Category Archives: Government

As States Target High Drug Prices, Pharma Targets State Lawmakers

 

It was expected to be a perfunctory statehouse meeting — three lobbyists and a legislator discussing a proposal to educate Louisiana doctors about the price of drugs they prescribe.

The bill seemed like a no-brainer in a country where even decades-old medicines can cost thousands and consumers are urged to make smart choices in buying health care. The legislation simply required pharmaceutical sales reps promoting medicines at doctors’ offices to also reveal a price.

No one expected the industry scrum that materialized.

About 10  pharma lobbyists flooded the room in Baton Rouge’s art deco state Capitol, some of them hired guns — lobbyists who’d never represented drug companies before, remembers Jeff Drozda, an insurance lobbyist at the 201K6 meeting.

“The message was: We’re going to bring everything at you against these bills,” he said.

They did. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the powerful trade group known as PhRMA, donated directly to more lawmakers in Louisiana than in any other state in 2016, a new IRS filing shows. When discussion of the measure reached its peak last year, the industry hired a lobbyist for every two legislators.

PhRMA spent thousands entertaining lawmakers at Baton Rouge venues such as Mike Anderson’s Seafood, specializing in shrimp-and-crab gumbo, and the Mestizo Restaurant, home of the Daredevil Margarita, lobbying records show.

“I’ve been in the legislature 10 years. I’ve never in my life seen that kind of effort,” said Kirk Talbot, a Republican who sponsored the bill in the Louisiana House.

With federal officials seemingly unwilling or unable to come up with legislation to control skyrocketing drug prices, that task is increasingly moving to the states. But so is pharma muscle and money opposing the measures, regulatory disclosures and corporate filings from the last two years show.

State lawmakers are likely to consider drug-price transparency bills this year in Connecticut, Michigan, Oregon, Washington and New Jersey, to name just a few. Many of the measures are similar to a new California law that requires drugmakers to justify big price increases. (To fight that law, the industry hired 45 lobbying firms.)

Meanwhile, activists who backed a 2017 law enabling Maryland officials to challenge “unconscionable” price increases for generic drugs now advocate price regulation for all expensive pharmaceuticals. Policymakers in New Mexico, Massachusetts and Arizona are talking about limiting drug coverage or negotiating drug prices under Medicaid.

In Washington, D.C., PhRMA, is widely credited with stalling federal drug-price measures for years, with lobbying, advertising and political contributions.

Now states are getting a dose of the same medicine.

Pouring huge money into state houses

PhRMA set the stage in 2016 by establishing a group that ultimately spent $110 million to defeat a high-profile California ballot initiative requiring state agencies to pay no more for drugs than does the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. A PhRMA-linked group spent more than $50 million to defeat a similar ballot measure last year in Ohio.

Traditionally well represented in statehouses, PhRMA wrote checks to hundreds of legislative candidates and political action committees in dozens of states in 2016, newly available IRS filings show. So did many of its member companies, according to new data published by the Center for Political Accountability, a nonprofit that works to shed light on corporate political spending.

Merck, maker of a hepatitis C drug called Zepatier that costs $54,600 according to Truven Health Analytics, gave $19 million to PhRMA in 2016 but also gave about $500,000 to candidates and political committees in some two dozen states, sometimes in checks as small as $100, according to the CPA data, compiled from voluntary disclosures on corporate websites.

Amgen, maker of leukemia drug Blincyto, which costs $173,000 for an average treatment, according to the company, donated to more than 100 statehouse candidates in about a dozen states for the 2016 elections. Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Allergan also directly or indirectly supported state candidates in 2016, CPA data show.

Pharma companies “definitely have not seen that kind of activity aimed at them at the state level before and have raised their presence to address that,” said Leanne Gassaway, top state lobbyist for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a major insurance trade group.

Few states got as much pharma attention the past two years as Louisiana, though the money spent there fell short of the tens of millions invested in swaying referenda in California and Ohio. It’s cheaper to influence scores of lawmakers than millions of voters.

Drug prices are “something that’s completely out of control,” Talbot said, adding that he gets constituent requests to rein in prescription medicine prices.

A small idea panics big pharma

Neither Talbot, chairman of the House insurance committee, nor many others in the conservative state are moving to regulate drug prices. But he and other lawmakers saw promise in an idea from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, a big insurer whose premiums have been driven up partly by rising drug expenses.

The proposal, which got little news coverage even in Louisiana, would have required sales reps promoting their latest, greatest medicines to give doctors the wholesale prices at the same time. Physicians, who are largely unaware of prescription costs, might think twice about ordering $500 worth of brand-name pills when a $30 generic could deliver the same benefit, the thinking went.

The measure died in committee after the pharma lobby staged its flash mob at the 2016 meeting. When the idea came up again last spring, this time with backing from Talbot and Sen. Fred Mills, Republican chairman of the Senate health committee, the industry shifted into high gear.

Mills got “a tremendous amount of calls” on his cellphone from pharma lobbyists as well as emails and texts almost immediately after his bill landed on a legislative website, he recalled. First in line was Pete Martinez, PhRMA’s top Louisiana operative.K

“I’ve had this volume” of special-interest pressure “but not the speed,” said Mills, a small-pharmacy owner from St. Martin Parish who said he sees the rising price of pills firsthand. Mills recalled phone calls from “top government affairs people” at Pfizer, “telling me the problems with this bill.”

No fewer than 84 lobbyists representing pill companies blanketed Baton Rouge at the height of the legislative session last year, state records show — the most in at least nine years.

Pharma money floods the capitol

n 2016, PhRMA gave directly to about 80 Louisiana state politicians, more than those in any other state, the IRS filing shows. PhRMA and individual drug companies have made more than $600,000 in contributions to Louisiana state and local political races in the past three years, according to campaign finance files.

Martinez did not respond to requests for an interview. At hearings in Louisiana, PhRMA argued that informing doctors of wholesale drug prices is irrelevant to patients. What matters is consumers’ out-of-pocket payment, not the rest of the cost that’s often picked up by insurance, they said.

“We are committed to engaging with lawmakers, patients and others to find solutions that actually help patients,” a PhRMA spokesman said in a statement for this article.

Proponents countered that rising total drug costs are an increasingly painful burden on taxpayers, employers, workers and everybody else who pays them indirectly through insurance plans and government programs.

PhRMA’s opposition had an effect

Instead of making salespeople disclose prices, the legislation that lawmakers eventually passed and that Gov. John Bel Edwards signed in June requires the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy to host a website listing the information. Rather than ordering drug reps to tell doctors about the site, the act says they “may” give prescribers the internet address if they choose.

The law “is quite watered-down and basically meaningless,” said Ameet Sarpatwari, an epidemiologist and lawyer at Harvard Medical School who follows pharma laws.

Talbot says he may have lost this battle but will continue the war.

“I’m going to take another stab at it” this year, he said. “We’re on the front wave of this thing. All the states are jumping on this bandwagon.”

(Blog editor note: KHN does excellent health care reporting. We reprint with permission this and other articles.)

Liberals, please stop giving ammunition to the other side

Here’s a story which, when I first saw it being discussed on a right-wing web site, I thought the entire thing was nonsense. I had to check Snopes to see if it was just another wild story conservatives were bandying about.

Sadly, maddeningly, it’s true:

A bill introduced in the California Assembly prohibiting restaurants from providing plastic straws to customers who don’t ask for them is intended to raise awareness about the harmful effects of plastic on the environment, not put waiters and bartenders in jail, its author says.

Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) answered criticisms that the January 2018 proposal threatens restaurant workers with jail time in a 25 January tweet:

But as those same critics pointed out, AB-1884 inserts new language into the Retail Food section of the California Health and Safety Code, violations of which are misdemeanors “punishable by a fine of not less than $25 or more than $1,000, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 6 months, or by both.”

You read that correctly. Even though Majority Leader Calderon was really just trying to make a perfectly salient point about the effects of plastics on the environment, he didn’t do it by introducing a non-binding resolution or by holding a press conference — the usual way these kinds of things are done. He did it by introducing legislation that would amend the Health and Safety Code of the largest state in the union, complete with possible fines and jail time.

He wants a do-over now because, well, he wasn’t really serious about jailing wait staff or restaurant owners or managers for using plastic straws.

Oy.

This is the majority leader of the California Assembly, not some naive waif of a newcomer who should have known better.

Conservatives aren’t believing his back-pedaling and this is one of those times I don’t really blame them, even if I am inclined to believe Calderon. If he wasn’t serious why did he want to give it the force of law — only to back off now that it has caused an uproar?

The most important point is not whether he was serious or not. It’s that liberals are masters at finding ways to give the opposition proof that conservative fears are real about progressives wanting to criminalize everyday behaviors to achieve their social agenda.

Put another way: How can we be surprised when the National Rifle Association (NRA) finds fertile ground for whipping up its troops over any gun-related legislation? If liberals will use the long arm of the law to come after your drinking straws, why is it so inconceivable that they might some day come after guns?

Stop it, please. Just stop it. You’re hurting our cause and giving Fox News something with which to whip people up about nothing.

Incidentally, this comes from the press release Calderon sent out explaining his introduction of AB-1884:

An estimated 500 million straws are used in the United States every day. This number is enough to fill over 127 school buses each day and is calculated to be about 1.6 straws per person in the U.S.  In a summary of all trash collected as part of California’s Coastal Cleanup Day between 1989 and 2014, straws and stirrers rank as the 6th most common item collected.

That 500 million number? It’s not from an academic study nor from rigorous research of an environmental think tank. It comes from a 16-year-old who started a straw-free campaign when he was nine years old.

That doesn’t necessarily make it untrue, but it is an estimate he obtained from making phone calls to straw manufacturers. (Good for him for trying, BTW.)

But now that 500 million figure is bandied about on the Left as if it was handed down by the Harvard School of Public Health. Which also adds to the impression that our side will latch onto, and then repeat as gospel, any numbers which prove our points.

Click on the graphic below for more information on trash in our oceans.

Alaska is the most sexually diseased state

Jimmy Kimmel has fun with STD stats. Close behind Alaska are Louisiana (2), North Carolina (3) and Mississippi S (4). Hmmm, I wonder what these states all have in common?

Could it be they are all red states that went for Trump? Could it be they are all states with voting adults who vote in sanctimonious and religiously hypocritical ways? Or could it be these are states which receive more in federal funding than they give into the federal treasury, thereby forcing blue state residents to pay for the federal benefits they receive?

Let’s just say they are all states that stand to lose more under a Trump presidency than any others, and leave it at that.

As for the Alaska numbers, in a footnote state officials revealed that many of the state’s out-of-wedlock births and STDs were among Sarah Palin’s children, thereby skewing the numbers.

Ha! Kidding!

 

Words to live by

The sage of Sesame Street, Cookie Monster.

Influence Of GOP Doctors Caucus Grows As Congress Looks To Replace Health Law

“Their views are driven more by political affiliation,” said Mona Mangat, an allergist-immunologist and chairwoman of Doctors for America, a 16,000-member organization that favors the current health law. “It doesn’t make me feel great. Doctors outside of Congress do not support their views.”
 
Tom Price, a member of the GOP Doctor’s Caucus on Capitol Hill. at his confirmation hearings as Secretary of Health and Human Services. (Photo: NPR)

The confirmation of Tom Price, the orthopedic surgeon-turned-Georgia congressman, as secretary of Health and Human Services represents the latest victory in the ascendancy of a little-known but powerful group of conservative physicians in Congress he belongs to — the GOP Doctors Caucus.

During the Obama administration, the caucus regularly sought to overturn the Affordable Care Act, and it’s now expected to play a major role determining the Trump administration’s plans for replacement.

Robert Doherty, a lobbyist for the American College of Physicians, said the GOP Doctors Caucus has gained importance with Republicans’ rise to power. “As political circumstances have changed, they have grown more essential,” he said.

“They will have considerable influence over the considerable discussion on repeal and replace legislation,” Doherty said.

Price’s supporters have touted his medical degree as an important credential for his new position, but Price and the caucus members are hardly representative of America’s physicians in 2017. The “trust us, we’re doctors” refrain of the caucus obscures its heavily conservative agenda, critics say.

“Their views are driven more by political affiliation,” said Mona Mangat, an allergist-immunologist and chairwoman of Doctors for America, a 16,000-member organization that favors the current health law. “It doesn’t make me feel great. Doctors outside of Congress do not support their views.”

For example, while the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has worked to increase access to abortion, the three obstetrician-gynecologists in the 16-member House caucus are anti-abortion and oppose the ACA provision that provides free prescription contraception.

While a third of the U.S. medical profession is now female, 15 of the 16 members of the GOP caucus are male, and only eight of them are doctors. The other eight members are from other health professions, including a registered nurse, a pharmacist and a dentist. The nurse, Diane Black of Tennessee, is the only woman.

On the Senate side, there are three physicians, all of them Republican.

While 52 percent of American physicians today identify as Democrats, just two out of the 14 doctors in Congress are Democrats.

About 55 percent of physicians say they voted for Hillary Clinton and only 26 percent voted for Donald Trump, according to a survey by Medscape in December.

Meanwhile, national surveys show doctors are almost evenly split on support for the health law, mirroring the general public. And a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January found almost half of primary care doctors liked the law, while only 15 percent wanted it repealed.

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a caucus member first elected in 2002, is one of the longest serving doctors in Congress. He said the anti-Obamacare Republican physicians do represent the views of the profession.

“Doctors tend to be fairly conservative and are fairly tight with their dollars, and that the vast proportion of doctors in Congress [are] Republican is not an accident,” Burgess said.

Price’s ascendancy is in some ways also a triumph for the American Medical Association, which has long sought to beef up its influence over national health policy. Less than 25 percent of AMA members are practicing physicians, down from 75 percent in the 1950s.

Price is an alumnus of a boot camp the AMA runs in Washington each winter for physicians contemplating a run for office. Price is one of four members of the caucus who went through the candidate school. In December, the AMA immediately endorsed the Price nomination, a move that led thousands of doctors who feared Price would overturn the health law to sign protest petitions.

Even without Price, Congress will have several GOP physicians in leadership spots in both the House and Senate.

Those include Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, the caucus co-chairman, who also chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Burgess, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana sits on both the Finance and the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committees. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming chairs the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Roe acknowledges that his caucus will have newfound influence. Among his goals in molding an ACA replacement are to kill the requirement that most people buy health insurance (known as the individual mandate) as well as to end the obligation that 10 essential benefits, such as maternity and mental health care, must be in each health plan.

He said the caucus will probably not introduce its own bill, but rather evaluate and support other bills. The caucus could be a kingmaker in that role. “If we came out publicly and said we cannot support this bill, it fails,” Roe said.

The GOP Doctors Caucus has played a prominent role in health matters before Congress. For example, in 2015, when former House Speaker John Boehner needed help to permanently repeal a Medicare payment formula that threatened physicians with double-digit annual fee cuts, he turned to the GOP Doctors Caucus. It got behind a system to pay doctors based on performance — the so-called doc fix.

“When the speaker had a unified doctors’ agreement in his coat pocket, he could go to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and show that, and that had a lot to do with how we got this passed,” Roe said.

But not all doctors are unified behind the caucus. Rep. Raul Ruiz, one of the two physicians in the House who are Democrats, said he worries because few doctors in Congress are minorities or primary care doctors.

Ruiz, an emergency room physician from California who was elected in 2012, said he is wary about Price leading HHS because he is concerned Price’s policies would increase the number of Americans without insurance.

Indeed, many doctors feel the caucus’ proposals will not reflect their views — or medical wisdom. “My general feeling whenever I see any of their names, is that of contempt,” said Don McCanne of California, a senior fellow and past president of the Physicians for a National Health Program. “The fact that they all signed on to repeal of ACA while supporting policies that would leave so many worse off demonstrated to me that they did not represent the traditional Hippocratic traditions which place the patient first.”

Christina Jewett contributed reporting. This story also appeared on National Public Radio (NPR).

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Front page of NY Times, one year ago

Where are our leaders who teach us to be better than we are?

Leaders who keep us away from our worst impulses, as leaders are supposed to do? Leaders who teach us how to be better citizens of America? Better citizens of the world?

How has this country fallen so far so fast?

How have we become the laughingstock of the world (the part not run by dictators) so quickly? 

 

About those tax breaks Donald Trump promised to Carrier

roseanne-owns-state-rep

As this clip from Roseanne shows, it’s as if Americans learned nothing from all those years of watching that very popular show with its blue collar viewers. A show that championed working people. Many of whom just voted for a billionaire with zero record of showing he cares about them.

Somebody has to pay for roads and schools and emergency services. Just not the companies who get tax breaks. All of which pack up and move those jobs overseas anyway once the tax breaks expire.

Meanwhile we have not enough money to fix most of our substandard bridges, and schools hold fundraisers to buy school supplies.

Gee, I wonder why?

Trump has picked a conspiracy theorist as national security adviser

michael-flynn

This article by the New Yorker, which has done as well or better than any national magazine in bringing us political coverage that matters, fills in some of the blanks on Michael Flynn —  who called “Islamism” a “vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people” that has to be “excised” during an August speech — who has been tapped by Trump to be his national security adviser.

As Flynn’s public comments became more and more shrill, McChrystal, Mullen, and others called Flynn to urge him to “tone it down,” a person familiar with each attempt told me. But Flynn had found a new boss, Trump, who enlisted him in the fight against the Republican and Democratic Party establishments. Flynn was ready. At the Republican National Convention, Flynn boiled over in front of an audience of millions. He led the crowd in chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” His former colleagues say they were shocked by what they saw.

What Flynn saw was corruption: Clinton, the media, the Justice Department, the intelligence community—they are all corrupt. I spoke to Flynn three months ago, while working on a profile of him for the Washington Post. “Is this some kind of hatchet job!” he roared into the phone when I asked why, exactly, he thought Clinton should be in jail.

The lifelong intelligence officer, who once valued tips gleaned from tribal reporters, has become a ready tweeter of hackneyed conspiracy theories. He reposts the vitriol of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim commentators. “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” he tweeted in February, linking to a false claim that Islam wants eighty per cent of humanity enslaved or exterminated. “U decide,” he posted one week before the election, along with the headline from a linked story that appeared on a Web site called True Pundit: “NYPD Blows Whistle on New Hillary Emails: Money Laundering, Sex Crimes w/Children, etc. . . . MUST READ!”

And then there is this;

Flynn also began to seek the Washington spotlight. But, without loyal junior officers at his side to vet his facts, he found even more trouble. His subordinates started a list of what they called “Flynn facts,” things he would say that weren’t true, like when he asserted that three-quarters of all new cell phones were bought by Africans or, later, that Iran had killed more Americans than Al Qaeda. In private, his staff tried to dissuade him from repeating these lines.

Flynn’s temper also flared. He berated people in front of colleagues. Soon, according to former associates, a parallel power structure developed within the D.I.A. to fence him in, and to keep the nearly seventeen-thousand-person agency working. “He created massive antibodies in the building,” the former colleague said.

Just the kind of guy we want advising the president of the United States on how to respond to national security emergencies.

Oy. It’s going to be a long four years. 

Via:  The Disruptive Career of Michael Flynn, Trump’s National-Security Adviser — The New Yorker

 

 

The Damage From Free Trade Helped Elect Donald Trump

    America's industrial heartland has been dying a slow death and Washington seems to have not made it a priority.America’s industrial heartland has been dying a slow death and Washington seems to have not made it a priority.

The morning after Trump won the presidency my first Lyft passenger of the day was a middle-aged woman from a well-to-do northern Chicago suburb going to O’Hare airport. 

She got in and heaved a heavy sigh as she stared off into the distance. 

It was a long ride and we had time to talk. She was upset about Trump’s win. We went back and forth about the possible reasons and then she told me something that stuck with me.

It turns out she volunteers to go to the dying coal mining towns in West Virginia on missions to provide food and whatever comfort her group can provide in an area where people find themselves in increasingly desperate circumstances. Coal is dying, which is as it should be. But they hold onto hope that it could come back, even if only for a while.

She helps people who are 2nd and 3rd generation or more of coal miner families. It’s all they know. It was the thing that once helped them to build lives and have families in what was a rough existence already.

She told me that when Donald Trump promised to deal with jobs leaving America, they were desperate to believe him because he was filling a void that Washington and the two parties have yet to address meaningfully.

Hillary Clinton made more from one Wall Street speech than entire groups of West Virginia coal mining families make in a year.

And when Trump promised to bring back coal?

“They know he might be bullshitting them. But there’s also a chance he is not,” she told me. “And when the life you thought you would have is disintegrating before your eyes, when you cannot feed and clothe your family, when you have no other job skills, that is a chance you are willing to take. It’s not one of the things they have to hold onto. It was the only thing for many of them in this election.”

This is a very well done piece by the Campaign for America’s Future, a progressive group, regarding free trade and how it has decimated an entire swath of the American population while Washington –Democrats and Republicans — pushed it on those same people, many of them Trump voters on the lower rungs of society:

In the late 70s the country was told that “protectionism” is bad for the economy and was sold “free trade” as a way to bring prosperity and jobs. “Trade” in this usage meant one and only thing: close a factory here and lay off the workers. Open a factory “there” to make the same goods, bring those goods back here to sell in the same stores to the same customers. It’s called “trade” because now those goods cross a border. The “sell” was that all those laid-off workers would be “freed up” to get better jobs.

Well, they never got better jobs — those were also outsourced or privatized or relabeled as low-wage “contractors” with no protections or benefits. So instead they had their homes foreclosed, their local stores forced out of business and their downtowns boarded up. Local and state tax bases dwindled so schools became terrible, infrastructure crumbled, public services cut and cut and cut. Meanwhile the investor class that pushed this and executive class that managed it pocket the wages these regions used to generate for themselves. (They also got huge tax cuts.)

Many of the national-level Democrats have been distressingly silent or ineffective on the issue, taking the same campaign cash that Republicans have taken from companies which move jobs overseas in countries where those corporations can often skirt environmental and labor laws.

You need only witness Barack Obama’s full-throated support of the TPP to know how tone deaf the Dems have been on these issues.

Yes, many of Trump supporters are not from the lower classes. But enough of them were so as to have likely put Trump over the top in places like Ohio which have been particularly hard hit by jobs moving to poorer, less regulated countries.

Obama has used the now discredited excuses cited in the passage above. But he has also said, as have many free trade defenders, that it is good for national security in that it stabilizes unstable economies in the so-called Third World.

But what good does it do to stabilize other countries when our own is so unstable that much of our own population withers economically and Donald Trump is now President?

It was one of the things on which Bernie Sanders was way ahead of everyone else.  Let us hope the Dems (and now the GOP) start to pay attention, as well.

Read the entire piece at the link below. It’s very good.

Source: The Damage From Free Trade Helped Elect Trump

Google Fiber may bring a broadband revolution

Google Fiber jefferly.com llogo

It appears to be a sad fact of life: American household consumers are stuck with crappy internet speeds and customer service because of the stranglehold that Comcast, AT&T, Sprint and the rest have over the marketplace.

Take a look at these world internet connection speeds. The U.S. ranks 11th behind Latvia. LATVIA! (No offense, Latvians. But c’mon!)

And it’s expensive to get internet service in the U.S.

We could be doing so much better. 

And that is the topic of this TechDirt post by Karl Bode:

When Google Fiber first launched in 2012, many analysts (myself included) believed that while cool, Google Fiber was little more than a clever PR experiment. Having cities throw themselves at Google for $70, gigabit connections created wonderful PR fodder in papers nationwide, in the process drawing attention to the lack of broadband competition and spurring incumbent ISPs to action. But Google was never going to really follow through on the promise of better competition, and would probably get bored in a few years. After all, it would cost way too much to actually deliver competition on any scale, right?

But as the list of looming Google Fiber markets grows, Google Fiber is looking less like an unserious experiment and more like a wholesale telecom revolution, albeit one that’s taking its time. Sure, Google Fiber is only available in portions of Provo, Austin and Kansas City now — but the company’s currently building networks in some major urban sprawl-scapes including Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Nashville, Atlanta, Raligh/Durham, and Charlotte. The company also recently unveiled (or is rumored to soon announce) expansions into Portland, San Diego, Irvine, Phoenix, San Jose, and Louisville.

This week, Google said it’s also working with Oklahoma City, Jacksonville and Tampa to pave the way for gigabit speeds sometime in the next few years. And whereas many incumbent ISPs and sector analysts used to laugh off Google Fiber as an empty threat (one called it “over-hyped like Ebola“), lately they’ve been changing their tune. A recent study by Bernstein Research noted that while Google Fiber only currently has an estimated 100,000 or so subscribers, it has real potential to be a concrete, disruptive force over the next five to ten years.

It just cannot come soon enough. Really. Srsly.

Source: With Another Major Expansion, Google Fiber’s Looking Less Like An Adorable Experiment And More Like A Disruptive Broadband Revolution | Techdirt