Press Release

Ros-Lehtinen Voted Against Medicare Accountability Banked $180,000 From Special Interests

Released Jointly with the Florida Democratic Party

Miami, FL

Sundays Miami Herald reported billions of dollars in Medicare fraud takes place in South Florida every year

by far the worst record in the nation for Medicare abuse.

In 1998, the largest home health care provider in South Florida was charged with bilking Medicare for more than $45 million in fake services. The companys founder had been a donor to Ileana Ros-Lehtinens campaign for re-election to Congress.

Congress did have the opportunity to fight back against Medicare fraud before it reached crisis proportions, but Ros-Lehtinen voted against allowing Congress to pursue its Constitutionally-mandated oversight role. In 1995, she voted for the so-called Medicare Preservation Act (HR 2421, Roll Call 731, 1995). The Act that Ros-Lehtinen voted for crippled the efforts of law enforcement agencies to control health-care fraud abuse in the Medicare program, according to the then-inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Even then, Ros-Lehtinen voted with the Republican Party line and against the best interest of the people of her district, a pattern that continues almost 15 years later.

Annette Taddeo, Ros-Lehtinens opponent in this Novembers election, responded by saying she was not surprised. This vote does not surprise me. It fits a pattern. For 18 years, Ros-Lehtinen has been claiming to be a moderate, but consistently places the interests of her party above the interests of the people of she is elected to serve.

As Congresswoman, Taddeo says she will work to give every American access to affordable, quality healthcare. She supports allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with the prescription drug companies to get the lowest possible price for Seniors, and she will fight for a prescription drug plan that really works and doesnt just benefit the big drug companies.

It is time for a change in South Floridas leadership, said Taddeo. It is time for a new beginning, where government is transparent and accountable to the people.

Ros-Lehtinen has taken nearly $200,000 in campaign gifts from Big Pharma and HMOs. She has voted to cripple law enforcements ability to control Medicare fraud, and a year later, she simply refused to vote on a bill that was written expressly to stop Medicare fraud in 1996 (HR 3103).

Rather than working to crack down on Medicare fraud, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen instead chose to profit off the people who are stealing millions of dollars from our seniors, said Eric Jotkoff, Florida Democratic Party spokesman. Ros-Lehtinen is either complicit or easily bamboozled, but any way you cut it she has no business representing South Florida in the United States Congress.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry while betraying her constituents, said Daniel I. Medress, Communications Director for, our nations largest progressive political action community, which has endorsed Annette Taddeos campaign. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen cares more about protecting her big money donors than she does about protecting the American people from fraud, waste, and abuse.

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