In a blockbuster deal that rocks the fintech world, Square announced today that it is acquiring Australian buy now, pay later giant Afterpay in a $29 billion all-stock deal.
The purchase price is based on the closing price of Square common stock on July 30, which was $247.26. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, contingent upon certain closing conditions. It values Afterpay at more than 30% premium to its latest closing price of A$96.66.
Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement that the two fintech behemoths “have a shared purpose.”
“We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible and inclusive, and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles,” he said in the statement. “Together, we can better connect our Cash App and Seller ecosystems to deliver even more compelling products and services for merchants and consumers, putting the power back in their hands.”
The combination of the two companies would create a payments giant unlike any other. Over the past 18 months, the buy now, pay later space has essentially exploded, appealing especially to younger generations drawn to the idea of not using credit cards or paying interest and instead opting for the installment loans, which have become ubiquitous online and in retail stores.
As of June 30, Afterpay served more than 16 million consumers and nearly 100,000 merchants globally, including major retailers across industries such as fashion, homewares, beauty and sporting goods, among others.
The addition of Afterpay, the companies’ statement said, will “accelerate Square’s strategic priorities” for its Seller and Cash App ecosystems. Square plans to integrate Afterpay into its existing Seller and Cash App business units, so that even “the smallest of merchants” can offer buy now, pay later at checkout. The integration will also give Afterpay consumers the ability to manage their installment payments directly in Cash App. Cash App customers will be able to find merchants and buy now, pay later (BNPL) offers directly within the app.
Afterpay’s co-founders and co-CEOs Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar will join Square upon closure of the deal and help lead Afterpay’s respective merchant and consumer businesses. Square said it will appoint one Afterpay director to its board.
Shareholders of Afterpay will get 0.375 shares of Square Class A stock for every share they own. This implies a price of about A$126.21 per share based on Square’s Friday close, according to the companies.
Will there be more consolidation in the space? That remains to be seen, and Twitter is all certainly abuzz about what deals could be next. Here in the U.S., rival Affirm (founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin) went public earlier this year. On July 30, shares closed at $56.32, significantly lower than its opening price and 52-week-high of $146.90. Meanwhile, European competitor Klarna — which is growing rapidly in the U.S. — in June raised another $639 million at a staggering post-money valuation of $45.6 billion.
Readers and Tweeters Diagnose Greed and Chronic Pain Within US Health Care System
U.S. Health Care Is Harmful to One’s Health
Thank you for publishing this research (“Hundreds of Hospitals Sue Patients or Threaten Their Credit, a KHN Investigation Finds. Does Yours?” Dec. 21). I am a psychotherapist and have written about this problem in my blog. The mercenary American health care system is hypocritical in the stressful financial demands and threats it imposes on so many patients. Stress due to health care-related bankruptcy, or the threat of bankruptcy, is harmful to one’s health. A health care system that is supposed to treat illness and restore health can, in fact, cause serious illness and/or exacerbate existing medical problems. The higher levels of stress and the threat of bankruptcy that all too frequently follow needed medical care can be harmful to individuals with cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure and heart arrhythmia, and can trigger panic attacks in those who suffer from anxiety disorders. There may be digestive issues associated with higher levels of stress, and the patient’s sleep may be adversely affected. The individual may have to cut back on essentials such as food and medications because of unpaid medical bills, aggressive calls from collection agencies, and the threat of bankruptcy.
All of this in the name of “health care” delivered by professions and organizations that proclaim the importance of beneficence, justice, and non-malfeasance within their respective codes of ethics. Curative stress? Therapeutic bankruptcy? The hypocrisy is palpable.
American history is replete with examples of discrimination against certain groups, including racial discrimination, the disenfranchisement of women, child labor, and others. Eventually, political measures were enacted to correct these injustices. It’s only a matter of time until the American health care system, including the pharmaceutical industry, is forced to reform itself for the sake of the men, women, and children in need of essential health care. It’s not a question of if, but when.
Thanks for the article about hospitals suing patients. I just switched health plans in New York state. Reasons: My previous insurer raised my premium over 90% last year, paid very little of my claims (leaving Medicare to pay most of the claims), and sent me to collections. This, even though I worked two full-time jobs for most of my 46 years of teaching. How do insurance companies and hospitals get away with this unethical and outrageous behavior?
Unhappy New Year of Deductibles and Copays
Listened to a conversation between Noam N. Levey and NPR’s Ari Shapiro, regarding Levey’s article on Germany’s lack of medical debt (“What Germany’s Coal Miners Can Teach America About Medical Debt,” Dec. 14). Levey passed along the tidbit that Affordable Care Act plans purchased through state exchanges would pay a maximum out-of-pocket amount of $9,000 a year. Likely Mr. Levey knows the actual details of the ACA at least as well as I, but I had well over $20,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for my own care last year (in addition to annual premiums of over $15,000). The deductible/copay aspect of health insurance is rigged against folks who actually use their insurance. The in-network and out-of-network provider scheme is likewise designed to benefit providers as opposed to patients.
I’ve had health insurance for about 40 years, since I graduated from college. Always a plan paid for by myself, never through an employer. I’ve had my first year of using a lotof heath care services (colon cancer surgery and chemo follow-up), and the bills are quite astronomical. Still awaiting the final negotiations between Stanford Hospital and Blue Shield of California for the $97,000 bill for services for the surgery and stay in the hospital. Though my surgery was in September, the two had not resolved the bill by year-end. Now all my copays and deductibles have reset, and I’ll be back at the starting gate, dollar-wise.
Greedy to the Bone?
In orthopedics, surgery is where the money is (“More Orthopedic Physicians Sell Out to Private Equity Firms, Raising Alarms About Costs and Quality,” Jan. 6). Just as a private equity-controlled ophthalmology group tried to persuade me to have unnecessary cataract surgery (three other eye doctors agreed it wasn’t necessary), too many orthopedic patients can expect to be pushed to unnecessary surgeries.
The Painful Truth of the Opioid Epidemic
In a recent article, Aneri Pattani and Rae Ellen Bichell discussed disparities in the distribution of settlement funds from lawsuits against major pharmaceutical companies, especially in rural areas (“In Rural America, Deadly Costs of Opioids Outweigh the Dollars Tagged to Address Them,” Dec. 12).
We suggest that the merit of many of the lawsuits that led to these large settlements remains unproven. While Purdue Pharma clearly overstated the safety of prescription opioids in treating chronic pain, judges in two high-profile cases ruled in favor of the pharmaceutical companies stating that prosecutors falsely inflated the danger of opioids and noted that opioids used per FDA guidelines are safe and effective, remaining a vital means to treat chronic pain. Also, many cases involving Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, and others were settled based on expediency, rather than merit. This may have been due to the reasoning that continuing their defense against prosecutors having access to limitless public funds would lead to bankruptcy.
The primary cause of America’s overdose crisis is not physicians’ “overprescribing” opioids. Dr. Thomas Frieden, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that the rise in prescription opioids paralleled the increase in opioid deaths up to 2010, leading the CDC to create guidelines in 2016 limiting opioid use to treat chronic pain. However, cause-and-effect relationships between the legitimate use of prescription opioids and opioid deaths remain unclear. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse noted in 2015 that since 2000, misuse of prescription drugs preceded the use of heroin in most cases. But legitimate prescriptions by physicians to patients with chronic pain constituted only 20% of the cases leading to heroin addiction. Prescription drugs used by heroin addicts were from family members or friends in 80% of the cases leading to heroin use.
Since at least 2010, the volume of prescription opioids dropped by over 60% — yet overdose deaths have skyrocketed to over 100,000 cases in 2021. The opioid overdose death crisis is now driven mainly by illegally imported fentanyl and in part by a misguided crackdown of the Drug Enforcement Administration against physicians who legitimately prescribe opioids to chronic pain patients, forcing them to seek out street drugs.
Statistics from Michigan indicate that nearly 40% of primary care clinics will no longer see new patients for pain management. The CDC, in its 2022 updated guidelines, attempted to clarify misunderstandings, including inappropriate rapid tapering and individualizing care. However, the public health crisis of undertreated pain remains. Some states have passed intractable pain laws to restore access to opioids to chronic pain patients with a legitimate need, indicating the shortfalls of the CDC guidelines to treat pain.
We’re fighting to hold accountable the companies that helped create and fuel the opioid crisis so we can help people struggling with opioid use disorder across North Carolina and the country get resources for treatment and recovery. We need this money now to save lives.
To that end, I wanted to flag one concern about the article on rural counties and opioid funding. It looks as if the comparison and the maps about North Carolina funding by county and overdose deaths may not correlate. The reporting seems to reflect overdose deaths on a per capita basis, but funding is indicated by total dollars received.
This spreadsheet might be helpful. It ranks each North Carolina county by the amount of funds they will receive from the distributor and Johnson & Johnson settlements (as posted on mapplecare.com) per capita, using 2019 population figures. In per capita rankings, rural and/or less populous counties are typically receiving more funding per capita than larger counties. For example, the 10 counties receiving the most per capita funding are all rural and/or less populous counties (Wilkes, Cherokee, Burke, Columbus, Graham, Yancey, Mitchell, Clay, Swain, and Surry). Wake County, our most populous county, is ranked 80th.
It’s also important to note that the formula was developed by experts for counsel to local governments in the national opioid litigation, who represent and have duties of loyalty to both large urban and small rural local governments. It takes into account opioid use disorder in the county (the number of people with opioid use disorder divided by the total number of people nationwide with opioid use disorder), overdose deaths as a percentage of the nation’s opioid overdose deaths, and the number of opioids in the county. Click here for more information.
Indeed, one of the special masters appointed by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in the national opioid litigation found that the national allocation model “reflects a serious effort on the part of the litigating entities that devised it to distribute the class’s recovery according to the driving force at the heart of the lawsuit — the devastation caused by this horrific epidemic.” (See Page 5 of this report of Special Master Yanni.)
You’re absolutely right that rural counties were often the earliest and hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, and it’s critical that they receive funds to help get residents the treatment and recovery resources they need. We’re hopeful that these funds, whose allocation was determined in partnership by local government counsel, will help deliver those resources.
A Holistic Approach to Strengthening the Nursing Workforce Pipeline
As we face the nation’s worst nursing shortage in decades, some regions are adopting creative solutions to fill in the gaps (“Rural Colorado Tries to Fill Health Worker Gaps With Apprenticeships,” Nov. 29). To truly solve the root of this crisis, we must look earlier in the workforce pipeline.
The entire nation currently sits in a dire situation when it comes to having an adequate number of nurses — especially rural communities. With the tripledemic of covid-19, influenza, and RSV tearing through hospitals, it’s never been more evident how vital nurses are to the functioning of our health care system. A recent McKinsey report found that we need to double the number of nurses entering the workforce every year for the next three years to meet anticipated demand. Without support from policymakers and health care leaders, we cannot meet that.
As a health care executive myself, I’ve seen firsthand how impactful apprenticeships can be because they help sustain the health care workforce pipeline. From high school students to working adults, these “earn while you learn” apprenticeships allow students to make a living while working toward their degree, and my system’s apprenticeship program has even reduced our turnover by up to 50%. It provides a framework to support a competency-based education rooted in real-life skills and hands-on training for key nursing support roles, all while team members earn an income.
Education is key to developing competent, practice-ready nurses. Not just through apprenticeships but early on in students’ educational journey, too. According to the newest data from the nation’s report card, students in most states and most demographic groups experienced the steepest declines in math and reading ever recorded. As we continue to see the devastating impact the pandemic had on young learners, it’s crucial we invest more in remediation and support, so students graduate from secondary school with a deep understanding of these core competencies and are ready to pursue nursing. A recent survey of nearly 4,000 prospective nursing students from ATI Nursing Education found that a lack of academic preparedness was the top reason for delaying or forgoing nursing school.
Without intervention now, our nursing workforce shortage will only worsen in the future. We need our leaders to face these challenges head-on and invest in a holistic approach to strengthen our nursing pipeline. There’s no time to waste.
Planning Major Surgery? Plan Ahead
I read Judith Graham’s good article “Weighing Risks of a Major Surgery: 7 Questions Older Americans Should Ask Their Surgeon” (Jan. 3) on CNN. Thought I should add some personal experience. At age 78, my mother had back surgery in 2016. When she was getting prepped, she was given multiple documents to sign. Once signed, she was immediately taken to surgery. There was not enough time to read any of them. In hindsight, we are certain the documents were mostly for release of liability if something goes wrong. After surgery, she had “drop foot” — total loss of use of her left foot. Never heard of it. She was told she would regain use in about six months. Never happened. She had to use a walker and still had numerous falls in which her head had hit the ground multiple times. She slowly slid into long-term “confusion” that was attributed to her falls and passed away at age 84.
My story is about my abdominal aorta aneurysm surgery in 2022 at age 62. I did not have an overnight recovery — tube taken out of my throat, catheter removed, and was immediately transferred to a room. An IV pump of saline was left on and my arm swelled up — I thought my arm was going to burst. Five days later, I was discharged. Everything seemed rushed. The only postsurgical “instructions” I received were to keep the incision clean and not to play golf, and I don’t even play golf. I recuperated at home, and after five months I still have abdominal pain that I’ll always have.
Both of our surgeries were done on a Friday. I’m certain our experiences were due to hospital staff wanting to leave early on Friday, and weekend staffers are mostly the “B” team. So, my advice is to suggest to the elderly not to have surgery scheduled on a Friday unless there is absolute urgency in choosing the date.
I am writing to express my concerns over the significant misinformation in the article about what older Americans should ask their surgeon before major surgery.
Most abdominal aortic aneurysms are treated with endovascular methods. These minimally invasive procedures still require general anesthesia (with a breathing tube), but most patients have the tube removed before leaving the operating room, and many patients leave the hospital the next day with minimal functional limitations due to surgery being performed through half-inch incisions in each groin.
The “best case” surgical scenario described in your article describes open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, which is recommended for fewer than 20% of patients requiring aortic aneurysm repairs.
In essence, you’re threatening everyone who comes in for a tuneup with an engine rebuild.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms are still undertreated in the U.S., with many patients not receiving screening recommended by Medicare since 2006. Your article misrepresents the “best case” scenario and may dissuade patients from receiving lifesaving care.
— Dr. David Nabi, Newport Beach, California
I read, with interest, Judith Graham’s article about older Americans preparing for major surgery. But you failed to mention the life-altering effects of anesthesia. My independent 82-year-old mother had a minor fall in July and broke her hip. After undergoing anesthesia, she is required to have 24/7 care as her short-term memory has been forever altered. Was there a choice not to have hip surgery? I didn’t hear one. Did anyone explain the issues that could (and often do) occur with an elderly brain due to anesthesia? No. And now we are dealing with this consequence. And what happens when you don’t have money (like most people in the U.S.) for 24/7 care? I hope you’ll consider writing about this.
The High Bar of Medicare Advantage Transparency
Unfortunately, KHN’s article “How Medicare Advantage Plans Dodged Auditors and Overcharged Taxpayers by Millions” (Dec. 13) provided a misleading, incomplete depiction of Medicare Advantage payment.
This story focuses largely on audits that, in some cases, are more than a decade old. While KHN’s focus is on alleged “overpayment,” the same audits show that many plans were underpaid by as much as $773 per patient.
More recent research demonstrates Medicare Advantage’s affordability and responsible stewardship of Medicare dollars. For example, an October 2021 Milliman report concludes “the federal government pays less and gets more for its dollar in MA than in FFS,” while the Department of Health and Human Services’ fiscal year 2021 report shows that the net improper payment rate in Medicare Advantage was roughly half that of fee-for-service Medicare.
KHN’s article is right about one thing: Only a small fraction of Medicare Advantage plans are audited each year — denying policymakers and the public a fuller understanding of the program’s exceptional value to seniors and the health care system. That is why Better Medicare Alliance has called for regulators to conduct Risk Adjustment Data Validation (RADV) audits of every Medicare Advantage plan every year.
There are opportunities, as outlined in our recent policy recommendations, to further strengthen and improve Medicare Advantage’s high bar of transparency and accountability, but that effort is not well served by this misleading article.
Targeting Gun Violence
I’m curious why KHN neglected to actually get into all the “meat and potatoes” regarding its report on Colorado’s red flag law (“Colorado Considers Changing Its Red Flag Law After Mass Shooting at Nightclub,” Dec. 23). Specifically, it failed to report that the suspect in this case used a “ghost gun” to execute the crime in Colorado Springs, and more importantly what impact any red flag law is going to have on a person who manufactures their own illegal firearm. Lastly, why is it the national conversation regarding the illegal use and possession of firearms curiously avoids any in-depth, substantive conversation of access to firearms by mentally ill people? Quite frankly, this is the underlying cause of illegal firearms use and no one wants to step up to the plate and address the issue at any in-depth level. It’s categorically embarrassing for American journalism.
Carlo Marks talks about his new Hallmark movie ‘The Wedding Veil Inspiration’
Actor Carlo Marks (“Chesapeake Shores”) chatted about his new Hallmark movie “The Wedding Veil Inspiration.”
Terry Ingram directed it from a script by Betsy Morris, inspired by the book “There Goes the Bride” by Lori Wilde.
Aside from Marks, it stars Autumn Reeser, Alison Sweeney, Lacey Chabert, and Kacey Rohl. It will premiere on Saturday, January 14, 2023, as part of the network’s “New Year, New Movies” programming event.
In the second movie of this sequel trilogy, Emma (Autumn Reeser) is sticking to her five year plan, as Paolo (Paolo Bernardini) prepares to open a lace shop in Chicago with his cousin Matteo (Carlo Marks).
On track to assume a promotion to department chair, Emma feels strongly that things fall into place before she and Paolo can consider growing their family; however, Paolo worries that that day may never come. When a crisis at home calls Paolo back to Italy, the couple must navigate busy schedules to make time for each other from afar.
Missing Paolo, Emma bumps heads with Nancy (Lynda Boyd), the current chair of her department and begins to question her life choices. Thankfully, she has frequent calls, texts and visits with Tracy (Alison Sweeney) and Avery (Lacey Chabert), who seem to know her better than she knows herself.
She also has a friend in her smart and quirky teacher’s aide, Lily (Kacey Rohl), who provides Emma with a novel opportunity to get people excited about art, but it might mean giving up everything she’s worked for.
Meanwhile, Emma cannot help but notice a spark between Lily and Matteo – who both happened to be touching the veil when they met. As Emma tries to get Lily to trust her heart, she must find the courage to stop planning her own dream life and start living it.
“It was a lot of fun,” he admitted. “Obviously, the whole cast knew each other but I was coming in fresh as the new guy.”
He had great words about Paolo Bernardini, who plays his cousin. “Paolo has a lot of energy, but I liked him. Working with him was so great,” he said with a sweet laugh.
“Kacey is a tremendous actor, she is new to Hallmark but she fit in perfectly and she has a unique sense of humor. It was lovely working opposite her. Autumn Reeser is lovely and a grounded human being.”
He noted that “Chesapeake Shores” was six years of his life. “It was fun and it was nice to come back to it each year,” he said. “It was in the most beautiful location in the world, where I happen to be from. It felt like going home, it was such a gift.”
On being an actor in the digital age, Marks said, “It doesn’t make a difference to me. The camera is still the same camera. It changes more as a viewer and as a consumer, you have so many options it’s overwhelming. As an actor, you are connecting with other human beings. The industry has changed more than the art.”
For young and aspiring actors, he said, “Do it whenever and wherever you can, and take every opportunity to do it. Have fun doing it no matter what it is. That’s my advice.”
On the title of the current chapter of his life, Marks said, “Halfway There.”
Regarding his definition of the word success, he said, “Being happy no matter where you are and what is going on outside of you. That’s the ultimate success. Superficial success is being able to eat, have shelter, and take care of the people that you love.”
10.10 01 Piso wifi, pause time: What is it?
10.10.0.1 Piso wifi is a service that allows you to use your Philippine mobile phone number to access the internet while you are in Japan. 10.10.0.1 Piso wifi is ideal for those who want to stay connected while on vacation or business trips. 10.10 01 Piso wifi offers unlimited data and speeds of up to 10Mbps, making it perfect for streaming movies, TV shows, and music. 10.10 01 Piso wifi also has a pause time feature that allows you to pause the service for up to 1 month so you can continue using your Philippine mobile phone number when you return home. 10 10 01 Piso wifi is a great way to stay connected while you are in Japan and is an affordable option for those who want to keep their Philippines mobile phone number active.
What are the benefits of using 10.10.0.1 Piso wifi?
10.10.0.1 Piso wifi provides open internet access to everyone. The project uses donated Raspberry Pis to create wifi hotspots that anyone can connect to. The hotspots are located in public places, such as parks and libraries, and are available to anyone who needs them. In addition to providing free internet access, 10.10.0.1 Piso wifi also helps to promote digital literacy and computer skills by offering training and support for users. The project has been successful in providing internet access to many people who would not otherwise have it, and it has also helped to reduce the digital divide in the Philippines.
What features does 10.10 01 Piso wifi offer?
10.10 01 Piso wifi is a great way to stay connected while in the Philippines. The pause time feature is perfect for when you need to take a break from work or just want to relax. No matter whether you’re in the city or the countryside, 10.10 01 Piso wifi is the perfect way to stay connected. And with unlimited data, you can stay connected as much as you want without worry. 10.10 01 Piso wifi is the best way to stay connected while in the Philippines.
How can I sign up for 10.10.0.1 Piso wifi?
To sign up for 10.10.0.1 Piso wifi, simply go to their website and fill out the registration form. You need to provide the name, address, and contact information. Once you have completed the form, you will be asked to select a plan and make a payment. 10.10.0.1 Piso wifi offers a variety of plans to choose from, so you may select the best one that meets your needs. Once you have made your payment, your 10.10.0 01 Piso wifi service will be activated, and then you will enjoy high-speed internet access in no time.
What is the coverage area for 10.10 01 Piso wifi?
10.10 01 Piso wifi has a base all over the Philippine islands, including the capital city, Manila. 10.10 01 Piso wifi offers different kinds of unlimited packages that are tailor-fit for everyone’s budget and lifestyle. 10.10 01 Piso wifi’s most affordable package starts at P1,499 per month with a free installation and 10Mbps connection speed. 10.10 01 Piso wifi prides itself in giving its customers unlimited internet with no data capping and no lock-in period, so you can fully enjoy your 10.10 01 Piso wifi experience. 10.10 01 Piso wifi also has a pause time of 1 hour per day to give you more value for your money.
Can I use my Philippine mobile phone number with 10.10 01 Piso wifi?
Yes, you can use your Philippine mobile phone number to sign up for 10.10 01 Piso wifi. Once you have registered the account, you will be able to top up your account using your mobile phone number. You can then use your 10.10 01 Piso wifi account to connect to the internet whenever you are in a 10.10 01 Piso wifi hotspot location. The Filipino mobile phone number must be entered in international format when registering for the service. For example, if your mobile number is 09171234567, you would enter it as +639171234567. Please note that you will only be able to use the 10.10 01 Piso wifi service while you are in the Philippines. If you go to another country, you will need to purchase a local SIM card in order to use the service.
How can I cancel my 10.10 01 Piso wifi service?
To cancel your 10.10 01 Piso wifi service, you will need to contact customer service. The best way is to call the customer service number that is listed on your account information. When you are going to call, be sure to have your account information handy so that the customer service representative can quickly locate your account. Then, simply tell the representative that you would like to cancel your service. The representative will ask for your confirmation and then process the cancellation. Once the cancellation is processed, your service will be disconnected, and you will no longer be billed for it.
In short, with its affordable plans and great features, 10.10 01 Piso wifi is the best choice for anyone who needs to stay connected while in the Philippines.
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