Is Bob Menendez Joking?
Hypocritically claiming he’s fought to protect Medicare & Social Security

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ ─ Following the release of two new TV ads by corrupt, career politician Bob Menendez hypocritically claiming he’s fought to protect Medicare and Social Security, the Bob Hugin for Senate campaign released the following statement:

“Corrupt, career politician Bob Menendez hypocritically claiming he’s fought to protect Medicare and Social Security is a joke,” said Hugin Press Secretary Nick Iacovella. “Democrats and Republicans on the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee severely admonished Menendez for violating federal law and abusing the power of his office for his convicted felon donor ‘best friend’ who stole $73 million from Medicare by blinding patients with lasers, sticking needles in patients’ eyes, scamming seniors, and overcharging his patients for medicine. His hypocrisy on protecting Social Security is also a disgrace. Menendez voted to increase taxes on Social Security benefits. These two ads are nothing more than a last minute, desperate attempt by one of the most unpopular incumbents in the country. New Jersey voters won’t be fooled.”

BACKGROUND:

EXPLOITING SENIORS | “His schemes involved convincing elderly patients on Medicare to undergo macular degeneration treatments that were not medically necessary, prescribing overpriced drugs, and falsifying records. Medicare paid for all services to these patients, resulting in millions of dollars in profit to Melgen. In 2012 alone, he received $21 million from Medicare, the highest of any doctor in the country.” (Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, “Eye Doctor Left Patients Blind, Reaped in Millions from Medicare Fraud,” 01/26/16)

PATIENTS PERMANENTLY BLINDED BY MELGEN | “So, in a terrible twist of irony, patients with relatively healthy eyes like Belcher and Constantine were falsely diagnosed with age-related vision loss. Then they were treated using unreasonable and unnecessary procedures, the results of which led to their actual, permanent blindness. All for the greed of a single man, who used the profits to buy a private jet, an estate in the Dominican Republic, and a yacht, among other lavish lifestyle enhancers.” (Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, “Eye Doctor Left Patients Blind, Reaped in Millions from Medicare Fraud,” 01/26/16)

BLINDED ELDERLY PATIENTS TO DEFRAUD MEDICARE | “His alleged scheme was simple: convince elderly patients to undergo macular degeneration treatments they might not need, treat said patients with expensive drugs, and make Medicare pay for it.” (Jerry Iannelli, “Infamous Eye Doctor Salomon Melgen Left Patients Blind, Lawsuit Says,” Broward Palm Beach New Times, 01/25/16)

SEN. HARKIN (D-IA) TO STAFF: “KEEP TABS ON IT” | “He also wondered about Dr. Melgen’s billing practices. ‘If he’s treating three people and he’s charging three people for three but he’s only paying for one vial, that doesn’t sound right to me, either.’ He said he instructed his staff to ‘keep tabs on it,’ and that was the extent of his involvement.” (Nick Corasaniti, “Tom Harkin Recalls Meeting With Menendez And Melgen, And Not Much Else,” The New York Times, 9/27/17)

TRULY HORRIFIC, BARBARIC & INHUMANE | “Salomon Melgen, who was convicted April 28 of defrauding Medicare, deserves a long prison term for crimes that were ‘truly horrific,’ ‘barbaric’ and ‘inhumane’ and that allowed him to live luxuriously, prosecutors wrote Tuesday. He’s to be sentenced next week in federal court in Florida.” (David Voreacos and Neil Weinberg, Prosecutors Seek 30-Year Sentence for Menendez’s Co-Defendant, Bloomberg,11/29/2017)

LASERING PATIENTS’ EYES | “But soon after Melgen began working at the Aker Kasten Eye Center in 2002, optometrists began voicing concern that every patient Melgen examined was receiving a diagnosis of wet macular degeneration and being zapped with lasers, Aker said. ‘That was what was unsettling,’ Aker this week told a federal jury that will decided whether Melgen bilked Medicare out of as much as $105 million. ‘It seemed there was an epidemic of wet macular degeneration with these patients.”‘ (Jane Musgrave, “‘Top Retina Specialist Extremely Critical Of Melgen In Fraud Trial,” Palm Beach Post, 03/29/17)

MENENDEZ “SORRY” FOR HIS FRIEND | “A lawyer for Mr. Menendez said that the senator was ‘saddened for his longtime friend.’” (Matthew Haag, “Doctor Linked to Senator Menendez’s Corruption Case Is Convicted of Fraud,” The New York Times, 04/28/2017)

CORRUPT PAY-FOR-PLAY POLITICS | “Topping the list is Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, 59, an ophthalmologist from North Palm Beach, Fla., who received $21 million in Medicare reimbursements in 2012 alone. The doctor billed a bulk of his reimbursements for Lucentis, a medication used to treat macular degeneration made by a company that pays generous rebates to its doctors. Dr. Melgen’s firm donated more than $700,000 to Majority PAC, a super PAC run by former aides to the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada. The super PAC then spent $600,000 to help re-elect Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, who is a close friend of Dr. Melgen’s. Last year, Mr. Menendez himself became a target of investigation after the senator intervened on behalf of Dr. Melgen with federal officials and took flights on his private jet.” (Frances Robles and Eric Lipton, “Political Ties of Top Billers for Medicare,” The New York Times, 04/09/14)

Bob Hugin, a Marine Corps Veteran and business leader who has created thousands of New Jersey jobs, is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Senator Bob Menendez. For more information visit bobhugin.com.

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