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Democrat Attacks on Tom Price Expose Their Own Destruction of Medical Device Industry

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This article by Patrick Howley originally appeared at The American Spectator:

President Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, is facing unfair attacks from a Democratic Party and liberal media hoping to undermine Trump’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The line of attack targeting Price is actually counterproductive for Democrats, because it exposes one of the most insidious aspects of the Obamacare disgrace: the complete and utter destruction of American medical technology research over the last eight years.

Right now Price, the Georgia congressman, is nominated to be Terminator of former President Barack Obama’s disastrous health care law. Price established himself as a bulldog Obamacare critic, and his nomination is no mistake: Few other lawmakers can bridge the interest gaps between doctors, insurance companies, medical industry stakeholders and, most importantly, the American people (the American people usually get left out in that equation). Price has innovative ideas and is associated with groups like the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which has shown willingness to stand up in some cases to the pharmaceutical lobby.

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But Democrats are hammering Price because he owned some stock in medical companies while in office, at the (gasp) same time that he was voting on issues related to health care (which is totally legal).

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Chuck Schumer is aiming an attack on Price and ranking Finance Committee Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden is calling it a “conflict of interest” and “an abuse of position.” Schumer, Wyden, and their press lackeys are focusing on one transaction in particular: Price’s March 2016 purchase of between $1,001 and $15,000 in stock in Zimmer Biomet, which happened to occur one week before he introduced the HIP Act. Zimmer Biomet is a medical device manufacturer founded in 1927 and based in the great town of Warsaw, Indiana.

The HIP Act of 2016 sought to delay, for two years, a change in the way the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pays hospitals for patients’ knee and hip replacement surgeries. The Obama administration wanted to stop paying for each individual medical product and treatment for the patients but instead just gave some bulk payments to hospitals for the entire “knee and/or hip” thing. Those bulk payments, of course, would have amounted to less money for the hospitals and less money for medical device manufacturers. Essentially, CMS was trying to bilk the medical device industry out of money. The HIP Act never actually went anywhere, let alone became law.

“The reality is that everything I did was ethical, above board, legal, and transparent,” Price said in his confirmation hearing Tuesday before the U.S. Senate.

Am I a big fan of lawmakers owning any stock in companies while in office? No, in theory, I am not. But how can Democrats possibly take the moral high ground here? The party that passed Obamacare without reading it offered government-sanctioned monopolies to insurance companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield that get, in some cases, exclusive domain over the insurance plans of entire state populations. The law’s architect, Jonathan Gruber, openly admitted that Obama lied to the American people by saying people could keep their existing insurance plans and that the law actually had some kind of cost-control element to it.

Then the Obamacare geniuses needed to dig up some revenue somewhere, so they imposed an onerous excise tax on American-based medical device and technology manufacturers, costing 33,000 jobs almost immediately and designating more than 100,000 more jobs for the slaughter or for outsourcing, according to a 2014 trade report. Yep, you read that right. The medical device industry, it was decided by the Obamacare geniuses, would bear the brunt of Obamacare’s failures. When Obama took office, the medical device industry — based primarily in states including Massachusetts and Minnesota — was a world leader. It was one of the few world leaders left in the U.S. private sector. Obama did so much damage to it that even Elizabeth Warren wrote to him asking to get rid of the medical device tax.

In Washington, I am a close contact and ally of the medical device industry, which worked with me to expose so much of the economic destruction caused by the Affordable Care Act. I was told by the industry’s leading trade organization that, for all intents and purposes, medical research and development (or “R & D”) was wiped off the table during the Obama years. Companies could not afford to invest in experimental research. Companies could not afford to do the tests necessary to get their products ready for sale. The market stagnated. And when the medical device market stagnates, patients don’t get the products that they need. Case in point: the only company in the world that specialized in orthopedic equipment for children had to cut product development and suspend hiring.

Democrats are trying to make Price look like a corrupt insider for, who, exactly? The medical device industry? The one industry in the entire health care field that actually makes things to help save people instead of doing things to hurt and mislead people? Let’s be clear: If Tom Price owned stock in the medical device industry, then that stock was not living up to its full potential (to say the least) during the Obamacare dark days. Let’s look at what Zimmer Biomet actually does, according to glassdoor.com: “We design, manufacture and market orthopaedic reconstructive products; sports medicine, biologics, extremities and trauma products; spine, bone healing, craniomaxillofacial and thoracic products; dental implants; and related surgical products.”

The monsters!

What Price did was legal. What Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the Democrats did — mandating Americans to buy costly insurance plans as a boon for insurance mega-monopolies and lying to everybody about how it would all go down — was illegal in so, so, so many ways.

If Democrats want to really talk about the medical device industry, about the amount of money that industry has lost, about the countless lives that have been damaged by layoffs, and about the intentional outsourcing of our medical economy to other countries, then they should keep on flogging this line of attack. I can talk about this issue for days… all the way up to Mr. Price’s rightful confirmation.

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Congress

Mad Maxine Says She Has Met Crips and Bloods ‘In The Hood’ with ‘More Integrity’ Than the President

She is off her rocker.

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) made the stunning claim recently that she has met gangbangers from the inner city with “more integrity” than President Donald Trump.

The Congresswoman, who has been ridiculed by the President for having a low IQ, made the comment while appearing on Showtime’s “Desus & Mero.”

“I have worked in some of the toughest communities,” she said in a clip that was tweeted by the hosts Thursday. “I’ve worked with gangs. I’ve worked with Crips, I’ve worked with Bloods. And there’s more integrity in many of these young people in the ‘hood than this man has.”

She also claimed without providing any evidence that the “street player” Mr. Trump has “flirted with gangsters” throughout his history as a businessman and politician.

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“This country cannot tolerate another four years of him,” she said.

The clip of Waters running her mouth about Trump can be seen here:

Waters has angered the populists within her party by suggesting that the big money should have more control over deciding who is the Democrat Party presidential nominee.

“You would have two, three, four at a time in Beverly Hills having dinners,” she said last week. “Some of our contributors who are very rich were holding, you know, fancy parties, trying to accommodate the request for donations and contributions. And so, you know, the conclusion, the thinking is that if we are supplying tremendous dollars to candidates, we ought to have more say.”

“A lot of people have come to the conclusion that it should not simply be Iowa and New Hampshire and certainly they are not reflective of the makeup of this country,” she added.

Previously, Waters has demanded that President Trump be incarcerated and subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because of Ukraine-gate and other “nothing burger” fake scandals.

“I’m calling on the GOP to stop Trump’s filthy talk of whistleblowers being spies & using mob language implying they should be killed,” Waters wrote in a tweet last year. “Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement.”

“But for now, impeachment is the imperative,” she added.

From her words, it is clear that Waters has a delusional view of herself and her partisan crusade to destroy President Trump.

“Most people who have watched me over the past two years know that I am a responsible person who has talked about the Constitution, who has talked about the fact that this President does not respect the fact that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is responsible for basically bugging our electoral system, hacking into the DNC. They know that I’ve been serious about this. I’ve had the courage to stand up when nobody else would stand with me,” Waters said.

Few lawmakers embody the excesses of the Washington D.C. swamp than Waters, who has lingered in Congress for almost three decades.

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