Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Should Senator Menendez resign?

Just to make sure you know I'm not a blind partisan -- which I hope has been obvious -- Sen. Menendez of New Jersey is unworthy of his office. First let me back up a second to point out that conservative complaints about people defrauding public benefits programs are always about welfare queens in Cadillacs. In fact the main offenders are physicians.

This particular schtickdreck, ophthalmologist Salomon Melden, has been convicted of defrauding Medicare of $190 million. You read that correctly. Along the way, he became BFF with Sen. Menendez, to whose campaigns he contributed $1 million (pocket change to him) and to whom he gave rides on his private jet. Mendendez's spokesman says this all very sad, but it has nothing to do with the Senator. Right.

In fact Menendez interceded in the dispute between Melgen and Medicare. Melgen billed $57m for single use vials of Lucentis, a treatment for wet macular degeneration. Each vial had more than a single dose, and Melgen would use one vial to treat as many as four patients, billing Medicare each time. Medicare later clawed back $8.9m in a case that reached the Supreme Court.

Menendez tried to justify Melgen’s billing, leading to an audience with the then health secretary Kathleen Sebelius. But she told the senator: “The government is not going to pay for the same vial of medicine twice.” Melgen would later agree to pay back another $32m that he billed for Lucentis.
Menendez faces a bribery trial in August. No, I don't want Chris Christie appointing his replacement, and it wouldn't be just since Christie is extremely unpopular and a special election would almost certainly be won by a Democrat. New Jersey law is confusing, but it appears that Christie would not have to call a special election and could appoint someone to serve until the 2018 regular senatorial election. Obviously Menendez intends to hang in there until and unless he is convicted. With the usual legal maneuvering that could get us pretty close to November 2018. But it feels wrong.


Anonymous said...

"Should Senator Menendez resign?"


He's a fucking crook.

Cervantes said...

Yeah probably. But I suppose he has a right to hang on till he's convicted.