Phil Roe votes consistently in favor of Big Government
Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN), who represents the first district of Tennessee, claims to be all about people and not politics. Cong. Roe claims to be conservative, including fiscally conservative. But his voting record in Congress proves otherwise. As Congress and our current president have stomped on the accelerator taking us rapidly closer to $20 trillion in national debt, Cong. Roe has been part of the problem, voting for federal spending out of control.
We the people elected a Republican majority to Congress in 2010, and expanded that majority in the 2014 mid-term elections. But despite that, the Congress passed the Ryan-Murray budget, co-sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), with 169 Republican votes and 163 Democrat votes in 2013. Roe was one of the Republicans voting in favor of the Ryan-Murray budget, which passed by a 332-94 vote.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) called the budget a “terrible plan” and said “it makes promises to the American people that are false. Today the Democrats realized they were right all along, that we would never hold the line on the sequester.” Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) were among the Republicans that voted against the plan, while Roe voted in favor of it.
One terrible provision of the Ryan-Murray budget involved cutting the cost of living adjustments for our retired military veterans, cutting their monthly retirement checks. This reduction in what is owed to the very people who risked so much in service to us, and protecting our country, is entirely unacceptable. And Phil Roe, who talks a good game about standing up for veterans, voted in favor of this cut in their retirement benefits. Phil Roe should be ashamed of having cast this vote. It is one thing for liberal Democrats, who loathe the military as Bill Clinton wrote in the late 1960s to cast this vote, but quite another for one who claims to be a Republican and support our veterans.
Heritage Action, The Club for Growth, and FreedomWorks all opposed the terrible Ryan-Murray budget plan because it fails to cut spending where it needs to be cut, fails to balance the budget, and it fails to enact key reforms needed to reduce government to proper Constitutional levels and balance the budget. Ryan-Murray is a liberal big government at its worst, and Phil Roe voted for it.
After the so-called government shutdown charade in 2014, in which very little of the government was shut down, Phil Roe voted in favor of the gigantic omnibus spending bill that Congress passed after that episode. This was one of many such continuing resolutions, that fully funded big government and Obamacare, that Roe voted for, in direction opposition to the interests of his constituents and the country at large, but in favor of the special interests and K Street lobbyist he dutifully serves in Congress.
Roe voted in favor of reauthorizing BrandUSA in 2014, which is nothing more than a tourism slush fund that uses federal taxing authority to finance profits. Additionally, he voted in favor of T-HUD appropriations in 2012, increasing funds for Amtrak, the Essential Air Service, community development block grants, and other wasteful spending. Roe also voted in favor of the 2011 debt ceiling deal, which increased the debt by $2.4 trillion – the largest increase in American history that undermined GOP unity behind a balanced budget.
It is no coincidence that Roe has a 60 percent liberty score, as compiled by Conservative Review, based on his voting record in Congress. He consistently votes for the big government agenda with Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Paul Ryan. Phil Roe is a big government Republican through and through that votes in favor of big government spending, on behalf of the special interests and his lobbyist friends on K Street just about every time. He represents them, not the voters of his district, contrary to his “people, not politics” political slogan. Roe is all about politics, the politics of serving the Washington DC political establishment, not the voters who sent him to Washington. It’s time for voters to embrace change and send someone else to Congress in Washington. If we don’t change who we elect to public office, we can’t expect anything to change.
Phil Roe Supports Bill That Enables Medicare Fraud
Waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare is rampant, quite regularly hospitals and healthcare providers routinely overcharge the largest federal healthcare program for services provided for patients. The Recovery Audit Contracts (RAC) program has proven to be extremely effective in identifying and rooting out Medicare fraud, but that doesn’t sit well with the hospital industry, that sees the aggressive rooting out of fraud as cutting into their profit margins. As special interest groups do, they turn bought-and-paid-for politicians in Washington D.C. to give them what they want. In this instance, the American Hospital Association, and other representatives of the major corporate hospital groups, want the RAC program gutted.
Politicians like Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Phil Roe (R-TN), along with more than 100 others members of the House and the Senate, are there to dutifully serve the hospital interests, in gutting the RAC program, against the interest of their constituents back home in their districts. Rep. Graves has sponsored, and Rep. Roe and others co-sponsored, the “Medicare Audit Improvement Act,” which is H.R. 2156 in it’s 2015 form, and H.R. 1250 in its 2013 form. Simply put, this bill would gut the RAC program by severely limiting what percentage of billing could be reviewed by RACs, and placing other limits and restrictions on the program. In short, the bill would enable billions in Medicare fraud, and putting more money into hospitals over-charging Medicare for services provided.
By reviewing just a small fraction of Medicare billing, the RAC program had rooted out $8.9 billion in fraud in just one year, and could easily find an estimated $50 billion Medicare fraud if the program was expanded. Not only did Phil Roe not stand up for taxpayers, and his own constituents by advocating the full expansion of the RAC program, he has stood for shutting it down by sponsoring H.R. 1250 in 2013, the earlier version of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Graves, that would all but eliminate the RAC program.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) has spent $33.8 million in the last couple years in lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill against the RAC program. Additionally, the AHA and other groups representing hospital owning corporations have donated more than $4.1 million to politicians, in an effort to buy their votes for legislation like the Medicare fraud-enabling so-called Medicare Audit Improvement Act. The corrupt politicians receiving this money are the likes of Sam Graves and Phil Roe, who support the legislation to gut the RAC program that is so effective at countering Medicare fraud.
The identifying of who supports this legislation says as much about the cronyism and corruption involved as does those who oppose it. Grass-roots taxpayer advocacy groups like the National Taxpayer Union and Citizens Against Government Waste strongly oppose Rep. Graves’ bill because it’s very much in the interests of taxpayers to strengthen the Medicare program and save taxpayer dollars by rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse. Both organizations have urged Congress to defeat Rep. Graves’ bill. The RAC program could save taxpayers anywhere from $50 to $90 billion in Medicare fraud if fully implemented.
Cong. Phil Roe runs for office on the slogan, “people, not politics.” But his support for legislation gutting the RAC program is all about corrupt politics, and certainly not the interests of his constituents, the people that represents, whose primary interest in this issue saving taxpayer money on Medicare rather than lining the pockets of those who profit from owning huge hospital empires. Rep. Roe sides with his cronies in the healthcare industry that own hospitals, in direct conflicts with the interests of the people of his district. That isn’t doing his job in representing the people, that is serving cronyism and corruption.
It’s no coincidence, given how well Rep. Roe represents hospital interests, that the healthcare industry, by industries, ranks first among industries that donate large sums of money to his campaign fund. Between 2013-2014, they donated money than $85,000 to Phil Roe’s campaigns for reelection. Apparently it’s money well spent for needed favors, given that he over-rides the interests of the taxpayers in rooting out Medicare fraud by co-sponsoring the bill to gut the RAC program.
Politicians like Sam Graves and Phil Roe are best that special interest group money can buy. But the voters in their district should retire them and elect someone to represent them, and not the corrupt special interests, in Washington D.C. Voters need to change who they send to Congress, otherwise we can’t expect anything to change. Government in the nation’s Capitol is broken, and we can only fix it by ending the careers of the corrupt bought-and-paid-for politicians like Graves and Roe.
Rep. Sam Graves sponsors Medicare Fraud Enabling Bill
Legislation pending in Congress would gut effective anti-fraud efforts in the Medicare program, alleges the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, EHR Intelligence reports. The legislation “would have a chilling effect on the RAC ( Recovery Audit Contractors) program, one of the government’s few successful initiatives to identify and recover waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare,” EHR Intelligence stated.
Veteran observers of Congress know that vigilance is key. Just when appears the grassroots efforts might have nipped a terrible bill in the bud, it comes back with a vengeance.
Consumer advocates are drawing attention to a bill heavily pushed by the big hospital lobby that would enable Medicare fraud, resulting in billions of additional government dollars wasted on improper payments.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), who is rated a fairly liberal Republican by the Madison Project analysis of his voting record, would gut an audit program that has identified billions of dollars in Medicare fraud at the beck of call of hospitals that would otherwise profit from that fraud.
The legislation, the “Medicare Audit Improvement Act,” (“improvement” here does not mean finding more fraud), already has 47 co-sponsors in the House.
The bill is co-sponsored by a number moderate to liberal Republicans as well as many Democrats, Real Clear Politics reports in listing the co-sponsors. Notably, not a single member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, a group of former doctors in the House who know healthcare well, has signed on.
The legislation targets the “Recovery Audit Contractors” (RAC) program, in which the government pays auditors a commission for successfully identifying fraudulent Medicare payments. Medicare annually issues roughly $50 billion a year in fraudulent payments, according to the Mercatus Institute, which is, for example, about twice the annual Gross Domestic Product of Paraguay.
Healthcare providers are fighting back against the RAC program and support the Graves bill, Forbes magazine reports.
“(T)hey are fighting back in Congress. The Medicare Audit Improvement Act (S. 1012/H.R. 1250), which has bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, seeks to limit the powers of RAC auditors, even impose penalties upon them if they act improperly. These same auditing companies are none too happy about the bill, and claim it will cost the federal government billions if passed,” Forbes reported.
Consumer advocates remind us voters didn’t send them to Washington to enable Medicare fraud. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), is an outspoken conservative who received a cool $1000 donation from the hospital lobby eight days after he signed on as a cosponsor. In fact, a close look at the list reveals numerous lawmakers who received donations very near to the time they cosponsored the bill – as well as many members who will face competitive elections and could really use the cash. Perhaps it’s not to cynical to see that the two are related.
Those payments go to hospitals who are essentially using improper payments to pad their profits, critics of the bill say, and don’t react kindly when meddlesome auditors inform the government those payments were actually illegal.
The hospitals, in turn, have vociferously complained that they are faced with overwhelming paperwork requirements in trying to keep up with auditors’ document requests. Maybe that is worth it if it effectively finds $50 billion in Medicare fraud.
There is something quite interesting about this issue. A top government official recently revealed at a congressional hearing that 51 percent of the hospitals’ appeals of the RAC audits were filed by five hospitals. So, only a small group of hospitals are asserting this is a problem, that they want to be fixed, regarding the RAC audit process.
Medicare fraud certainly is a real issues, as the Inquisitr reported last month, 243 individuals were charges with $712 million in false filings under Medicare. The Attorney General stated that this was the largest ever prosecution of health care fraud. Given the scope of the problem with Medicare fraud, it is understandable that if the RAC program is effective there will be significant opposition to legislation that might gut the program.
Is the Graves bill really a solution to a problem, or perhaps an elimination of a solution that some think is a problem? Consumer advocates and grass-roots activists will ultimately send a message to members of Congress, and it will remain to be seen if so-called Medicare Audit Improvement Act becomes laws or is defeated in Congress. Opponents of the bill clearly see it as an attempt to eliminated an effective anti-fraud program.
[Photo of Cong. Sam Graves from his official portrait via Wikipedia.]
Time to Retire John McCain
Arizona’s Senior Senator for-far-too-long, John McCain, should have been retired by the voters there six years ago. But J.D. Hayworth proved to be a flawed candidates, who ran a weak campaign in that primary, and gave McCain too many openings to portray him as unfit to serve in the office. This year is different, and Republican In Name Only faces a strong conservative challenge from a highly qualified candidate, Arizona State Senator, and conservative champion, Dr. Kelli Ward.
McCain has gone against conservative principles so many times, he should lose the right to even call himself a Republican, not to mention he should have been retired from public office long ago. He has clearly over-stayed his welcome in politics, and should have no business occupying the Arizona Senate seat once held by the Great Conservative Champion, and 1964 GOP nominee for president, Barry Goldwater.
McCain has been ultra-liberal on immigration for years, and has worked tirelessly to give amnesty to tens of millions of illegal immigrants. Contrary to the pabulum regularly offered up by liberals, immigration is not a racial issue; it’s an economic issue. It doesn’t matter what the race of illegal immigrants is, if they are here illegally, they are breaking the law, and they should not be here. The more illegal immigrants we allow into the country, the more unemployed we import. This is the worst possible policy at a time when more than 100 million able-to-work adult American citizens are unemployed because we haven’t had any meaningful recovery from the Great Recession that began in 2008.
And remember the disastrous “too big to fail” bailouts and the TARP and Porkulus spending Bills the liberals and RINOs pushed forward in Washington D.C. at the end of the George W. Bush presidency and even more so during the first term of Barack Obama? John McCain was totally for all of that. Remember the disastrous charade he pulled in October of 2008, when he suspended his all-but-assured failed presidential campaign to go to Washington D.C. to help the liberals and RINOs pass the bailouts? McCain has been on the wrong side of all the major issues in the last decade, and he’s never met a spending or Porkulus bill containing trillions if overspending that he hasn’t voted for as Senator!
McCain was one of 18 RINO senators that voted in favor of the huge government bloated federal budget proposed and supported by the Obama Administration. The budget, which raised the debt ceiling again so Washington could keep spending our children’s and grandchildren’s money out of control even more, was passed by a 64-35 vote in the U.S. Senate, which included McCain and his 17 fellow RINOs voting in favor of it. Including in those 18, were South Carolina Senator and failed presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, the best Senate Majority Leader the Democrats could have, Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the two liberal Republicans from New England, Maine’s Susan Collins and New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, and Alaska’s ultra-progressive liberal Republican Lisa Murkowski. Look up the ratings of these senators on Conservative Review and it is clear they vote with Democrats more often than they do Republicans on budget, taxes, and big government issues. They might as well be Democrats, given how they vote on the most important issues legislated on by the U.S. Senate. McCain himself gets a 35 percent score, and a great of “F” from the Conservative Review Liberty Score.
McCain, who was censured by the Arizona Republican Party in 2014 for being a RINO, has repeatedly smeared 2016 presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, as he did in December of last year. McCain himself was a disaster in 2008 and should never have been nominated, there was no way he could have beaten Obama in that general election. McCain had no conservative agenda to run on, and no vision. He’s a low energy RINO that should have gracefully bowed out of politics more than a generation ago.
Arizona voters can elect someone who will truly represent them, and shake up Washington, and bring a refreshing honesty and conservative principles to Washington D.C. That candidate is Dr. Kelli Ward, and Arizona voters should nominate her in the primary later this summer and retire John McCain.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is high priced, unhealthy, poison
What poison am I talking about? A poison that many don’t realize is one of the most unhealthy and expensive substances that many of you eat or drink every day. This poison costs you at the cash register, on tax day, and in the end in your health insurance bill when the consumption of it makes you substantially, and unnecessarily, less healthy. The poison I’m referring to is called High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS for short. HFCS is used in many foods and beverages as a substitute for regular sugar to sweeten the flavor of many products that we eat and drink.
HFCS was invented in a Japanese laboratory in the 1960s as a sugar substitute because sugar prices were high, and it’s not a natural product at all. HFCS is a highly processed substance made via an extremely complex manufacturing process involving several steps and the use of several enzymes and other substances to process and refine the corn syrup in order to maximize it’s fructose content. In the end, it creates a sweetener that is in some ways sweeter than sugar, but substantially less expensive for food producers than sugar because the HFCS is massively subsidized by taxpayers via the farm policies that support corn growing. Additionally, something our government did to favor HCFS over sugar, in the later 1970s, was to limit the importing of sugar, which raised the price of sugar and made it even less competitive against HFCS. If we stopped subsidizing HFCS through corn subsidies, sugar would likely be as cheap if not cheaper than HFCS.
Due to the subsidies, we pay for the high cost of HFCS when we pay our taxes, that go to corn and HFCS producers. Because a high percentage of corn is grown for the production of so much HFCS (and corn ethanol to add to the gasoline), this creates less of a supply of corn grown for livestock feed and human consumption of corn as food, leading to higher prices for the corn that we eat, and high prices of all the meats that are raised by feeding corn to cows, pigs, and chickens. In short, the subsidies to corn cost us tax dollars, and also costs us more dollars at the cash register at the supermarket in the form of higher grocery prices. HFCS is a bad deal all around for us as consumers, and it’s even worse when health issues regarding it are taken into consideration.
HFCS is also the least healthy form of sugar you can consume. In fact, it is so unhealthy, it should be called Type 2 Diabetes in a bottle, or a can, because it does more to increase one’s risk of insulin resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes, than any other sweetener used in food and beverages. Simply put, there are several forms of sugars, and they very in healthiness, or unhealthiness, by the degree to which they cause your blood sugar to spike. This is what physicians refer to as the glycemic index of a sweetener. Fructose is the worst on this scale, and Dr. Mercola recommends that healthy individuals consume no more than 25 grams of it per day, and those with blood sugar, insulin resistance issues, or any type of Diabetes should consume fewer than 15 grams of the stuff. He explains it here, and also notes that the sweetener that has the highest concentrations of fructose is HFCS.
The reason HFCS is much less healthy than regular sugar is quite simple. Regular sugar is made up of a molecule of glucose tied to a molecule of fructose, and the digestive process of your body separates these, and the glucose is the preferred sugar for your body, while the fructose is processed by the liver into body fat, and when too much of that happens, your blood sugar rises, the body creates more insulin, your blood sugar rises, and you are more likely to gain weight. Over time, this process taking place more due to higher consumption of sugar causes insulin resistance, and ultimately Type 2 Diabetes. No one in immune from this. And consuming HFCS brings about this condition so much sooner since it not only contains a much higher percentage of fructose, but the processing of it separates the molecules of fructose from the glucose. This means the fructose is more readily absorbed and processed, spiking ones blood sugar levels higher and faster, and leading to much more rapid insulin resistance. Consuming HFCS at ANY levels, now much more moderate, is unhealthy!
Not only does HFCS cause insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, but it is also implicated in causing hearth disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and number of other health issues. The stuff is just really incredibly unhealthy, it truly is poison and no one should ever eat or drink the stuff!
You pay for HFCS in taxpayer subsidies, and then in the highest costs of food. The third way you pay for HFCS, if you consume the stuff, over time is in the form of poor health, the limits to the quality of your life that such poor health will lead to, and the costs of your health care for that poor health. Treatment for all those health issues, possibly with expensive prescription medications, surgeries, and other medical treatment will run up gigantic medical bills. Most of us will pay those bills to the insurance companies, the hospitals and doctors, or to the government in taxes to pay for the higher costs of programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Obamacare. The more HFCS consumed, the more we’re all going to rendering to Caesar, and Kaiser Permanente, perhaps, as well.
You can eat and drink HFCS if you wish. Check the ingredients of all the food and beverages you purchase if you’re wishing to avoid it. But if you choose to keep drinking and eating HFCS, you will be paying for it now and in the future in at least three ways financially, and in a major way with poor health. HFCS really is poison. And it would likely go away if we stopped subsidizing it with our tax dollars.