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Texas Matters: Drug Prices, Census Cut Short And 'Boys State' Documentary

White House Pool Video

In the race for the U.S. presidency, polling shows that President Donald Trump is losing one of his key demographics that he must have to win re-election. Older Americans, those reliable voters, don’t see Donald Trump as “their guy” anymore.

Older voters, who are 65 and older, went for Trump in 2016 by nine points. A June Quinnipiac poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden beating Trump with these voters with a 14-point margin. The key issues for this group are Medicare and prescription drug prices.

On July 24, Trump announced that he was signing four executive orders that he said would result in the lowering of drug prices. Since that public announcement there has been little action by the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services. And drug prices have not fallen.

Meanwhile the effort to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 continues with full taxpayer support. A Cambridge, Massachusetts based company called Moderna is one of the leaders in the race for the critical vaccine. On a Wednesday call to discuss the company’s second quarter finances, it was made known that the company plans on charging Americans for the vaccine even though it has received hundreds of millions of dollars for the development from taxpayers.

San Antonio Congressmen Lloyd Doggett chairs the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee and said there needs to be greater transparency on the deal, and on the profits that big pharma is making off of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Census Cut Short

The U.S. Census Bureau is ending all counting efforts for the 2020 census on September 30, which is a month sooner than previously announced. This includes critical door-knocking efforts and collecting responses online, over the phone and by mail.

A short count of low-income groups in Texas means the state would receive fewer federal dollars. It could also deprive them of having a representative voice in Austin and Washington D.C.

Groups like Texas Organizing Project are criticizing this decision to cut short the count. Jessica Azua is the immigration justice director for the Texas Organizing Project.

"Boys State" Doc

Texas Boys State made headlines in 2017 when the political body of high schoolers voted in favor of Texas secession from the Union. Boys State is an annual exercise for young men in Texas and in each state across the nation except Hawaii. There is also a Girls State. The participants are taught how representative government works and how legislation is passed.

The succession vote may have been a joke or a political statement, but it caught the attention of Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine, a documentary team.

They arrived at the 2018 Boys State in Austin to capture that process on video and tell that story. The result is the new documentary “Boys State,”  which won the Sundance Grand Jury documentary prize. It’s available for viewing on the streaming platform Apple Plus.

David Martin Davies can be reached at DMDavies@TPR.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi