What’s going on with student debt cancellation?

By Eden Iscil, Public Policy Manager

A few weeks ago, the US Supreme Court ignored the facts of the case in front of them and wrongfully ruled that President Biden’s first attempt at cancelling student debt was illegal. While the Court was misguided and seemingly hellbent on making life worse for millions of Americans, debt cancellation is not dead. Earning much less media coverage than the Court’s ruling, President Biden announced on that same day that his Department of Education had initiated a plan B for debt cancellation. Additionally, he revealed a 12-month “on-ramp” to repayment. Here’s what we know so far about these two programs. 

Plan B for cancelling student debt 

Over the past 60 years, Congress passed two laws giving the secretary of education the authority to cancel student debts—the Supreme Court’s ruling last month only applied to one of them. While there is still one more legal avenue available for the Education Department to broadly cancel student debt, the law requires a lengthy regulatory process to get there. Specifically, the department must initiate a negotiated rulemaking, seeking input from various stakeholders involved in student debt. From nominating and appointing negotiators to reaching a final recommendation for the Department, this stage will likely finish around the end of the year. 

Next, the Department will have to publish a proposed rule outlining the parameters of the debt cancellation plan. Currently, the administration has not spoken to how much debt will be cancelled under plan B and who will be eligible beyond an intention to deliver “debt relief for as many borrowers as possible.” This means that we shouldn’t expect to see the details of plan B until early 2024. And once the Department publishes its proposal, there will be a 60-90 day comment period for the public to submit their thoughts on the plan. Only after this comment period is finished (and the Department has read the public’s thoughts) can the program go into effect. Once all of these steps are completed, it will likely be around springtime next year at the very earliest. 

A 12-month “on ramp” to repayment 

Congress set September 30 as the last day of the federal loan payment pause. Without some form of debt cancellation, it is estimated that repayment will put over 9 million borrowers into default. Recognizing this reality and its legal inability to extend the current payment pause thanks to Congress, the Department will waive certain repayment related penalties from October 1, 2023 through September 30, 2024. 

Specifically, during this year-long period, missing a monthly federal loan payment: 

  • Will not result in default or delinquency 
  • Will not be reported to credit bureaus 
  • And will not be referred to debt collection agencies 

While both plan B and the 12-month on ramp are imperfect, the Department is taking steps to minimize harm and is still working to deliver debt relief. It’s important that we continue to show our support for debt cancellation, especially during the public comment period. We should not tolerate an educational system that results in lifelong debt and average monthly payments of $500. 

National Consumers League mourns death of Jon Cuneo

July 27, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – The National Consumers League’s Board of Directors and Staff is deeply saddened by the untimely death of anti-trust lawyer and consumer advocate Jonathan Cuneo. Jon practiced with the firm of Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP in Washington DC with copartners Pamela Gilbert, herself a consumer advocate who currently serves on NCL’s Board of Directors, and Charles LaDuca.

“Jon’s reputation as a top notch litigator and consumer, worker and anti-trust lawyer was second to none. NCL counted Jon Cuneo as a close friend, supporter and ally in the fight for a better world for workers and consumers,” said Sally Greenberg and Joan Bray, NCL’s CEO and NCL Board Chair Joan Bray.

Jon served as Washington counsel in the first case to challenge the “Joe Camel” cigarette advertising campaign targeting young people to take up smoking, he took on Prudential Insurance Company for abusing policyholders through deceptive sales practices, and won a landmark case establishing the principle that “labels matter” under California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws and is now a landmark of American law.

On the privacy front, Jon led the ligation against Metromail for privacy violations surrounding supermarket questionnaires. After a woman in Ohio received a sexually suggestive letter from a maximum security inmate in Texas, it came to light that the company had subcontracted for Texas prisoners to “key” the questionnaire information. The firm was able to secure injunctive relief, and a cash pool of $15 million was made available to victims.

“Jon’s extraordinary legal career includes many more cases than we can recount here. He was also a kind and generous colleague, father and husband. He and his wife also held legendary annual holiday party, an invitation to which was much coveted in Washington. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, law firm partners and the many people whose lives were touched by Jon Cuneo,” said Greenberg and Bray.



About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

Safety in question: The alarming disparities between cannabis product health claims and research, and the magnified risks for women

By Health Policy Intern Grace Lassila

July 27, 2023

When I started my National Consumers League (NCL) internship in May 2023, I quickly dove into NCL’s health policy work. NCL is leading on several efforts to protect consumers –one area of focus that stood out to me is their work in the cannabis policy space. NCL is a founding member of Cannabis Consumer Watch (CCW), which educates consumers on cannabinoids, their effects, the risks related to the unregulated marketplace, and the ways policymakers and regulators can help protect consumers. NCL is also a part of the Collaborative for Cannabinoid Science and Safety (CCSS), which also works to educate people about cannabinoids and policy in the interest of public health.

CCW’s “test your cannabis knowledge” quiz was shocking for me. Going into the quiz, I was fairly confident about my knowledge, but as I started getting wrong answer after wrong answer, I realized I had no idea that not only are these products under-researched, but they may pose serious public health risks for consumers. Products can be sold, without having gained FDA approval, making false claims about their medicinal abilities.  And side effects are not adequately researched or revealed to consumers.

One particularly concerning aspect of the cannabis marketplace is that while CBD or Delta-8 or other cannabis products are often marketed to women, there is a concerning lack of research into the safety of these products for women. Historically, misogyny and sex discrimination have made women’s health severely under-researched and underfunded. More research on diseases, disorders, and medication is conducted on men, not women. Women are misdiagnosed far greater than men are, and experience dangerous health outcomes because of it (Greenhalgh). And without sufficient research and data on women’s health, it is incredibly difficult for legislators to write policy (Adams). Overall, for women’s health to improve, more resources need to be devoted to this issue.

Despite cannabis companies’ marketing efforts that claim their products can help with anything from menstrual cycle-related pain to morning sickness, there is little insight into the effects of cannabis or cannabis derivatives on women, pregnant people, nursing parents, and newborns. What we do know is that the risks are very real – a recent study found that THC use during pregnancy was linked to changes in fetal development and several studies have shown that CBD can be transferred to a baby via breast milk. The FDA strongly advises against THC or CBD usage while pregnant or breastfeeding. And, given the evidence currently available, I would caution any women from using these products for medical benefit.

The lack of regulation, as well as research, is very concerning. Because the FDA currently does not regulate these products, consumers have no way of knowing whether the dosage, ingredients, or claims on the label are accurate and no way of knowing whether or not they are contaminated. Though some products may acknowledge they are ‘Not Approved by FDA,’ many consumers may not see this fine print – and assume that anything they can buy at their local grocery store must be safe for consumption. While the risks of an unregulated cannabis marketplace affects all consumers, women who need medical health and relief and turn to cannabis products may be more at risk.

The good news is that in January of this year, the FDA recognized this grey area for regulation – particularly for CBD – and stated that CBD would not be regulated as a food and dietary supplement anymore, because of the unknown safety risks, and requesting that Congress act quickly to protect public health and the consumers involved.

While cannabis products are often marketed as a miracle drug, they are not. While there may be some health benefits, without comprehensive research and regulation of these products, the risks outweigh the potential good. Consumers remain responsible for making their health decisions, and women in particular should be vigilant. The FDA is heading in the right direction but more must be done to protect consumers – and women in particular. I encourage you to learn more about a safe path forward here and help NCL raise awareness of this important issue.


Adams, Katie. “Women’s Health Is Suffering Due to Lack of Research and Funding, Experts Say.” MedCity News, 9 Dec. 2022, medcitynews.com/2022/12/womens-health-is-suffering-due-to-lack-of-research-and-funding-experts-say/#:~:text=Women’s%20health%20has%20been%20historically,healthcare%20conference%20in%20Washington%2C%20D.C.

Eversheds Sutherland. “FDA Says ‘No’ to CBD: Now What?” FDA Says “No” to CBD: Now What? – Eversheds Sutherland, us.eversheds-sutherland.com/mobile/NewsCommentary/Legal-Alerts/256713/FDA-says-no-to-CBD-Now-what#:~:text=Since%202018%2C%20the%20FDA%20has,%2Dapproved%20drug%20(Epidiolex). Accessed 6 July 2023.

Greenhalgh, Ally. “Medicine and Misogyny: The Misdiagnosis of Women.” Confluence, 5 Dec. 2022, confluence.gallatin.nyu.edu/sections/research/medicine-and-misogyny-the-misdiagnosis-of-women.

Grinspoon, Peter. “Cannabidiol (CBD): What We Know and What We Don’t.” Harvard Health, 24 Sept. 2021, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.

“What You Should Know about Using CBD When Pregnant or Breastfeeding.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-should-know-about-using-cannabis-including-cbd-when-pregnant-or-breastfeeding#:~:text=FDA%20strongly%20advises%20against%20the,during%20pregnancy%20or%20while%20breastfeeding.&text=Cannabis%20and%20Cannabis-derived%20products,products%20appearing%20all%20the%20time. Accessed 6 July 2023.

Consumer groups’ statement on elimination of speculative ticketing disclosure requirements from S. 1303, the “TICKET Act”

July 27, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation today approved an amended version of the Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing Act (“TICKET Act”). Unfortunately, an amendment to the bill that was approved during the markup eliminated a key provision that consumer groups supported which would have required ticket sellers to disclose clearly and conspicuously, prior to a consumer selecting a ticket for purchase, when a seller does not have possession of a ticket being listed for sale. The eliminated provision would have addressed a controversial practice known as “speculative ticketing,” that has harmed too many consumers who thought they had purchased a ticket only to later find out that the seller was unable to fulfill their order. [1] In a July 25 letter to the Commerce Committee, eleven consumer advocacy organizations had urged support for the original version of the TICKET Act, which was introduced with bipartisan support in April.

In response to today’s vote, the undersigned consumer groups released the following statement:

“The live event ticketing market is a rigged game, riddled with deception and a lack of transparency at every turn. We are extremely disappointed that the Commerce Committee today bowed to pressure from industry opponents and missed an opportunity to reduce the risk that fans end up high and dry without tickets to events they had otherwise planned to attend. The TICKET Act, as amended, is a step in the right direction but a reminder of why vested interests continue to resist comprehensive reform. The live event ticketing system needs to be cured of deep flaws that result in consumers being abused before tickets go on sale, while they are for sale, and through the moment they are scanned for entry. The TICKET Act as introduced would have assured transparency to two of the most opaque parts of ticket buying: the pricing of tickets, and the sale of  tickets that sellers do not possess, but are offered to unknowing customers. We continue to support all-in pricing of live event tickets because today’s deceptive drip pricing is unfortunately the norm whether the tickets come from a venue, a team, Ticketmaster, or a resale marketplace. Our groups will continue to work for a fairer ticket marketplace to ensure that fans are able to access affordable tickets to their favorite events in an open, transparent, and competitive marketplace.”

Organizations supporting this statement include National Consumers League, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Federation of California, Fan Freedom Project, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Protect Ticket Rights, Public Knowledge, Sports Fans Coalition, and U.S. Public Interest Research Project, and Virginia Citizens Consumer Council.

[1] Burchill, Caitlin. “Burlington man learns his expensive Taylor Swift tickets don’t exist days before concert,” NBC Connecticut. (June 13, 2023) Online: https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/investigations/nbc-ct-responds/burlington-man-learns-his-expensive-taylor-swift-tickets-dont-exist-days-before-concert/3048419/; Oberle, Marisa. “PROBLEM SOLVERS: Potential ‘controversial’ practice leaves Kent Co. family without Taylor Swift tickets,” FOX 17-West Michigan. (June 21, 2023) Online: https://www.fox17online.com/news/problem-solvers/problem-solvers-controversial-practice-leaves-kent-co-family-without-taylor-swift-tickets-day-before-concert



About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

Consumer groups urge support for S. 1303, the “TICKET Act”

July 26, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – NCL and other consumer groups submitted the below letter to Chair Cantwell and Ranking Member Cruz to urge support for S. 1303, the “TICKET Act”.


July 25, 2023


The Honorable Maria Cantwell Chair

Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation

United States Senate

254 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510


The Honorable Ted Cruz Ranking Member

Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation

United States Senate

512 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510


RE: Consumer groups urge support for S. 1303, the “TICKET Act”

Dear Chair Cantwell and Ranking Member Cruz:

The eleven undersigned consumer organizations represent the tens of millions of fans who attend concerts, sports, theater, and other live events every every year 1,  generating more than $130 billion in economic impact.2 Despite the profits fans’ entertainment spending creates for this important industry, the process of obtaining tickets to a live event is often fraught with deception and unfair business practices. From a fan’s point of view, trying to get an affordable ticket to see their favorite band, cheer on their hometown team, or enjoy a night at the theater is a rigged game.

It is for this reason that the undersigned organizations have endorsed S. 1303, the Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing Act (“TICKET Act”).3 We thank you for introducing this bipartisan consumer protection measure and we urge your colleagues on the Commerce Committee to support the bill when the committee considers it this week.

Reforms like those in the TICKET Act are urgently needed to ensure fans can access affordable live event tickets from both primary and secondary ticket sellers. The bill mandates all-in pricing of tickets, which addresses a significant source of frustration for consumers when purchasing tickets. Add-on fees, commonly labeled as “service fees,” “processing fees,” and “facility fees,” are typically added to the cost of the ticket as buyers progress through the ticket-buying process. On average, these fees raise the cost of a tickets by 27 percent and 31 percent on the primary and secondary market, respectively.4 The TICKET Act’s all-in pricing requirement will ensure that consumers see the full cost of a ticket the first time a ticket is advertised. This will allow fans to make a more informed buying decisions before they begin the buying process. Competition will also be enhanced, since competing ticketers on the secondary market will not be able to hide the true cost of a ticket behind a deceptively low advertised price.

The TICKET Act also includes reforms that would address a second significant frustration for ticket buyers: undisclosed speculative ticketing. This practice, also known as “spec ticketing,” involves resellers listing tickets they do not possess for sale on resale websites and secondary ticket exchanges. Speculative selling is a controversial ticketing practice since consumers are often deceived into thinking they are buying tickets the reseller possesses. There are numerous examples where consumers who thought they had a ticket to an event were later told that the speculative ticket reseller was unable to obtain the ticket.5 The TICKET Act addresses this problem by requiring ticket sellers to disclose clearly and conspicuously, prior to a consumer selecting it for purchase, when the seller does not have possession of a ticket being listed for sale. This would benefit consumers by allowing them to make a more informed choice about whether to take the risk that a speculatively resold ticket order may not be fulfilled.

On behalf of America’s live event fans, we thank you for your leadership on this issue and we urge your colleagues to join our organizations in support of this important pro- consumer and pro-competition bill.



National Consumers League

Consumer Action

Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Federation of California

Fan Freedom Project

National Association of Consumer Advocates

Protect Ticket Rights

Public Knowledge

Sports Fans Coalition

U.S. Public Interest Research Group

Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

cc:       Members of the Senate Commerce Committee


1 Live Nation Entertainment. “Live Nation Entertainment Reports Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2022 Results.” Press release. (February 23, 2023) Online: https://www.livenationentertainment.com/2023/02/live-nation- entertainment-reports-fourth-quarter-full-year-2022-results/; Fischer, Ben and Broughton, David. “NFL per- game attendance makes big jump.” Sports Business Journal (January 16, 2023) Online: https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Journal/Issues/2023/01/16/Upfront/nYl-attendance.aspx;  National Basketball Association. “NBA sets all-time records for attendance and sellouts during 2022-23 regular season.” Press release. (April 10, 2023) Online: https://www.nba.com/news/nba-sets-all-time- records-for-attendance-and-sellouts-during-2022-23-regular-season; The Broadway League. 2022–2023 Broadway End-Of-Season Statistics Show That Broadway Had Attendance Of 12.3 Million And Grosses Of $1.58 Billion.” Press release. (May 23, 2023) Online: https://www.broadwayleague.com/press/press- releases/20222023-broadway-end-of-season-statistics-show-that-broadway-had-attendance-of-123-million-     and-grosses-of-158-billion/

2 Oxford Economics. The Concerts and Live Event Industry: A Signi9icant Economic Engine (July 26, 2021) Online:   https://www.oxfordeconomics.com/resource/livemusic/

3 “S.1303 – 118th Congress (2023-2024): TICKET Act.” Congress.gov, Library of Congress, 26 April 2023, https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/senate-bill/1303.

4 United States Government Accountability OfYice. Event Ticket Sales: Market Characteristics and Consumer Protection Issues (GAO-18-347). Pg. 15 (April 12, 2018) Online: https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-18-347.pdf

5 Burchill, Caitlin. “Burlington man learns his expensive Taylor Swift tickets don’t exist days before concert,” NBC Connecticut. (June 13, 2023) Online: https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/investigations/nbc-ct- responds/burlington-man-learns-his-expensive-taylor-swift-tickets-dont-exist-days-before-   concert/3048419/; Oberle, Marisa. “PROBLEM SOLVERS: Potential ‘controversial’ practice leaves Kent Co. family without Taylor Swift tickets,” FOX 17-West Michigan. (June 21, 2023) Online: https://www.fox17online.com/news/problem-solvers/problem-solvers-controversial-practice-leaves-kent-   co-family-without-taylor-swift-tickets-day-before-concert


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

NCL urges ED to erase student debt, improve permanent pathways to cancellation

July 24, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – Last week, the National Consumers League (NCL) filed comments in a U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulatory process that will enable the Department to broadly cancel student debt. This newest debt cancellation initiative came after NCL urged the administration to utilize alternate authorities following the Supreme Court’s misguided judgement against the first debt cancellation program. 

“President Biden and Secretary Cardona correctly recognized that we need to address the debt burden associated with getting an education,” said NCL Public Policy Manager Eden Iscil. “They have an opportunity to substantially improve the lives of millions of borrowers through a number of options available with this process the Department initiated.” 

In its comments to ED, NCL advocated for universal student debt cancellation without unnecessary administrative burdens on borrowers. Such burdens likely prevented millions of eligible borrowers from applying to the first cancellation program and significantly delayed its implementation. In addition to one-time debt cancellation, this process will empower ED to improve its permanent cancellation pathways under its income-driven repayment (IDR) plans to allow debt relief to be accessible in the future as well. 

Currently, IDR plans use all-or-nothing debt cancellation, with student debts erased only after several years in repayment (usually 20-25 years). Such a system relies on student loan servicers, ED, or borrowers not making a single mistake in filing paperwork for decades—something almost 6 out of 10 borrowers do. Under NCL’s proposal, borrowers would receive incremental forgiveness. For example, a borrower who is currently eligible for 100% debt cancellation after 10 years of repayment would instead see 10% of their principal balance erased each year for a decade.  

NCL’s full comments to the Department can be found here.  


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

The National Consumers League applauds the reintroduction of bipartisan legislation to give millions of Medicare beneficiaries access to safe and effective obesity treatments

July 21, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – The National Consumers League (NCL) welcomes the reintroduction  of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) as a needed step to end outdated Medicare rules that leave millions of seniors with diagnosed obesity – particularly members of Black and Latino communities – vulnerable to disability, disease and premature death due to lack of access to the full range of treatment options.

Introduced by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Gwen Moore (D-WI), TROA will end this regulatory logjam by expanding coverage under Medicare Part D to new FDA-approved anti-obesity medications, which are currently excluded under a policy dating back to 2003. TROA will also end Medicare Part B restrictions on intensive behavioral therapy (IBT) that limit the delivery of IBT to primary care providers and restrict the physical locations where this care can occur. Through TROA, clinical psychologists, registered dietitians and nutrition professionals will be able to provide IBT if an individual with obesity is referred by a physician.

At a time when the obesity rate among adult Americans exceeds 40 percent and is even higher among communities of color – virtually half of African Americans (49.6 percent) and 44.8 percent of Hispanics are living with obesity – passage of TROA could be a critical step in changing the trajectory of a disease that for too long has been overlooked and undertreated. The National Consumers League applauds TROA’s reintroduction in the 118th Congress and pledges our support to gain passage of this important legislation on an expedited basis.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

Growing up in fields

By Child Labor Coalition Intern Jacqueline Aguilar

July 20, 2023

I grew up in a small rural area named Center, Colorado which has a population of about 2,000 people. Growing up my parents were always working in the fields, I remember my father coming home from work, and I would feel how raspy his hands were on my face. I would always ask myself, “Why are his hands so rough?” Eventually, I realized it was because of the hard work he did every day.

In middle school, buying school clothes was difficult for my parents. I started working in the lettuce fields at the age of eleven with many of my friends. We would go in at 5:00 am and get out around 2:00 pm, my parents couldn’t take me to work because they had their own job to get to, so I would have to catch a ride with my supervisor at 4:30am and get home around 3:00 pm.

Walking down those lettuce fields was draining physically, and mentally. It consisted of tired feet walking down the field with my blistered hands holding a bulky hoe and keeping an eye out on the lettuce heads making sure they grew the right way. Most days would start with the fields cold and wet with dew. I was often drenched in mud. By the time the sun rose, it was boiling outside. I would still wear layers of clothes to avoid getting sunburnt and wrap bandanas around my head and neck.

There was no cold water available for us during working hours, or even on our lunch break. We normally worked a 12-hour shift with a 30-minute lunch—typically just cold food or snacks since we didn’t have enough time to go home and make something.

I found the work exhausting, so I started working a food service job. But soon found myself back in the fields when my father got diagnosed with lung cancer. My father had migrated to the U.S. when he was 19 and had been working in the fields ever since. The cancer could have been caused from the fertilizer, dust, and pesticides that he breathed in the fields.

My mother is now disabled with torn ligaments in her shoulder, which can also be from her field work and the movements of sorting the potatoes for so many years.

My parents were unable to provide for me financially and had to move three hours from home for my dad’s cancer treatment, so I worked the potato harvest while attending high school. I juggled a lot of responsibilities during this time, and it was difficult to still be a child with so much on my plate.

I recall one morning it began to snow, we didn’t know any better, so we kept working in the heavy weather. My fingers and feet grew ice-cold as I sorted potatoes, and I wished they would tell us to go home for the day. At that moment, I knew I wanted more for myself.

I am trying to give back to my community. I dedicate two days of my week tutoring ESL students at Center Middle School, where I previously attended. I want to help Spanish-speaking students continue school without the language barrier.

I have also been connected to the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program since youth. For the past three years, I have been the Otero Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Recruiter in the San Luis Valley in Colorado which allows me to promote a good program that benefits farmworker children and parents. I am an active member of the College Assistance Migrant Program at Adams State University where I’ve learned the value of an educational community and the power of coming together to work toward a common goal.

I am now a rising junior at Adams State University working toward a major in sociology with an emphasis in social work and a minor in Spanish. I hope to receive my Master’s degree at Colorado State University-Pueblo to become a medical social worker. I want to stay close to my community to help families that face barriers to medical services—just as mine did when my father had cancer.

Consumer groups urge support for pro-passenger amendments to House FAA reauthorization bill 

July 17, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – NCL submitted the below letter to House Speaker McCarthy and Leader Jeffries to urge support for pro-passenger amendments to House FAA reauthorization bill.


July 16, 2023


The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House

United States House of Representatives H-232 , The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable Hakeem Jeffries Democratic Leader

United States House of Representatives 2433 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515


RE: Consumer groups urge support for pro-passenger amendments to House FAA reauthorization bill 


Dear Speaker McCarthy and Leader Jeffries:

The nine undersigned organizations represent the interests of the passengers whose $54 billion in taxpayer funds allowed the American airline industry to survive the pandemic. 1 More than 75 million times every month, these Americans rely on airlines for safe, affordable, and reliable air transportation. 2 The return to profitability of the industry is being powered by the spending of the passengers on whose behalf we advocate. 3

On Monday, the House Rules Committee will take up the FAA reauthorization bill; H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act. We urge you to use this twice-a-decade opportunity to stand up to the airlines and make sure that consumers see a return on their investment in the industry’s survival.

The bill that was reported out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 14 was a missed opportunity for the committee to address the need for important consumer protection reforms.4 Unfortunately, it also contains provisions that will result in less competition and fewer passenger protections than currently exist, such as the Section 701 language eliminating the Full Fare Advertising Rule. We urge you and your colleagues to use the consideration of the bill on the House Floor to remedy our concerns.

Toward this goal, we urge you and your colleagues in the House to SUPPORT the following amendments:

  • #25 – GARCIL_056 – Establishing an Assistant Secretary-led Office of Aviation Consumer Protection at the Department of Transportation.
  • #31 – PORTCA_097 Requiring the FAA Administrator to prohibit air carriers from reducing the size of passenger seats on air carriers until the Administrator issues a final rule establishing minimum dimensions for passenger seats.
  • #35 – PORTCA_100 Requiring air carriers to provide passengers experiencing a controllable significant delay or cancellation with an alternative flight, including on another air carrier if necessary, and codifying the existing requirement for airlines to provide a full cash refund if the passenger chooses not to travel after experiencing such a delay or cancellation.
  • #51 – DELUZI_018 – Directing the GAO to conduct a report on the effect of airline mergers for consumers.
  • #58 – GARCIL_058 – Establishing a minimum wage and benefit standard for such airport service workers at large, medium, and small hub airports.
  • #83 – ROSETN_040 Adding a member of the general public who has experienced three or more flight cancellations or delays in the previous twelve months to the Passenger Experience Advisory Committee.
  • #105 – GOTTHE_083 Requiring a display of the total cost of the air transportation, including all fees, as part of a payment summary of any airline ticket transaction.
  • #145 – STANAZ_034 Directing airlines to provide information on their website on the rights and responsibilities of both airlines and passengers regarding the availability of on-board wheelchairs, and requiring annual staff training on assisting qualified individuals with a disability on the use of on-board wheelchairs.
  • #169 – SCHAKO_046 – Striking the Section 701 language that would eliminate the Full Fare Advertising Rule.
  • #228 – JAYAPA_066 Requiring that, in the event of a flight being delayed by 3 hours or more due to a controllable flight disruption, a carrier offer: a rebooking for the next available flight using that carrier or its partner carrier; a meal or meal voucher; a hotel room and transportation to and from the hotel; and cash compensation.
  • #241 – WILLGA_046 Requiring a study and report on child safety in
  • #275 – DAVIKS_013 – Requiring DOT to add to their Airline Customer Service Dashboard a section on Fee Transparency.

American deserve an airline industry that works for them. We urge you to support these important pro-consumer and pro-competition reforms.



National Consumers League

American Economic Liberties Project

Business Travel Coalition

Consumer Action

Consumer Federation of America



Travelers United

U.S. Public Interest Research Group


1 Shepardson, David. “U.S. airlines to defend $54 billion COVID-19 government lifeline,” Reuters. (December 15, 2021) Online: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/us-airlines-defend-54-billion- covid-19-government-lifeline-2021-12-15/

2 Bureau of Transportation Statistics. “March 2023 US Airline Enplanements Reach Within One Percent of All- Time Monthly High in 2019.” (June 8, 2023) Online: https://www.bts.dot.gov/newsroom/march-2023-us- airline-enplanements-reach-within-one-percent-all-time-monthly-high-2019

3 Farge, Emma. “Airlines see return to profit in 2023, clash with airports,” Reuters. (December 6, 2022) Online: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/airlines-return-profitability-2023-iata-2022- 12-06/

4 House Committee on Transporation and Infrastructure. “T&I Committee Advances Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Bill,” Press release. (June 14, 2023) Online: https://transportation.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=406734



About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

Financing the healthcare of tomorrow playlist: Tracks for consumers and policymakers

By Robin Strongin, Health Policy Director

July 12, 2023

My husband has advanced Lewy Body Dementia and one of the few things we can still enjoy together is listening to music. We used to curate playlists for all kinds of music. We even put together playlists to mark special occasions (like our daughter’s wedding). Really, any topic became fair game for a playlist.

I was invited to speak at the Patients Rising Disrupting Healthcare Summit summer conference in Washington DC. My panel topic was Financing the Healthcare of Tomorrow. As I was preparing my presentation, I spoke with Michael Capaldi, Executive Director, the Institute for Gene Therapies. Mike is an expert on gene and cell therapies, and these therapies are definitely the healthcare of tomorrow, although thankfully, we are beginning to see the promise of these therapies today. When we talked about my presentation, he said, “you know, Robin, patients are really at a crossroads:  on the one hand, they are much more educated and empowered about their care, but some of the new therapies on the horizon are so complex, the cost and time commitments to innovate in these areas are so high, that groups like the National Consumers League [i]are in position to help patients and caregivers understand these complexities.”

And that’s when it hit me. A playlist. My colleague had me at Crossroads. If you’re a fan of delta blues, like my husband and me, then you know Robert Johnson and his classic, Crossroads.  The rest of my remarks rounded out my Financing the Healthcare of Tomorrow Playlist: Tracks for Consumers and Policymakers, which include:

Crossroads (Robert Johnson)—Robert Johnson’s haunting work reminds me of the difficult choices health policymakers have to make when it comes to healthcare financing—of course research and innovation are expensive—the diseases for which there are no cures, the conditions crying out for prevention, are complex and require decades of research, a deep understanding of basic science, and navigating an unpredictable regulatory path. Too many diseases and too few resources lead to heartbreaking trade-offs. Patients also have difficult choices to make when it comes to paying for their care. We shouldn’t have to be making deals with the devil—as Robert Johnson sings about in Crossroads. Instead, we need to reframe the questions we ask, review how we prioritize funding streams, and think creatively about financing mechanisms. Rather than question if society spends too much on healthcare, we should be asking how can we spend it more efficiently? How do we adequately incentivize all involved in funding transformational innovation? How do we make sure patients can afford and access the treatment they need?

I Am Woman (Helen Redding)—it gets really old but here we are, still talking about, and working on, closing the gender gap—in raising capital for venture funding for women-lead innovation teams; and in awarding grants to women lead research teams. Did you know, that according to the NIH Database monitoring NIH grants, grants awarded to women lead teams in 2022 numbered 19,028 and in the same year men won 31, 560 NIH grants? Progress yes, but not good enough. Not even close. Why is this important?  Because the teams with funding ask the research questions. The more diverse the research teams, the broader the array of diseases that are studied. More cures for more people.

Your Cheatin’ Heart (Hank Williams, Jr.)—I want to be careful and not paint all hospitals with the same brush but I would be remiss not to point out that too many hospitals are behaving badly: taking huge advantage of their nonprofit status, aggressively placing liens on patients who can’t afford their care, engaging in abusive debt collection activities, and worse, denying care; manipulating the 340B program designed 30 years ago to enable true safety-net providers to help low-income and other vulnerable patients access more affordable medicines and healthcare services. Some entities participating in the 340B program have taken advantage of the program’s current lack of clarity at the expense of the patients that the program is meant to serve.

Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood) – When it comes to taking advantage of our healthcare system, one major player in the drug pricing process might be considered “bad to the bone” – pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs. PBMs continue to find ways to increase their profits while consumers are forced to pay high out-of-pocket costs for the prescription medicines they need. Although they were intended to help negotiate savings on medicines (which would be good), they are not passing along discounts to patients and are actually incentivized to steer patients to higher cost medicines – b-b-b-b-bad to the bone if you ask me!

Party Like It’s 1999 (Prince)—Shakespeare asked, What’s in a name? Fair question. Reminds me to also ask, what’s in a definition and when is it time to update it? How we defined value, quality (as in value of care, quality of care) and other terms in 1999, needs to be reevaluated on an ongoing basis. New innovations, insights, and understandings necessitate we revisit how we define, measure, and update the terms and metrics used to make decisions that affect healthcare financing. A great example comes from another colleague[ii]  who has co-authored and published compelling work on a “paradigm shift in managing high blood pressure.” He and his colleagues make the case that “Abandoning the view that hypertension is a disease in favor of regarding it as a cause of a disease and hence, adopting a population-based preventive approach would encourage the development of simpler guidelines.” Refreshed decades old thinking that could yield the elusive results the status quo has not achieved seems worthy of a party, like its 2023.

I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor) and Stayin’ Alive (The Bee Gees)—Really, isn’t this what we are all trying to do?

A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)—for patients like my husband, for our family, and for all the other patients and caregivers, change cannot come soon enough.  I pledge to do everything possible to advocate for meaningful change and help Patients Rising.

[i] I direct health policy for National Consumers League

[ii] Wald, Nicholas J., Wald, David S., Kellermann, Arthur L., “When Guidelines Cause Hypertension,” Commentary, The American Journal of Medicine, 2018, pp. 1402-4.