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Archive for April 18th, 2011

You’re crooks. And besides, you’re not paying us enough.

Posted by Charles II on April 18, 2011

That would probably be the Culture of Truth distillation of a news story involving Tenet Healthcare and Community Healthcare, had he come across it. Don Jeffrey of Bloomberg:

Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC), after rejecting Community Health Systems Inc. (CYH)’s unsolicited buyout offer, said it sued that company for allegedly overbilling Medicare in admitting patients to its hospitals. Community Health Systems shares plunged.

Tenet seeks to compel Community Health Systems to disclose how it admits patients to hospitals for “financial rather than clinical purposes,” according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today in which Tenet said it filed the lawsuit in federal court in Texas.

Community Health, the largest publicly traded hospital company in the U.S., bid $6 a share in cash and stock, or $7.3 billion, in November to acquire Tenet. Tenet rejected the offer in December, saying it wasn’t “remotely fair.”

As Jonathan Weil, also on Bloomberg says, this is like Snooki of Jersey Shore calling someone else on the cast a trashy boozer:

Grand acts of self-immolation aside, what makes this lawsuit comical is Tenet’s own history of ripping off the government, as well as its own shareholders.

Here’s a company that paid more than $900 million as part of a 2006 settlement with the Justice Department, after the government accused Tenet of fraudulently overbilling the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid programs. (The settlement was structured so there would be no formal finding that Tenet had engaged in illegal behavior.)

Tenet paid a $10 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2007 to settle accounting fraud claims. That was about a year after the company agreed to a $216.5 million class-action settlement with Tenet investors.


And yet Tenet, the third-largest publicly traded U.S. hospital operator, has the audacity to accuse the second-largest chain of running a crooked outfit.

Tenet Healthcare’s board includes that paragon of virtue, Jeb Bush (and, as if to show that the corruption is bipartisan, former Sen. Bob Kerrey). The crooks at Community Health Systems are less well known.

(note: I edited out of Weil’s otherwise reasonable rant a comment that attempted to characterize the euthanasia of patients in New Orleans during Katrina as an example of Tenet corporate culture. The medical staff acted in what they believed was the best interest of the patients. That is precisely not the kind of attitude that Tenet’s corporate culture represents)

Posted in Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, corruption, health care | 2 Comments »

Moneyed Interests: Better to Starve Your Grandma than Raise Our Taxes!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 18, 2011

The countless tens of millions Pete Peterson and many of his fellow billionaires and zillionaires have spent over the decades to promote the destruction of Social Security, combined with the effects of the Citizens United ruling causing Democrats to feel they must suck up to the same rich entities Republicans commonly do in order not to be swamped in all future elections, are giving us obscene spectacles like this:

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said on Sunday the “Gang of Six” senators is “very close” to a deal on deficit reduction, suggesting the plan would impact Social Security that most Democrats have said is off limits.


Asked by host Bob Schieffer to clarify that the group will take on Social Security, Warner said, “Part of this is just math: 16 workers for every one retiree 50 years ago, three workers for every retiree now.”

Senator Warner is spewing Pete-Peterson-promoted irrelevant nonsense. Here’s the truth:

Myth: Social Security is a victim of the aging baby boom, reflected in the ratio of workers to retirees, which used to be 16 to 1, is now 3 to 1, and in 2030, will be 2 to 1.

Reality: Today’s projected deficit has nothing to do with the size of the baby boom or worker to retiree ratios. The 16 to 1 ratio is a meaningless factoid, plucked from 1950, a year when Social Security was expanded to cover millions of new workers. The ratio never influenced policy in the slightest. It is the kind of ratio experienced by all pension plans, public and private at the start when few workers have yet qualified for benefits; the 2 to 1 ratio is meaningful and does translate into higher costs, but those costs were addressed decades ago. Congress has enacted ten significant Social Security bills since 1950. Every enactment has taken into account the baby boom, and each has left the program in long-run actuarial balance. The most recent enactment was in 1983, when the program was in balance through 2057 – the year the youngest boomers, those born in 1964, will turn 93. How social security went from a projected surplus through 2057, when most of the baby boom will be dead, to today’s projected deficit involves a number of factors, mainly related to changes in assumptions about wage growth, productivity and disability rates. The change from surplus to deficit is totally unrelated to the number of baby boomers, as one would surmise. After all, no new baby boomers have been born since 1983.

So why is Mark Warner, who should know better, spouting garbage like the Ratio Myth?

The only answer that makes sense is his desire to rake in the campaign cash from all the rich people and corporations that love the Bush tax cuts and want to keep them — as well as all the rich corporations like GE that through having bought off enough legislators to change the law, legally pay no or nearly no taxes whatsoever. Even for those rich people whose tax obligations haven’t been officially made to vanish, the IRS has been made so weak in their regard as to allow them to skip paying taxes with near impunity.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

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