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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.

Congress

Rand Paul Warns Third Party Will Rise if Republican Senators Vote with Democrats to Convict President Trump

The GOP is crumbling.

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is warning that at least one-third of GOP senators will revolt and leave the party if Republicans join Democrats to convict the president.

This would potentially create the most viable third party in recent political history if Republican leadership is foolish enough to go down this path. Even though he refused to oppose the vote steal last week, Paul claims he and many of his colleagues intend to leave the party forever if the Senate goes through with impeachment.

“I didn’t agree with the fight that happened last week. I voted against over-turning the election,” Paul said while appearing on FOX News on Friday night. “But at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion. If Republicans go along with it, it will destroy the party. A third of the Republicans will leave the party.”

“A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” Paul added. “This isn’t about, anymore, about the Electoral College, it’s about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.”

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Paul made these responses after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) publicly flirted with the idea of voting to convict President Trump.

“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said.

Paul is putting McConnell and the rest of the GOP leadership on notice. This is the line in the sand as far as he is concerned.

“They will destroy the Republican Party. If leadership is complicit with an impeachment or if leadership votes for an impeachment, they will destroy the party,” Paul said. 

“Like I say, I have opposed President Trump when I thought he was wrong, I’ve been for him when he was right. We did a lot of good things throughout the Trump presidency, and impeachment is purely a partisan thing,” he added.

The full segment with Paul and host Laura Ingraham can be seen here:

Big League Politics has reported on the division within the GOP since 10 Republican turncoats in the House join Democrats to impeach Trump for a second time:

Liz Cheney, daughter of Dick, was one of ten GOP House members to vote “yes” on President Donald Trump’s unprecedented second impeachment. Then when some were calling on Cheney to resign over her disgraceful vote, Dan Crenshaw, who voted against impeachment, quickly came to her defense and announced his “full support” for her.

“Let’s get some truth on the record: @Liz_Cheney has a hell of a lot more backbone than most, & is a principled leader with a fierce intellect,” Crenshaw tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “She will continue to be a much needed leader in the conference, with my full support.”

“We can disagree without tearing each other apart,” he added…

Cheney’s vote comes as no surprise. Big League Politics reported on her recent statement in support of Trump’s second impeachment, part of which read: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the President.” For this CNN laughably called her the “conscience of Republicans.”

The realignment that is happening within the conservative movement might result in the destruction of the Republican Party. President Trump may ultimately destroy the GOP swamp.

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