tv The Stream Al Jazeera March 28, 2015 4:30am-5:01am EDT
economy depends on road transport. connecting afghanistan's city and rural areas is essential if the country is to drive again just a quick reminder that you can find the stories by logging on to the website. aljazeera.com. hi, i am lisa flesher and you are in the stream. nonprofit hospitals are supposed to take care of people regardless of their ability to pay. why then are some suing patients for millions. and the is i.r.s. doing enough to stop it? could this be the beginning of the end for the cable television industry, a new internet t.v. services are capturing consumers. and a new battlefield in the
information age why some around the globe are anonymously editing wikipedia pages and what the collaborative online encyclopedia is doing to stop it. >> welcome to the stream. co-host and digital producer bringing in all of your ideas throughout the program. raj, we are talking about nonprofit hospitals. sort of really going after poor patients, nobody is arguing that they should make money, by providing services but this idea that they are so aggressively targeting poor people has a lot of people asking with's the guidance. >> especially the fact that it is disproportionately high incomes to these low income patients that are being charged. offs medical examiner for 30
years. they get sweet deals from the federal government, they should lose their nonprofit status f if they are not complying with the regulations. >> some are in the hot seat after being less than charitable. some are pewing low income patients over unpaid bills. some of those suits could be -- continue to reign in the practice, and while the new guidance go a long way, what one publication called easily exploitable gaps. there's no standard since each nonprofit gets to write esown standards. so will the new guidance from an adequate fix, or will the federal government have to create a national standard? >> a correspondent for mpr.
and mark who works with nonprofit hospitals to ensure that they are complying with the new ranks. set them back thousands the nonprofit hospital they are indebted to has gone after the wages. keith, thank you for being here, you have a family of four, you make about $30,000 a year, which in and of itself can be challenging. how have the tactics of this hospital effects your family and your life? >> it's been a roller coaster because i also remember when i got the initial bills. and i was shocked for the amount and everything else and that was june 1 part of the bill. and i remember looking at it and looking at her, and saying i am worth it ain't i, and i said hang on i am thinking or joking in that aspect.
to me i was astounded by the amount, when all this came about with her, i did not have any medical coverage. it was not offered through the company i was at the time. >> you were faced for a $14,000 bill. so was therein assumption there we are lowing income we will get a break. >> basically i have made a few phone calls to the hospital. and basically on a couple of the issues when i explains to what i was currently making at that time, they indicated that i was making too much and i did not qualify for assistance. basically it does take into account when whatever i am making if i have to pay rent mortgage utilities. and everything else, over the
top of that if there's not much left after that, it is hard to budget that type of bill. >> this emergency has cost him a lot, more than just having his wages garnished he is paying more for his car payment, because he can't get low interest rates he has a lean on his house, is his case unusual? >> well that's what we wanted to find out. we with have been doing a series on wage garnishment where a debt collector will not just send you nasty letters and stuff, but will sue you, a lot of people don't show up, there is a default judgement. where the debt collector can then call up your employer. and your employer is legally bound to hand over 25% of your after tax paycheck to settle this bill, and in the case of
medical debt, this can be as in keith's case $20,000 here another $20,000 later on. for keith and cat loon. these are very big billed and you aren gayished at 25%, they drop that to 10%, then this hospital went after keith's wife, kathleen sued her, and garnished her paycheck also, so we wanted to find out okay, first we are looking at credit card companies. they are credit card companies that's what they do, but for a nonprofit hospital to do something that ended up being a wrecking ball on somebody's financial life just how much of this is going on? >> and what did you find? >> well, we looked across six states and in state after state after state. this were hospitals sues
hundreds of their patients. and we zoomed in on missouri because we found one hospital there that was -- also found heart land hospital. this is where keith goes for care. that hospital just really jumped off the charts. shay sues about 2,000 plus people in 2013. that was more than any other hospital in the state, and at the same time, some other hospitals bigger hospitals are suing 20 people. of in a case where satiety they are just not paying the bill but driving a bmw. i said what is going on at this hospital. >> mark you advise nonprofits on the proper way to operate to deal with lower income patients. it was pretty disturbing why is this happening and is it happened to the degree that the investigation implies. >> well, obviously they exam
this issue closely. and what they found the facts speak for themselves. the i.r.s. issues a final rule at the end of desks to clarify what is required of nonprofit hospitals in order for them to maintain the federal tax exemption. and make those policies widely available to the people in the community, so that people like keith are fully informed. >> what happens when you are like keith and your wife appendix is bursting and if the hospital created their own policies which they are still allowed to do, how are you supposed to know if go to hospital a, and i am low income, i will probably get charged $4,000 but if i make the wrong choice, also a nonprofit, whose guidance are different, i could get stuck with a $15,000 bill. >> for people going to the emergency. radio, often times they don't have much choice in the matter. but with the new regulations requires that hospitals post this information on they
website. and be available to people. >> and that they not pursue these aggressive -- what are called extraordinary collection actions. within the fist 120 days of the invoice they receive. so in their case they would have had 120 days to be notified of the existence before a wage garnishment. >> what do you think about unified federal guidance? one hospital may say for a family of four, will provide assistance to families with an income of less than $25,000. in the the same community might extend that coverage to families of four with incomes
of $75,000. you are certainly pointing out something here that might need to be addressed. >> what should happen if these nonprofits garnish wages of low income individuals. and we have this sparkky response. she goes oh, they are profiting off the injured and six, it is of course the american way. matt is straight to the point, these hospitals should lose their tax exempt status. >> how do they get fined if they are making up their own rules. >> keith, you are living this. we heard comments from our commute. >> i was kind of surprised in the beginning. when i had my interview with paul and chris that's when they brought it to my attention. that it was a nonfor profit hospital. meanwhile being sued for thousands of dollars.
how is that in relation? and -- it's -- >> i know we should have -- there's a 90 day window where you are notified of these bills, however the reality is on something like that, for instance, were in my case for instance, i was i was driving truck at the time, so i was pushing to get as many miles as i could. it's wages that are never consistent in that type of field we have basically one check, you have to take peter to pay for paul just to break even, and of course now you are trying to deal with is there anything left to pay on the bills, no. so it's just a bit of a roller coaster, and of course with the hospital having their collection agency, that's
another issue. >> i will have to stop you there, because we are about out of time. that will have to wait and see. one thing i think is important to stress, is this hospital was suing people -- when keith was sued again, he should have qualified for free care at that hospital. when the senator the chair of the judiciary got involved that's when he got involved they say they may be in violation of a law, maybe they are not qualified i think as we dig into this more, we will learn a lot and a bunch of things will happen next. >> i want so mention, we reached out to mo sigh yeah for comment and did not receive a response. thank you for sharing your expertise, and thank you for sharing your story, when we come back, the battle for your eyeballs. internet television is taking on traditional t.v.
welcome back. every have one of those nights that you surf through 800 channels only to proclaim nothing is on. it made big news this year when it announced it's internet television service said to capture viewers that are looking for an alternative. and a couple of cable outlets and the rest you will add a la carte. is this the beginning of the end of traditional cable? and what does it mean. who won't be carries on internet television at all. the senior editor of a tech block that covered consumer electronics called in gadget
and rutger as senior writer -- dish unveiling it's new internet t.v. apparently sony has something similar in the works is this the beginning of the end. >> this is the first time we have seen a service that is designed for the internet that has the popular content that people are used to. >> so what is the advantage of senate how do you sell it to consumers? does it just come down to price? >> i don't think that's the big get for this. you can have it without somebody coming out to the house and installing equipment. watch it on any device. >> who are they targeting? >> i think they are targeting people that don't want to pay as much.
so this is $20 to begin with and the average cable subscription i think is like 80 something dollars now, many people pay even more if you want hbo, you can pay over $100 that's a big difference obviously. >> i wonder if they are targeting poo emthat have never had t.v. and millen yells in. >> i think a lot of folks would be interested in the this. will die out in the year what. >> never going to die out. >> 20/20, so five years. >> no. >> they won't completely. will be a fashion station, they will be a minority by 2023. i haven't heard of sling t.v., i have to look more into it, but i would consider cable is so overprize. you tried it out, give us your review, is it worth it, do you think this is a game changer?
so right now, it is a very smart they are selling. i think it depends on be you want these. for sports fans it is interesting. for the first time a way to get espn. some of the functionalities are limited. >> people like what they know, they are creatures of habitues personally enwith it comes to television. do you think they will embrace this and change their habits? for people who may cable is overpriced because they don't want a lot of it. they sit there -- they only watch a couple of times a month. and you can go ahead and watch cable news, you can watch
espn, there will be things you can't get. i am a sports fan, i love to watch the pistons but if i had just sling t.v. i wouldn't get my local games. so there are some compromises. >> how does it effect smaller markets. like c span or pbs? >> both of you can take a crack after that, go ahead richard. >> that's a good question. i think for some of those local things you will see some of those migrate on line. that's cable supporters so i don't know what may happen to that in the future. hope that cable t.v. can continue, or figure out a different model. >> speaking about cable, you have your thought goss ahead. >> i think they can drive on line, and they see that already today, where some of these services that never actually made it
are the niche comments that never made it. things that didn't fit into the cable, because there wasn't just enough can thrive on that. i am in, depending $200 a month is insane, i still pay for home shopping. we also have barbara, i would love to pick my channels 20 or 30 would be just fine. >> probably bad news, for 24 hour news channel, hopefully we will find a way to survive. thank you very much. here is a question that how should cable companies react? cut the cord reduce the prices. people actually want, the own # no crap. we are all for no crap television. how can cable companies
compete with this? >> they often have cheaper bundles. they are not heavily promoted. >> they off something is lighter. because they see that's what people want. they find it is a very good option, but if you want to pick your own channels at least right now, it is not that. and if you want to avoided advertisements not all the channels have dvr features. you may find yourself thank you to our guests. senior writer when we return a new battleground and the inspection age, some governments are making hundreds of edits on wikipedia pages. are they serving the public
>> "the stream". >> your digital community. >> you pick the hot topics and express your thoughts. "the stream", it's your chance to join the conversation. tuesday to friday, 3:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. what makes wikipedia weak is also what makes it vulnerable. almost anyone is allowed to
edit. that ensures information is current, but it also means that it is ripe for rapid lynch. and now governments are getting into the act. last summer, wikipedia suspended access of all i.p. addresses from the u.s. house of representatives after some rogue edits came to light the russian government was caught red handed making bias edits. andleier this page, reports surfaced that a british government computer had been making hundreds of edit as month. so raj, give us an idea what some of these look like. >> some of these edits range from being distasteful, for example, this is a page of murdered soldier lee rigby and it was removed from the page on terrorism because he was not notable enough. others mock political figures like ukrainian politician. whose page was edited to claim that she was a russian puppet, even former u.s. defense secretary is not immune, his page was edited to say that he was an ail yell lizard who
eats, mexican babies. and if you like conspiracy theories here is an edit that claims that lee harvey oswald, assassinated j.f.k. on behalf of the regime of fidel castro. >> joinings now, the chief communicator thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> what if anything is wikipedia doing to stop this. >> well, i think it is important to first say thank you to all the volunteer editors who are the ones that maintain wikipedia and patrol for this sort of online vandalism. anyone can edit it. the president of the ice weed kit it. and you can add whatever it is that you are interested in as long as it is source reliable source. that is so slave final. when editors see vandalism, or edits that aren't based in truth, they look for reliable sources and if there are none they quickly revert.
so the edit about donald rumsfeld was corrected within less than a minute. >> it is one then to make an edit that say that he is an alien. it is another to manipulate something. where you concerned about the broodier narrative here with global powers. to control the story so to siege? i think one thing we take a look from this is recognizing that wikipedia is incredibly popular. it is one of the top. most popular in the world. so of course a platform as powerful of that is something that people are interested in in bringing their own viewpoints. the way that wikipedia has worked is that because of the basis on reliable sources and the core tenant or core policy of mutual point of view is that our editors have ways of working this out, and when for
an issue is hotly contended for example, last summer's incursion in crimea, those can be locked by more senior editors. >> you mentioned that wikipedia thrives based on it's community, and even on twitter now you have congress edits. that tweets anonymous so we have an audit happening there, also an automobiled kit of parliament. made from parliamentary i.p.es. thousands are being edited from these government addresses. i think it is time for wikipedia to activate a regional expertise group to ensure the quality of information. not sure it should be regulated per se, but should be something that is known. many reasons why anyone edits wikipedia besides anyone who solely relies on for information is foolish, which
is probably most high schoolers and college students. how can beperhaps regulate is it humanly possible to do this with the current technology. >> what you think of is regulation. there are as i mentioned tens of thousands of active editor whose are active every single day. and many of them have passions and interests. some may be interested in tropical diseases. others may be interested in political issues and conflicts. they ever already looking out for contentious pages that may be subject to some sort of defamation, or vandalism, and the like. and they are very conscientious about making sure to lock the pages if something escalated. i think what we always think about is it is like any encyclopedia it is a great place to start, but if you are looking aten issue, you probably want to use it as a
jumping off part. that's what the wonderful citations are at the bottom to explorer a topic in more depth. >> governments beyond those we might expect like russia and china. are hiring hundreds of individuals and then to go to sites and discredit the site itself. some of the people putting it on the side. is there any concern on your part that wikipedia can become so infiltrated by people like this. to trust the people that are there? >> i think that people are smart. i think that's a fundamental thing. any user on the internet ha many different options and resources. and sources of information available to them. if you see something that doesn't look right to check it out, and if it happens to be incorrect you should correct it. >> thank you, so much beare
out of time, until next time >> as the saudi-led air strikes continue in yemen, the parties meet i'm jane dutton you're watching live from doha. coming up al-shabab fighters storm a hotel in the somali capital. the siege is over. election day in nigeria, millions head to the polls to pick the next leader. plus - a look at h