Did Romney And Santorum Profit From Medicare And Medicaid Fraud?

Since repeal of the Affordable Care Act is Job One on every Republican candidate's to-do list, it's worth looking at their own relationships to the health care industry, particularly the profiteering angle. The Health Care Renewal blog has a

Romney Santorum Duke It Out

Since repeal of the Affordable Care Act is Job One on every Republican candidate's to-do list, it's worth looking at their own relationships to the health care industry, particularly the profiteering angle.

The Health Care Renewal blog has a terrific summary to begin with. Here's the short version. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have ties to health care companies who have profited from, or in some cases defrauded, the government.

Mitt Romney

While at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney led the takeover and investment in Damon Corp. The Boston Globe reports via Deseret News:

Perhaps the most legally thorny was Bain Capital's 1989 purchase of Damon Corp., a Needham medical testing firm that later pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal government of $25 million and paid a record $119 million fine.

Romney sat on Damon's board. During Romney's tenure, Damon executives submitted bills to the government for millions of unnecessary blood tests. Romney and other board members were never implicated.

More than a decade later, when Romney was in pursuit of the Massachusetts governorship, his Democratic opponent Shannon O'Brien accused him of lax oversight at Damon and failing to report the fraud.

Romney replied that he had helped uncover the illegal activity at Damon, asking the board's lawyers to investigate. As a result, he said, the board took "corrective action" before selling the company in 1993 to Corning Inc.

But court records suggest that the Damon executives' scheme continued throughout Bain's ownership, and prosecutors credited Corning, not Romney, with cleaning up the situation. Bain, meanwhile, tripled its investment.

Romney personally reaped $473,000.

Shades of Rick Scott, perhaps? While Romney wasn't CEO of Damon Corp. it seems clear that at the very least he overlooked or turned his head to what they were doing with regard to Medicare fraud. It seems clear that there was no plot or directive from Romney to commit fraud, but it's troublesome that a man heading a company where the "creative audit" was part of their approach to taking over these companies didn't identify the pattern of fraud taking place.

If he and his staff couldn't identify it when they sat on the Board of Directors of the company, is there some reason we should believe he would identify and cure fraud and waste within the government's Medicare system?

Rick Santorum

After his resounding defeat for the Senate in 2006, Mr. Santorum joined the board of Universal Health Services, Inc., along with several other large corporations. Bloomberg News has the details on Universal Health Services:

Outside of his employment contracts, Santorum’s greatest financial gain came from $395,414 in director fees and stock options he listed in a recent financial disclosure.

The fees and options came from King of Prussia-based Universal Health Services Inc., a publicly traded health-care management company that was sued in 2010 by the federal government for alleged Medicaid fraud.

From the Justice Department press release.

The United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia have filed a False Claims Act complaint in the Western District of Virginia against Medicaid providers Universal Health Services Inc., Keystone Marion LLC and Keystone Education and Youth Services LLC, the Justice Department announced today . These entities did business as the Keystone Marion Youth Center, a residential facility in Marion, Va., which receives Medicaid funds to provide psychiatric counseling and treatment for boys ages 11-17. The United States’ and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s complaint alleges that the defendants billed Medicaid for inpatient psychiatric care that was not provided, in violation of federal and state Medicaid requirements, and falsified records to cover up their serious violations.

The PsychCrime blog lists numerous complaints against UHS, alleging that their for-profit approach to health care has endangered or cost the lives of people entrusted to their care.

While Rick Santorum can claim he's one degree of separation away from actual wrongdoing, his profit-taking on the backs of poor people shouldn't go ignored. This is part and parcel of the Republican attitude toward health care; that is, it's all an enterprise that exists to make and take profit from people. Well, people, and the United States government. It's all up for grabs.

Remember that the next time one of these sanctimonious jerks starts talking about how desperate they are to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

[h/t GoozNews and US Health Crisis]

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