Hey, remember when President Obama crusaded against Medicare fraud and vowed to crack down aggressively on scammers who've bilked the program out of an estimated $90 billion? Like Archie and Edith Bunker used to sing: Those were the daaaays.
While Democrats pretend to protect the elderly and disabled, leaders of the People's Party have pocketed gobs of campaign contributions from fat-cat donors tied to massive Medicare rip-off schemes.
Let's talk some more about Dr. Salomon Melgen, shall we? We now know that the jet-setting Florida eye doctor who flew beleaguered Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., to several alleged sex romps in the Dominican Republic also overbilled the government by $8.9 million for care at his clinic. That's according to Menendez's own aides. They acknowledged last week that their boss met with federal health bureaucrats at least twice to lobby on Melgen's behalf.
"Federal investigators and health-care auditors have had concerns about Melgen's billing practices at various times over the past decade," according to two former federal officials who spoke to The Washington Post. "In part, they have examined the volume of eye injections, surgeries and laser treatments performed at his West Palm Beach clinic."
Now, brace yourselves. A Menendez aide says that while Sen. Sleaze-Bob intervened, he didn't know nuttin' about Melgen being under investigation. Just like he didn't know nuttin' about his longtime aide working for Melgen's port security firm in the Dominican Republic, on whose behalf Sen. Sleaze-Bob also intervened.
And just like he didn't know nuttin' about yet another ride on Melgen's plane in 2008 (exposed this week by the conservative Daily Caller), which he forgot to disclose to the Senate.
Senate Democratic leaders have done nuttin' to prevent Menendez, who also sits on the Senate Finance Committee overseeing Medicare, from playing a prominent role in Medicare reform negotiations while Melgen's Medicare fraud investigation unfolds.
It's all par for the Democrats' conflict-of-interest course, of course. Recently departed Obama health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle raked in millions from her positions on a handful of corporate boards under fire for various regulatory violations, whistleblower complaints and Medicare fraud.
One of the companies for which DeParle served as a director, kidney dialysis empire DaVita, has been plagued by whistleblower fraud allegations for nearly 20 years. These include long-standing claims (many still under investigation or the subject of ongoing litigation) that the company overused the anemia drug Epogen and then billed Medicare for it; submitted fraudulent Medicare claims for dialysis drugs; and forged alleged kickback schemes between doctors and joint ventures.
Another Medicare fraud suspect, the Stryker Corporation, paid nearly $17 million to settle allegations about false claims submissions in 2007. Pat Stryker, liberal heiress to the Stryker fortune, is an Obama bundler and one of the Democratic Party's wealthiest progressives. She was also behind the now-bankrupt Obama green energy boondoggle in Colorado, Abound Solar.
While the Obama campaign (aided and abetted by the lapdog media) viciously smeared Mitt Romney by tying him to Medicare fraud he had absolutely nothing to do with while at Bain Capital, this White House has escaped any scrutiny of its own ties to accused Medicare scammers. Instead, the administration was happy to powwow with Menendez and other Democratic leaders on policy strategy this week.
What did they have to say about Menendez's lobbying on behalf of Medicare exploiter Melgen and the conflict-of-interest cloud stretching from Capitol Hill to 1600 Pennsylvania? Nuttin'.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is [email protected]