, but if any of them come forward and want to share their stories, we will make them public...
The Rolling Jubilee started, well, rolling, back in November, 2012, and went viral. Hoping to raise $50,000 to buy medical debt at pennies on the dollar, by the time they stopped asking for donations in January, 2013 they had raised more than $500,000, enough to buy up more than $11,000,000 in medical debt and burn it.

But the effort was not so much about any individual's debt which might be eradicated, rather to call attention to the whole, evil idea.

From the beginning of the project over six months ago we have been very clear about three things we want from this project: (1) to provide some real relief for those around the country who are struggling under the crushing burden of debt; (2) to change the conversation around debt and austerity; and (3) to help advance debt resistance as part of a larger movement capable of bringing about a profound transformation of our economic system...

When starting Rolling Jubilee we committed to buying medical debt first and foremost, wanting to call attention to the profound inhumanity and inequity of our for-profit healthcare system. We have spent a great deal of time learning about the medical debt market, and the healthcare industry at large. It is an industry designed to confuse, overwhelm, and exploit. Though one in three people have medical debt, very few know that their debts are for sale on the secondary market, nor do they realize that old medical bills can negatively impact their credit scores, often with disastrous consequences for their financial well being.

Medical debt. A concept that barely exists in civilized countries. Yet here in the United States we continue the barbarous practice of kicking people when they are most down and out. Can you imagine trying to recover from a major illness while worrying all the time about how you will ever pay for your treatment and being hounded by debt collectors to boot?
People are made to suffer twice, first from injury or illness and then financial extortion. We are all forced into debt while private insurance companies, banks and real estate moguls profit off of our misery. We refuse to accept this. We want to use the attention these buys will generate to have an impact on the struggle for real, free, accessible healthcare for the 99%. There are real solutions being proposed as alternatives to Obama's Affordable Care Act: a single-payer healthcare system would save the U.S. $400 billion dollars every year; even just expanding Medicare to all would save $68 billion by 2020. Creating a public alternative or single-payer system are some of the many ways to strike debt.
It's time to 'Just Say No!' to medical debt and our system of health care for profit.


Previous Rolling Jubilee Diaries:

'Tis the Season to StrikeDebt: Done! $100,000 in Medical Debt Goes Up in Smoke. Much More to Follow.

What Would You Do If You Owned (Not Owed!) $10,000,000 In Debt? Rolling Jubilee Will Burn It.

Rolling Jubilee Hits $8,000,000 in Medical Debt to be Retired Uncollected. MORE UPDATES!


Other Strike Debt Chapters:

Strike Debt Chicago

Strike Debt Bay Area

Strike Debt Boston

Join the growing resistance!


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