Friday, November 27, 2020
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Want to Know Why Mitt Romney Flip Flopped on Health Care?

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Mitt's flip flops make him the new record holder for reversals and weaseling out of previous statements. Yet "Few individuals or organizations have been as influential as Mitt Romney and Bain Capital in worsening our runaway health care costs, says RJ Eskow. I urge you to read the entire article I have linked above.  As you know, Bain buys up companies and puts  bottom-line pressure to jack up health care costs. Meanwhile, Bain picks off everything of value, forces the company to excessively leverage itself, and then, often, Bain walks away leaving the company a worthless hulk and the employees looking for jobs. But when it comes to health care acquisitions, Bain profiteers on sick people, often subjecting them to needless surgeries and then overcharge them. Consider the following Eskow revelations:

* Bain purchased drug store chain Duane Reade. The CEO Bain hired was himself later convicted of investor fraud and the chain sold out-of-date drugs and baby formula.

* Damon International's CEO, another Bain hire for a Bain acquisition, was convicted for tricking doctors into ordering unnecessary tests and billing them to Medicare. It is particularly heinous that the program Mitt seeks to gut what has been his cash cow.

* Bain was among the first companies to use leveraged buyouts to over-treat patients and over-bill payers and patients.

* Bain bought Dade International, a medical equipment suppler, and milked bankruptcy laws to enrich Bain executives with investors' money. Note that Romney remained Bain's owner after he stopped leading it day-to-day.  Dade was sold to Siemens at fire sale prices, according to Eskow. Investors got pennies on the dollar.  And private insurers, Medicare, and ultimately all of us paid.

* Bain purchased CRC Health Group, a chain of drug treatment facilities. Another leveraged buyout, CRC was accused of numerous cases of abuse and neglect...all the while Bain profiteered.

* Perhaps the worst instance of Bain's affect on the quality of health care was its purchase of HCA. This particular purchase is rich with GOP taint.  (The Frist family once owned the chain but sold it. Then Rick Scott famously "led" the chain while the chain defrauded Medicare of billions of dollars.  Remember, HCA was, as an organization, charged with vast Medicare billing fraud and charged the biggest fine in medicare history, $1.7 billion. Notably Gov Rick Scott, the then CEO got off Scott-free so to speak. Still it is hard to believe that he knew nothing about the goings on there. And now he sits in the governor's mansion of Florida. Apparently, according to Eskow, HCA facilities ignored accusations that the chain's surgeons were performing unnecessary heart surgeries and fired a whistleblower who reported that.  They had bottom-line targets to hit.  

If Not VP Then JP; Our T-Bob’s Got a Future

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Our Governor has built quite a resume. Aiming initially at a Bain type profile, he has developed an innovative finance background along the way. Balancing budgets by cooking the books, dabbling in high stakes derivatives with the state retirement system, now bringing a whole new opaqueness to accounting.

"Here's the simple truth: our state retirement system is underfunded, and this situation threatens the system's long term solvency."- Governor McDonnell in his 2013/14 budget remarks

Riddle this: Is the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) any healthier today than it was when Bob McDonnell became governor? This may be the most difficult riddle of the Virginia fiscal landscape. Here is a good faith effort to help everyone understand how Bob McDonnell claimed this year's budget recommendation doubled contributions from FY2011/2012.

On the face of it, McDonnell's recommended contribution of $2.21 billion (per year) in total funding to the systems for state employees and teachers does not look like double the $1.55 billion reported contributions in 2011 . It is clearly not double the $2.1 billion contributed in both 2008 and 2009, before he took the helm. But, bear with me.  By lowering the contributions for the year ended 30 June, 2011 from that of his predecessor by half a billion and by assuming the VRS reflected the $620 million IOU as part of the 2011 reported contribution amount, the cash contributions for 2011 are really $0.9 billion. Voila! He has "doubled" the fiscally irresponsible contribution his administration ponied up to VRS in 2011.

"The bottom line is that it's not going to affect the long-term health of the [VRS] fund because it's being paid back with interest." - Governor McDonnell discussing the $620 million funding shortfall on WNIS in September 2011