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LJWorld.com weblogs Elections 2014

Wolf earns big money from government health care programs he criticizes

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Dr. Milton Wolf and the medical practice he works for received more than $1.4 million in 2012 and 2013 in reimbursements from the very government-run health care programs that he criticizes in his campaign, according to Medicare and Medicaid billing records.

Wolf, a radiologist based in Johnson County, is also a Tea Party-backed candidate in the upcoming Republican primary for U.S. Senate, where he hopes to unseat incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts.

Wolf, also a distant cousin of President Barack Obama, has made opposition to the Affordable Care Act, as well as other forms of government-sponsored health insurance, a centerpiece of his campaign. Last year, before formally announcing his candidacy, Wolf published a book titled "First Do No Harm: The President's Cousin Explains Why His Hippocratic Oath Requires Him to Oppose ObamaCare."

In that book, Wolf is highly critical of all forms of government intervention in the health care marketplace, including Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly. Of Medicare, he writes:

"New layers of bureaucracy and taxes were established to administer the program and coerce compliance. Patients and providers who wished to maintain their freedom from this government coercion faced even higher taxes and other financial penalties, which overall had the confounding effect of increasing private health care costs and decreasing the ability of many patients to afford it. This created a vicious circle of swelling rolls of government dependents and fewer people left to pay the bills."

According to Medicare data made public last week, Wolf personally received $101,001 in reimbursements from Medicare in 2012.

Additional records for both Wolf and his medical practice, Alliance Radiology, that would also cover 2013 have not been made public, despite a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Journal-World in February.

Congress established Medicare in 1966 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" initiative. Within the same bill was another provision establishing Medicaid, a joint state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

Wolf and Alliance Radiology have also received substantial reimbursements from Medicaid in both Kansas and Missouri.

During 2012 and 2013, the Missouri Medicaid system paid $1.374 million to Alliance Radiology, which is based in Shawnee, while it paid Wolf himself $1,447.54.

Over the same period, the Kansas Medicaid system paid Alliance Radiology $165,631.29, according to officials at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Wolf himself did not receive any reimbursements from Kansas Medicaid.

Wolf's campaign did not respond to phone and email requests for comment on the reimbursement records.

Comments

Bob Forer 8 months, 1 week ago

Hardly earth shattering news, as the hypocrisy of the far right is a given.

Richard Heckler 8 months, 1 week ago

It is quite obvious that like Sam Brownback this man Milton Wolf works for the Koch Political Empire and the ALEC Political Party NOT for Kansas. The Wolf positions AGAINST medicare and medicaid plus other remarks cement my speculation. The fact that he has been selected to run against Pat Roberts is another indicator. I would never vote for either Wolf or Roberts.

Sending the same thinkers back will never improve the quality of life for Kansas.

Lions share of congressional delegation of Kansas works for the Koch Political Empire and ALEC otherwise they would have been replaced.

Meet Aegis Strategic, the latest affiliate of the Koch brothers’ political empire.

The consulting firm plans to handpick local, state, and federal candidates who share the Kochs' free-market, limited-government agenda, and groom them to win elections. "We seek out electable advocates of the freedom and opportunity agenda who will be forceful at both the policy and political levels," the company notes on its website.

Aegis says it can manage every aspect of a campaign, including advertising, direct mail, social media, and fundraising.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/koch-brothers-candidate-training-recruiting-aegis-strategic

Eric MacDonald 8 months, 1 week ago

So, he is a doctor providing care to his patients without discriminating against them because of the form of insurance they have or government support they rely on. I think to advocate against ones own financial interests could be considered honorable. I don't know Dr. Wolf and I'm not sure whether or not I agree with him on any or all issues but I certainly don't agree that he is hypocritical on this issue. He has clearly defined his opposition to the Affordable Healthcare Act and other government run health "insurance" programs. He has entered the political fray in order to effect change to something that he believes is in need of change. The voters will decide. To try to minimize him by calling him a hypocrite or any other name for that matter will only gain points with the uninformed voter potentially. It will not advance the very important debate on the federal government’s never-ending encroachment into the private sector or the private lives of individual citizens.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 1 week ago

But what's his plan? The ACA may not be perfect, but no one was even trying to come up with a solution for what we had before. Vouchers are not the answer. It will only make insurance companies even richer. Tax credits. That would mean you would have to find the money first to pay for the care, so you could get the tax credit. How would that help a poor person? Where is there plan?

Bob Forer 8 months, 1 week ago

If ihe thinks it is wrong, he shouldn't take the money in the first place. No different than all the "family values" republicans being caught with their pants down.

John Graham 8 months, 1 week ago

Before one can issue any statement about hypocrisy one best understand how most radiologists' medical practice work. Most radiologists have contracts with a hospital, other medical practices or medical facilities to read the radiology studies, all of the studies. The radiologist doesn't have the luxury of reading only private insurance studies. They would have to read studies paid by Medicare, Medicaid plus whatever other insurance the facility accepts. A family practice doctor or internal medicine doctor in many instances may decide not to accept patients with Medicaid or Medicare but radiologists, anesthesiologists, ER physicians and pathologists are in a type of practice that typically doesn't allow such an option.

For those that want to call Dr Wolfe a hypocrite for complaining about ACA while accepting Medicare/Medicaid payments, the same argument would mean that any government employee critical of the government would a hypocrite.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 1 week ago

Maybe he is planning to open a chain of mortuaries. That would make up the lose of money he gets from Medicare, as there would be an increase in deaths.

Sam Crow 8 months, 1 week ago

Come on Dorothy. You can do better than that..

Greg DiVilbiss 8 months, 1 week ago

I do not see any hypocrisy here, he is working within the system as it exists.

I know nothing about Dr. Wolfe but this headline is clearly written to create a controversy where none exists.

So is the author saying that he should not have taken care of these patients? What would the headlines be then?

"DR. REFUSES TO TREAT MEDICARE PATIENTS"

Sam Crow 8 months, 1 week ago

This article is a total hit piece and Hancock should be embarrassed for writing it.

Nationally, Medicare plus Medicaid account for 41% of the total healthcare expenditures. In his specialty, I would hazard a guess the number is higher due to the type of procedures that are done. After all, radiologists dont treat the flu.

Physicians deal with Medicare issues as part of their life. They know the problems with it much better than the laymen who read about it.

There are many things to legitimately criticize Wolf on politically.

But seeing Medicare patients is not one of those things.

Larry Sturm 8 months, 1 week ago

Maybe if Dr Wolf is so against these things he should close his business and get a job with contractor digging ditches for $7.25 per hour.

Greg Cooper 8 months ago

The real issue here is that the good doctor knows that the ACA is not going anywhere, but sees a perfect non-issue to run on that so many of the eneducated, unaware right see as an issue.

Taking the money is, indeed, a hypocritical act hiding behind the Hippocratic oath. If the doctor does not want the money (which, according to his Tea Party brethren, will never materialize, anyway) then he should stand by his principles and not accept any ACA insurance. He has that right, and, indeed, in his particular case, the duty to stand up and reduce his income.

Anybody see where this is leading?

John Graham 8 months ago

Fine then every state employee that complains about Brownback should refuse their pay.

Greg Cooper 8 months ago

That is quite a non sequitur. As if you need it, here is the difference: The good doctor has a choice and the state worker has no voice. Apples and oranges make great salads but terrible arguments.

John Graham 8 months ago

The state employee can quit and find another job, admittedly not easy. It is also not easy for the doctor to refuse to accept any ACA, Medicare and Medicaid money. By refusing to accept any such payments would result in him killing his practice thus he would need to find another line of work. Not as different from the state employee as you would like everyone to believe. You apparently don't understand how a radiologist's practice works. The statement that he could simply refuse to accept payment from any govt source is not as easy as you suggest and doing so would be the equivalent of the state employee quitting his job.

The doctor accepting govt payments while complaining about govt run healthcare is not appreciably different than the state employee accepting paychecks while complaining about the state run govt. If the state employee can complain why should the doctor be allowed to do the same?

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