Human Events Blog

Senator Menendez sticks up for his benefactor against Medicare overbilling charges

The latest right-wing smear sheet to pile on against the noble Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is the Washington Postwhich brings us a touching story that illustrates what a good friend old Bob can be:

Sen. Robert Menendez raised concerns with top federal health-care officials twice in recent years about their finding that a Florida eye doctor — a close friend and major campaign donor — had overbilled the government by $8.9 million for care at his clinic, Menendez aides said Wednesday.

Menendez (D-N.J.) initially contacted federal officials in 2009 about the government’s audit of Salomon Melgen, complaining to the director overseeing Medicare payments that it was unfair to penalize the doctor because the billing rules were ambiguous, the aides said.

Last year, in a meeting with the acting administrator of the agency in charge of Medicare and Medicaid, Menendez again questioned whether federal auditors had been fair in their assessment of Melgen’s billing for eye injections to treat macular degeneration, the senator’s aides said.

Melgen donated $700,000 of his fortune to Menendez’ re-election campaign.  The rest of it went into luxuries such as a private jet – which Menendez suddenly remembered he owed Melgen $58,000 for using, just as conservative bloggers began digging into a story the mainstream media had studiously ignored throughout the election – and a posh villa in the Dominican Republic, situated in a resort that functioned as a massive engine of job creation for nubile Dominican girls.  However, he did not have enough money left over to pay his taxes, so he owes the IRS $11 million.  He’s a living example of the Democrat caricature of wealthy Americans.

The FBI already raided Melgen’s offices to save evidence from an industrial-strength paper shredder, a development Menendez says came as a complete surprise to him.  Which is odd, because former federal officials told the Post that Melgen constantly dropped Menendez’ name when was questioned.  Also, fellow doctors in Florida who raised questions about Melgen’s treatment methods received ominous warnings about his “important friends in the Senate,” who might just “arrange an intensive federal audit” of the annoying surgeons’ practices.

Interestingly, the Daily Caller - which is pretty much riding around in a papoose on Bob Menendez’ back these days – reports from FBI sources that the agency has relocated its investigation from Melgen’s home state of Florida to New Jersey, which recently returned Menendez to the Senate.  “The change of focus away from the bureau’s Miami field office indicates that the government is focused primarily on Sen. Menendez – and not on his longtime donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, as political observers have speculated,” ventures the Daily Caller.

In a politicized economy dominated by a massive central government, political influence is one of the most important resources anyone could buy… so they will.  It’s long past time for reporters to begin asking President Obama how Bob Menendez fits into his fantasies of huge, clean, honest, transparent government.  Especially since ObamaCare is about to give people who know how to get cute with “ambiguous” paperwork even greater opportunities to rake in Big Government bucks.  Maybe that’s what the President and his apologists mean when they claim our moribund economy is “poised for growth.”

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