1. Truly abominably horrible
2. How the Left does business
The gargantuan political machine is Tammany Hall as envisoned by the greatest financial scammers in the world who have found a way to pick the bones of the massive socialist system they’ve built up. One reason the Left is dominant is because while conservatives are funded by donors, donors, even guys like George Soros, make up a small percentage of the funding of leftist ideology. Most of it comes from taxpayers.
A lot of is diverted in extremely ingenious ways that most people don’t even have a clue about.
Here’s a disgusting, but not atypical example in which money was allegedly diverted from HIV patients and Medicare to push leftist ballot initiatives.
A California state senator has formally asked state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate whether the powerhouse AIDS Healthcare Foundation is fraudulently misusing savings from a federal drug-discount program designed to help poor patients.
The request comes from state Sen. Ben Hueso (D-Chula Vista), who has urged an investigation into the politically powerful organization that has dumped upwards of $60 million into state ballot drives since 2012, according to Hueso’s letter obtained by POLITICO.
The senator’s concerns center on a somewhat obscure federal drug discount program known as 340B, which requires pharmaceutical companies to sell their drugs at steep discounts to participating hospitals and other providers that serve a significant percentage of indigent patients.
The providers, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which operates more than 50 pharmacies nationwide, are then allowed to turn around and charge public programs like Medicaid and Medicare for the standard amount. The providers then use the difference to enhance staffing and provide services to help low-income patients.
In reality, even as intended, this program rips off Medicare and Medicaid, and moves the money over to politically connected lefty institutions.
And, unsurprisingly, the money is moved there because lefty institutions serve as hubs for advocacy.
But the particular brand of advocacy practiiced by AHF is infuriating even other lefties because it impacts the real estate market. And plenty of lefties in SoCal are invested in the market.
But none of the savings reaped from 340B — or virtually any federal grant or funding program — can be used for lobbying or any kind of political expenses.
Lefty organizations are part of a political machine. So that was never going to happen. But AHF is really pushing it.
“In 2006, AHF’s revenue was about $72 million, and in the organization’s most recent audited financial statement, AHF reported pharmacy revenue in excess of $1 billion,’’ according to Hueso’s letter dated June 13. “What is unknown is how much revenue comes from the 340B program.”
AHF spokesperson Ged Kenslea, who was unaware of the senator’s letter, said the 340B savings is used for patient care, HIV and other sexually-transmitted disease prevention efforts.
“We use the 340B funds for their intended purposes,” he said.
Kenslea noted that even with nonprofit restrictions, the organization is “legally permitted to spend a certain percentage” of its overall budget on lobbying, ballot measures and other political activities. “With a $1.6 billion budget, we do not come close to exceeding the threshold that is a legally permitted amount on that regard,” he said.
When you look at the problems with funding Medicare and Medicaid, 340B is one of the holes draining money to lefty causes. And it needs plugging.
The organization in June dropped $400,000 on an effort to put a rent control measure on the 2020 ballot that would affect residential properties over 15 years old, according to the California Secretary of State’s website. That effort will come before voters two years after AHF spent nearly $24 million on Prop. 10, another unsuccessful rent control effort.
Hueso said that an investigation by Becerra is warranted based on AHF’s own statements that the 340B program generates “impressive revenue” for the organization, and that its pharmacy division is “the overwhelming breadwinner” among AHF businesses, allowing AIDS to “advocate in any way we want, and say what needs to be said.”
Hueso in his letter complains that the organization has dumped tens of millions of dollars into measures that have fueled high-priced California ballot wars on a range of issues, a number of them unconnected with health care. Many clearly do not relate to Congress’ intent that 340B revenue be used “to stretch (scarce) federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services,’’ Hueso wrote.
He said the expenditures demand an investigation by the AG as to whether 340B benefits “are being properly applied to California’s most vulnerable populations.”
Beyond AHF, it’s time to take a close look at how money is being diverted from Medicare.
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