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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 7, 2013 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered today by our guest chaplain, reverend andrew walton, capitol hill presbyterian church, washington, d.c. the chaplain: let us pray god of light and life, our prayer today
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is simple. may the eternal spirit that embraces all good deliver us from fear. may the hearts, minds, and souls of the women and men of this house of representatives elected to serve the people shall released from fear -- be released from fear into freedom. 8 in greem may they discover and rediscover what is already deep women themselves as humans created in divine image. may deliberation of this day and days to follow be filled with compassion for the millions of people whose lives and livelihoods are affected by these decisions. courage to compromise when necessary to sustain and provide for the well-being of all people. humility to let go of
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ideological convictions when those convictions hinder the to on good and clear vision see beyond narrow agendas for a nation filled with promise to be a beacon of light for all people. men. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from texas, mr. burgess. mr. burgess: please join me in the pledge to our flag and country. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina
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rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, two weeks ago friday, the president called speaker boehner out of the blue to announce he would not negotiate to avoid a shutdown. since then the president's made no plans to negotiate and has hosted one white house meeting to restate his position to not negotiate. clearly this confirms the american people should look at the actions of all officials, not just words. sadly the president says, quote, he has bent over backwards to work with republicans, end of quote. but this is not accurate. this continues his actions different from his words. in february, 2009, the president announced the deficit was unsustainable. then he tripled it. house republicans voted four times to avoid a shut down. house republicans were sincere in their actions. and now he vote repeatedly to save jobs and help families. it's my hope there will be good
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faith negotiations and we can come together to avoid the upcoming unsustainable fiscal crisis by ending the shutdown and addressing the debt limit. in conclusion, god bless our troops and we'll never forget september 11 anti-global war on terrorism. -- and the global war on terrorism. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from oregon seek recognition? >> request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. police bonamici: mr. speaker, today is day seven of an unnecessary and harmful government shutdown. the -- that's hurting millions of americans. speaker boehner called it an epic battle. hundreds of thousands are out of work. federal contractors aren't getting paid. small businesses aren't getting loans. home purchases are on hold. nutrition program are at risk. and speaker boehner said it's time for us to stand and fight. with all due respect, mr. speaker, this is the u.s. house of representatives, it is not a battlefield. it's not time for us to fight. it's time for us to vote.
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our constituents sent us here to get things done, to work together. it's not time to fight. it's time to reopen the federal government. it's not time to fight, it's time to raise the debt ceiling and pay our bills. it's not time to fight, it's time to get our budget conference committee to work, something we have been asking for months. we can do it today, mr. speaker. it's not time to fight. it's time to vote. it's not a surrender. it's the solution. it's not time to fight. it's time to vote. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? >> ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. the speaker: mr. speaker, my colleagues, over the last 10 days we have been through quite a bit. sent four bills to the united states senate to keep our government opened and to protect the american people from the harmful effects of obamacare. each of these requests was denied by the united states senate.
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after the fourth effort, we asked to go to conference and sit down and resolve our differences to keep the government opened and to provide fairness to the american people under obamacare. the senate democrats once again said no. the president had us all down to the white house last week. only to remind me that he was not going to negotiate over keeping the government opened or over the looming need to increase the debt limit. the president's refusal to negotiate is hurting our economy and putting our country at risk. this morning, a senior white house official said that the president would rather default han to sit down and negotiate. really? the president -- i'm going to say this again. a senior white house staffer this morning said that the president would rather default on our debt than to sit down and negotiate. now, the american people expect when their leaders have
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differences, and in a time of crisis, we'll sit down and at least have a conversation. really, mr. president, it's time to have that conversation before our economy is put further at risk. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from hawaii seek recognition? ms. hanabusa: unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. congress sa: today as -- today as congress focuses on the shutdown, we look at our 12th year in afghanistan. ms. gabbard: the harsh reality and hell that is war seem a distant memory for most. meanwhile, we have over 54,000 troops serving in afghanistan today. through all of our -- to all of our troops, thank you for your service and the sacrifices you and your families have endured.
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2,143 u.s. service members have been killed in afghanistan to date. leaving behind families who will never again feel their warm embrace. let us honor those who have served and continue to put their lives on the line and do our best to bring them home. let us remember their great sacrifice and setaside the pettiness in our own lives that divides us and let us remember their great service and ask ourselves constantly how best can i be of service? thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to rise and address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. burgess: mr. speaker, yesterday the administration finally began to acknowledge what many have been saying for some time. health is having major problems. the administration spent most of last week boasting about the high number of visitors to the federal site, but it conveniently left out a very
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important statistic. how many people actually were able to purchase insurance. unlike the initial claims that the sites were crashing because demand was so high, it is clear now that the exchanges were failing because they appear to have major structural flaws. according to technicians, the people at the "wall street journal," the site appears to be built on sloppy software foundation. to make matters worse, even the information website collected may be useless thanks to a security problem that corrupted a lot of the data. according to one estimate, 99% of the applications submitted may be facing data problems that will stop these applications. members of the administration need to come to the energy and commerce committee and start telling us the truth about this information architecture. taxpayers have spent money, a lot of money, to build these sites. if they have been sold a pig in a poke they need to in a moment i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the
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gentleman from north carolina seek recognition. >> mr. speaker, i seek unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, my office continues to be flooded with calls from north carolinians who are frustrated with the government shutdown. mr. holding: the house and senate clearly disagree on how to proceed, but one thing we can all agree on is supporting our men and women in the military. last monday congress passed and president obama signed the pay our military act. this bill ensures that our service men and women and their civilian counterparts are paid during the shutdown. unfortunately, the administration delayed using this authority to pay all members of the military and dodd civilians -- d.o.d. civilians. meaning millions who should be working were furloughed. our service men and women deserve our deepiesest respect and gratitude. these men and women bravely serve their country and their paychecks should not be
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jeopardized. mr. speaker, i urge the administration to also adopt the funding bills passed by the house last week, americans want to get back to work and don't want to see the government play politics with their paycheck. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. pursuant to clause 12-a of wrule 1, the house will stand in recess subject to the call of the chair.
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current officials will testify along with several doctors. that will be live at 3:00 eastern. we need some fundamental overhaul of how the government works. because thisesday is market day. write it into town to vote on tuesday. is ludicrous. we have lost 25 seats because this is how many fit in the building despise that if aftra has quadrupled. are due for ams dramatic overhaul. togress will not be able navigate out of the current cul- de-sac they have gotten themselves into.
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unless they embrace the changing nature of our society and world and reimagine what government might look like in the digital age. >> reshaping power and politics. clacks they met for the first time. she was a teacher living in a dormitory. he was a tenant in the boarding house. >> this is the bedroom. she would have looked at and seen calvin across the courtyard. she would have put her camera thathis window to signify the parlor room was available to beat up in. they would meet up and be able to talk and have some time together. 30s,te him being in his
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they still have to abide by the rules. they needed to meet somewhere where they were supervising while they were on campus. >> meet grace coolidge. also on c-span radio and c- >> steven beshear thursday criticized members of congress for opposing the house -- health care law. he also spoke about the techies effort to implement the law. coverage begins in january. this is 50 minutes. >> thank you very much. we have a great crowd here today. i see most of you were for the federal government. you needed something to do. i want to thank bruce and the national journal for inviting me
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to speak on this for him on this very timely and important topic. say thank you to be presenting sponsors, both of whom have kentucky connections. haveld wil lue connect anywhere. the connection we have with the american medical association is special. is dr. ardis holden. a kentucky. the great doctor there. we are very proud of him that she is with the american medical association this year. >> i am here today to talk about how and why kentucky both
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proudly and aggressively is leading the nation in implementing the affordable care act. know what you're thinking. states red states kentucky seems like an odd choice to be embracing an closely identified. how is it they were one of the first state to have our exchange certified and is the only to expand medicaid and develop its own state-based exchange. quite honestly, it is because the conventional notions that most of you have about kentucky are wrong. mekentucky's governor, let tell you a few things about my state. people and the national media
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have been slow to recognize. ago aample, 25 years court case challenging the adequacy of our school system led to an inspiring top to bottom overhaul of our schools. it's all kentucky emerge as a national leader in innovation and reform. office in 2007, i have accelerated that momentum as we have adopted a new system. kentucky became the first date in the state to adopt a national common core academic standards. kentucky became the second state in the country to adopt the next generation science standards. we just raise our dropout age from 16 to 18. 24 spot in two years.
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we moved from 34th in the country to 10. of business, kentucky has also been recognized for our aggressive efforts to emerge from the global recession a lot sooner than most states. 2012 we rank number two for job growth rate over the previous year. number three in automobile production. a record for exports in 2012. we are on track to better that this year. number three in growth. any factoring gdp. manufacturing gdp. kentucky is leading the charge on the implementation of the affordable care act. disconnecthuge
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between the rank partnership whose companies are companies.eaguered governorsy several and republicans like arizona, , rick snyder. they see it not as a referendum on president obama but as a jewel for historic transformation. kentucky, a state whose collective health has long been her and us we see this as a huge opportunity. , we see this as a huge opportunity. kentucky ranks among the worst if not the worst announce every
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major health category from to cancer deaths. those rankings are not from this year our last year. they have not changed much since they started keeping rankings many years ago. we continue to make progress. incremental improvements are not enough. we need big solutions with the potential for transformational change. we are literally going to change the course of kentucky's history through the affordable care act act. makehe first time, we will affordable health insurance available to every single citizen and the commonwealth of kentucky. right now 640,000 people in kentucky are uninsured.
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that is almost one in six kentuckians. many of these uninsured people work or they did before the session took many of their jobs away from them. either nots available to them or simply unaffordable. these people people are not a group of aliens from a distant planet. they are the former on the tractor, the substitute teacher grading papers, the seasonal construction worker, the new graduate at a new high-tech startup. the grocery clerk. we go to church with these people. we sits within and bleachers on friday night and watch our kids played baseball and football and
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soccer and basketball. some of these folks are family members. coverage puth their health and their financial security at risk. dice day they rolled the and just hope and pray that they do not get sick. they choose many times between food and medicine. they ignore checkups that would catch serious conditions early. they put of doctors appointments hoping that a condition turned out to be nothing. they live knowing that bankruptcy is just one bad diagnosis away. their children go a times without checkups that focus on immunization, preventative care. if they have diabetes, asthma, infected gums are some chronic
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condition, it remains undetected and untreated. kentucky as a whole, that negative impact is very similar. increase health care costs, decreased worker productivity. lower quality of life. attendance.hool this will help us address those weaknesses. the 600 40,000 uninsured kentuckians, 300-8000 of them, most of the working poor will be covered when we increase legibility guidelines to 138% of the poverty level. medicaid is a good deal for us. when i made that decision, i had two factors to consider. one was easy. is it the right thing to do. youryou have 640,000 of
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people without insurance coverage and you have an opportunity to do that for them, to me it was the morally right thing to do. of thatother part decision to ponder. can we afford to do it. have a fiscal responsibility as kentucky's governor to make sure i do not make a decision that will put our states in harm's way. hired two independent groups, , thewaterhousecoopers university of louisville's urban institute. i said look at this and tell me the numbers. they took about six months. they came back, they looked me in the eye. they said you cannot afford not to do this. they concluded that expanding 15.6aid would inject billion dollars into kentucky's economy over the next eight years.
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it would create almost 17,000 new jobs. it would turn costly mandates into 802 million budget impasse. it would impact them from the impact of cuts. kentuckians are the ones that will be able to access affordable coverage, most with the discount through the health benefits exchange. the online insurance marketplace kentuckyave named health care connections. as a matter of fact, of those 642,000 kentuckians 92% of them were either be eligible for expanding medicaid or eligible for a premium subsidy. have insisted over and
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over again that the affordable care act will never work. the fact show differently. a similard that approach put into effect by mash massachusets -- by is working. it is working in kentucky. let me give you some rather astonishing numbers. we went live october 1 with their health benefits exchange. we got the first contact on that midnightt 12:01 october 1. it has been overloaded ever since. in the first 48 hours of connect, more than 118,000 visited thatsitors website. more than 100,000 -- 109,000 applicants got prescreened will.
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8300 completed their applications. in addition, under 20 businesses started their application process. demonstrates to all of us not blinded by partisan politics a pent-up , a desperate need for affordable health insurance and kentucky.wealth of as for the naysayers, i personally am offended by their partisan gamesmanship. time,ontinued to pour money, and energy into overturning or defunding the affordable care act. they have invested that same level of energy in trying to improve the health of our citizens.
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while they are playing their political games, the families of my state are suffering. we need leaders who focus on helping people, not retaining political power. when leaders motivated not by short-term political but a but five long-term progress for this country. this is the law of the land. for those more worried about political power than kentucky's families, i have a simple message for them. get over it. get over it. get out of the way so that i can help my people. kentucky, we cannot afford to waste another day or another life. thank you.
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[applause] you can sit right here. that is fine. thank you for that. you mentioned mitt romney. he won 61% of the vote in your state and 2012. there are very few states where met romney 161% of the vote where they are their own exchanges. you may be the test case to see whether active aggressive implementation of the affordable care act will be accepted in a red state. what do you see? >> the numbers tell the whole story. we have the naysayers out here. they have been saying this will be a train wreck. they are on the wrong train. is a huge so far success. we have beencky
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hearing this stuff over and over again for a year. lot folks have not heard a of positive input. on 1201 midnight, it lit up and it has been lit up ever since. you have hundreds of thousands of people that are anxious to find out about this. message is simple. -- you do president not have to like the president. it is about you and your families. you have an opportunity here. it is not cost you a dime to go on that website to call our find out number and about this. i just guarantee you this. if you do that you will come away positively surprised. >> you have a lot of people in that are pretty conservative culturally and skeptical of the federal government.
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do you think there will be a cultural or ideological resistance for signing onto this especially since it is known as obamacare among people who are eligible? you are testing this the way you see it in oklahoma or .eorgia appear i morning a caller this on a c-span program. he just raid in ranted about the whole thing. i have not even looked. i said this at all i do is a look.e youtube will you find anything good for your family shame on you. fewucky is one of the places left or democracy still works. i have a democratic house. i'm a democratic governor. we can sit down for the most
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part and act like adults. and actually get things done. [applause] my message from the time i ran in 2007 was pretty simple. i said i really do not care whether it is a democratic idea or a republican idea. if it is a good idea we ought to sit down and make it happen. that is the way i have governed. i am hoping that most of our folks, whether they are democrats or republicans are really going to give this a look. so far the numbers say they will. >> the way you are able to implement this is unique. it is extremely unique. it was not a question of the legislature. one house embracing. you are able to do this unilaterally or executive action. talk about how you were able to pursue both your own exchange and the medicaid expansion. >> fortunately years ago, the legislature delegated to our delegated the
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responsibility for medicaid benefits. all we have to do is issue an administrative legislation and expand those benefits and everything we needed to in order to reach that 130 eight percent of the federal poverty level. for the exchange, i issued an executive order setting up the exchange. i was sued by some that said i did not have the authority. i one. -- i won. >> that was on the establishing of the exchanges. >> correct. >> now it is going to the supreme court. get a ruling? >> most of the time the cases drag on and on. it will be well down the road. well down the road, if you are term limited. you are in your final term.
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you are pretty confident you can protect this over the next several years. in 2015, kentucky will elect a new governor. after you have several years under your belt if there is a republican governor and legislature, do think this'll be vulnerable to reversal or will it have established routes to deep to pull out? >> i think the roots will be tuesday -- too deep. wereu look at the areas most of the uninsured live, many of them live in our rural areas that are represented by republican legislators. coverage,have this and my guess is that in two or three years we will get most of those 600 40,001 way or the other, either through the exchange or any medicaid i do not think politicians are going to try to take it away. >> you mentioned the pent-up demand, the flood of interest in the first 48 hours.
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what is your sense of the report and how it is working and your message for other states as they have gotten out of the gate? website company that puts these things up and ask them. they will tell you you do not do this without glitches. particularly not on this big volume that we are having. bombs on the first s on the first day but we got them fixed within six hours. we have months to get everybody signed up. we have longer than that. that is when the penalty start kicking in. plenty of time writing to get everybody signed up. >> the coverage on day two is
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that many of the state are ironing out their problems and getting good reviews in places like california and nevada. the big expression so far seems to be the federal site that is handling for about half the states that are chosen not to create exchanges. how worried are you about that? the federal government's ability to handle that task? >> i am glad we did our own. defense, i do not think they had any idea what 37 states were just going to default limit the government do it. they have had a real job to get that done. they will get it done. kathleen sebelius is a great secretary of that cabinet. she is a former governor. that has been so important to the governors out in the country. she understands how to get things done and how to work with us. they have been great in helping us get over all of the glitches and all of the hurdles that we
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have to and get our exchange ready to go. >> how long do they have to get this together before it starts creating larger questions about the program? >> i do not think their are any artificial deadlines. it will get better every day. people are going to get on there. there is a pent-up demand for this out there. i know the politicians appear are doing their daily grandstanding and what to say this is a failure. this is going to be a success. really want health care coverage. they're going to keep at it until they get that health care coverage. i will make a prediction. in another year or two they will look back and say what was all this yelling and screaming about? the folks out here are not going to have much credibility. >> one of the expectations going into this was that people who had health issues or were concerned about their family security would find a way to get on the exchanges.
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they know they need health care. you need not only those people to sign-up up, you need younger people who do not necessarily feel they need health care. have thaton is you big initial surge of interest. how do you feel about the status to reach out to people who may be less motivated? thing we did is we started this months ago. we have been on college campuses. tohave been reaching out young people and middle aged people that looks like me. sure they understand and get their interest up. i have been surprised. i just read and a total evidence. we have young people that are going on there and saying i am 20 one. i go to school. this is the first time i've ever been able to have health care coverage. for at age, it is more
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catastrophic type of illness. they do not feel like the need anything. i have been interested in more than i expected initially. >> i do not know the policies cover hangovers. of aspects. have you been able, whatever the outreach, the affordability is obviously critical for those young people about whether they will take a relatively minor penalty for not complying with the individual mandate. where are you on affordability? >> i feel real good. i was reading the same stuff that everybody else was months ago. these ratesons were are not going to be very good. then it finally dawned on everybody that the rates do not mean very much. all the news media wanted to compare rates from one state to another.
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that is just the sticker price. interested in is what is it going to cost me? when i mention that 92% of our uninsured are going to be covered by medicaid or get a premium subsidy, most of those in their going to go "wow." that is what is going to make this go so well, to educate people about what will really come out. >> what is participation by insurers? >> we have three insurers if you are in every region of the state. then for the small group, that is for the individual market. for the small group market i think we have four. four different levels of plans and all the stuff that goes with it. i feel good about the diversity.
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not had a lot of competition. we have had two or three companies. that is about what we have now. everybody has at least two companies in the region of the state. >> one concern is the effect on employer-provided care, whether it will encourage them to receive. this is declined every year since 2000. this long predated the affordable care act. the kentucky health issue poll earlier this year noted that you have seen a significant retrenchment and employer- provided care. there is an announcement that it was no longer going to cover spouses that they have coverage available on their own through work. as you talk to employers, what do you think this means? more of be a problem if them move their employees onto the exchanges? >> most are just like individuals out there.
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isy're not quite sure what involved. we are having lots of small business now coming onto the exchange. it is in thing about spite of the web of misinformation that has been out employers dolong, not have to do anything if they do not want to. if you are a real small business and you have 25 or fewer, go check. there are tax credit available. if you want to provide insurance, e maybe able to do it at a very affordable rate. accounts of the ups announcement, i checked on that. what they did was say that for their managerial level people. if not for all their full-time people. it is only for spouses that can arty get coverage someplace else. businessestually all
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are going to be responsible. most businesses understand that it might cost me a dollar more here to get health coverage to my people but if it improves my desk productivity i will make more in the long term. many do you expect to bring in three medicaid or the exchange? >> we will cover 300-8000 of them with the expansion. >> what will be the impact on the medical infrastructure you have a bringing and that many people who are uninsured? to handle this many new people who accessing more health care? >> i have heard that concern. it is a legitimate concern. we had the same we passed medicare. it all worked. this will work also.
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build in they will come really applies here. all the professionals adjusted. it gave a lot to people more employment over the next few years. that is what is going to happen with the affordable care act. allink you're going to see of the little turf protection things that a lot of different health professionals have right now. i think you're going to see all of them able to do a little more than they did in the past. >> do you feel you have the health care capacity to handle a big influx of people who are wanting to see doctors? are these going to be waiting lists? thee're going to have capacity. they are not going to drop on us tomorrow. it is going to take years and more for us to actually pull all of those folks in. the system will adjust. talked about the
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opportunity of bringing in so many people who have previously lacked insurance. you said the affordable care act is our historic opportunity to address this weakness, ranking near the bottom of so many indicators. it changed the course of the future of this commonwealth. this is a very sweeping statement. how do you think life and kentucky will change. for individuals there will be better access to health care. what will change for the state itself that you can reduce the uninsured? >> this is not going to happen next week or next month or next year but over the course of a generation it will make a huge difference and kentucky. it will make a huge difference in our workforce. a healthyave workforce you do not have the absenteeism. you not have people incurring big cost that reflect on the employer. they are more productive. it is going to help us attract
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even more business. i cannot wait to compete with some of the states. it is going to put us at a great situation. really hope they do it. their people deserve a just like we do. they better get smart and do it. it is going to give us a huge advantage in terms of attracting business and new jobs to our state. let's face it. the quality of life the people is intangible but is something that is meaningful to most people. i want everybody in our state to have the comfort and confidence that they will not go bankrupt tomorrow if they get sick. they can take their kids to the doctor. they can take them to the dentist and get their teeth filled. going tocky, that is be a major change for us. i'm looking forward to it.
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the politicaland arena for a wild, since the reagan years. look like it. you were the lieutenant governor. what we're seeing now is pretty extraordinary. arehly half the states trying to implement this law on the medicare expansion and the other states are in a sitdown they are not participating. heavy ever seen a convergence of that magnitude? how does it unfold? >> in the long haul, every state will do this because the people will demand it. they see it worked. those people over there have health insurance. how come i do not have that? i think the pressure will build. they will be forced to do it.
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i have never seen the dysfunctionality and government that we see right now, particularly here in washington. they act like a bunch of nine euros and a food fight in the cafeteria. , we are paying them to do this. that is the amazing thing. it is time to act like some adults. we often hear from governors that washington is much more partisan. you look at these states. virtually every state with the republican general pursuit to overturn the law. the vast majority are not participating. is this so wrapped up an ideology that it will be difficult for some of the states that might benefit substantially from expanding coverage to do so? >> the washington
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dysfunctionality has seeped down to some of the states. we are not in meaning from it. we have been fortunate that i have reached out to both sides of the aisle. i said look, most of the stuff is more important than democrats or republicans. if we do this right, everybody will benefit. are kentuckians first. i think they will be forced to be there. they are down to where the rubber meets the road. they will be able to see what their friends and neighbors are getting. i think is that grows, i think the pressure will build to force the people to do it. >> is there any indication in would becomeate willing to accept this? will they attempt to vote to
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overturn? >> we may have some symbolic votes. -- a house that would not pass anything like that. they have to try to satisfy their constituencies. i will tell you. many of the republicans in our beginning to come to the realization that these real s are notg wingnut the majority of the party. they are not even a big minority. they are allowed. they yell and scream every day. some of them have arty run against some of these folks. they lost. that realization is starting to come around that we do not have to play that game. i understand. we have some great republican legislator doors. -- legislators. i get along with them. we are able to sit down behind closed doors, talk about anything. we trust each other. we know we will not walk out and
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drop each other in. is the way we were able to get stuff done. at least in kentucky, there may be some symbolic stuff done. for the most part we're going to keep moving our state forward. they love it just like i do. you had a rather remarkable encounter a few weeks ago. this is like a required stop. you made a case for the law with them sitting there very directly. do the any minds were kay -- changed in the audience are the stage? this is why you chose to directly confront them. >> it was a lot of fun. [laughter]
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i did it for two reasons. suchs that there has been a delusion of misinformation put out there by those people who are against this they do not want to talk about the facts. they want to say nobody wanted. they need to know about it. thousands of farm families out in kentucky that i am sure that i have never had health insurance because they cannot afford it. their kids have never had it. i wanted to make sure that they started thinking about this so that when this event happened on october 1, that they would get online. they would start checking it out. i am sure that is happening now.
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as i say, it was also fun. >> is there any way for you to , you mentioned the daily dws -- the daily news -- eluge. do they have high levels of uninsurance? >> it is too early to have figures. we are moving so fast right now and keeping up with the numbers. orave been on a call-in show two since we opened up the exchange. i have had several calls from people in rural areas. my fellow said the pastor at church went online last night and said he is excited because he and his family are going to be able to have health insurance for the first time. that is what this is all about. when you get down to it, that is what it is about. folks in our communities that have never had insurance that are now going to be able to have
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it and they will have a better quality of life for it. that is what excites me about this whole thing. that is the change you will see. >> i will first bring in the audience. >> i have a question. i hope you'll consider running for national office. i was very impressed. [applause] >> who would want to be in this zoo? , i'mwanted to ask surprised no one mentioned the cost savings from having preventative care as opposed to people showing up in emergency rooms. i wonder if you could address that. >> that is a big part of what this is about. for several years, we like everybody did have a fee for service approach. that was great for the providers but basically, what we ended up in was a cycle of we will do whatever we want. we will send you the bill.
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we wrote them a check. health-care care costs were just going crazy. a big number were used in the emergency runs. same thing with the affordable care act. look at what are the essential health benefits that are going to be in not only the insurance policy can get through the exchange but there every insurance policy.
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you teach them how to take care of himself and take responsibility for their help and to manage their diabetes, their heart condition, and all of the things, and keep them out of that emergency room. do we have another question? please identify yourself. how do you see this play into the criminal justice reforms you're playing for in kentucky? >> and kentucky, we have had a tremendous prescription drug abuse problem. it has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. a couple of years ago i got my leadership in the senate that is
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republican and my leadership in the house that is democratic and we said we have got to do something. we have got to do this fast. we have to be aggressive. we had what is called the casper system. it is the monitoring system where the prescribers would put into the system what they prescribe for folks in the new can check it if somebody walks in your office. you can tell that this guy has been around the corner yesterday for doctors and got the same bunch of pills. a volunteer system. we made it mandatory. every prescribers going to be responsible. we were running them out of the state. at the same time, we were aware at the law enforcement part was just one piece. we have got to treat folks. we have to get them into rehab. we have to rehabilitate them so they can have useful lives in the future. we obviously did not have enough
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money to do it all. part of this affordable care act says that every policy now is going to have a behavioral health segment. it has to cover substance abuse treatment. that is going to be a huge thing in the commonwealth of kentucky. i think you are going to see some significant improvements. >> next question. >> let me ask you. go ahead. >> i like that kind of question. a political question. you will be essentially at ground zero for this. are widespread expectations that the affordable care act will be an issue for that in 2014. democrats will be on the
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offensive as they were in 2010. aggressive ino embracing this law? senator mcconnell has been so .ggressive an theou worry that most of polling is under water? do you worry this will be a liability in the senate race in 2014? cracks i agree with you that it will probably be an issue in 2014. i am not sure i agree that it will be a liability. if things continue to go as they are going right now and people open up to this like they are doing and listen and educate themselves because they're interested in finding out if they can get something at an affordable cost, the more people an the world did not come to end like the tome it was going to, i think it will start to like they told me
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it was going to, i think it will start to boomerang. so i think it may be an issue for us. kentucky, inind in the polling i have seen, if you you like obamacare?" the numbers are big. if you ask them if they like the affordable care act, "yes, yes, i do." booth, and we were handing out information on affordable care, and she said that she liked it better than obamacare, and the lady said, you know, i debated whether to tell him or not, and i decided not to. [laughter]
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>> maybe that story answers my next question. we will go back there in a minute. centrifugalot of force here. this extraordinary effort to try to stop this before it goes into effect. , itasonable possibility might run on repealing it. takedo you think it will for this law to ultimately put down roots? to become fortified in a way that is difficult. people gettingre access to it, or are there other things? -- whatcts of premiums do you think it will take to settle this issue so we are not going through sustained post passage struggle? >> first of all, when you look at the next presidential election, and president obama
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won bigger than any president running in some time, and he had that pact that he had to carry, and he was proud of it, so he carried it. i think overall, it is a plus, because the majority of folks think it is a minus, but i think now happening.s i mean, we have had this huge bill. >> see the rest of this event in the c-span video library. go to c-span. or. asare live on capitol hill the committee is holding hearings on social security disability. witnesses, including the kentucky attorney, accused of filing fraudulent disability claims and two other officials. this is just getting underway. >> i am going to yield to the doctor now. we have some more things to say. i will say this.
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all of us know we are facing huge deficits in the country, down to about $700 billion. this is part of the reason why you have the government shutdown that is in effect even today, but there are a number of things we need to continue to do to make sure that we bring down that deficit and we run this country in a fiscally responsible way. i think we have a moral imperative to do what is right tom at right thing to do. i think we also have a fiscal imperative to make sure we are meeting that moral imperative in way, andy responsible the doctor and i have spent years working together, along with others on this committee, trying to make sure that we are rooting out waste. wherever we find it. i think, the,
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doctor and staff have done a terrific job, and we are thankful for that. when he finishes off, i will have more to say. .aybe senator levin thanks. dr., congratulations. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is the second hearing in a series looking at deficiencies in the social security handling of disability claims, and our first hearing was held in september 2012, looking at the atknesses and decisions made the administrative launch, and by their own internal studies, it shows that 22% of those were handled inappropriately. are going ton, we focus on the finding of the investigation into the huntington, west virginia, social security adjudication review, specifically the investigative report detailing how one lawyer, one judge, and a looked tooctors
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manufacture bogus, fraudulent medical evidence to award disability benefits to over 1800 people. i would like to thank my chairman, and the chairmen and ranking member of the permanent subcommittee on investigations, senators levin and mccain, for their hard work on this. without their hard work, this hearing would not be possible, but before we get into the findings of this investigation, i want to extend a thank you to the four courageous ladies sitting in front of us at this time. republics only survive when courage is demonstrated on the basis of character, sound morals, integrity, and on her, and each four of them have demonstrated that to this committee and the investigators, and i think the public will see that as their stories are told. sought the disability programs being exploited and were brave enough to bring their story.
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i commend all of you and hope all of you will take up your example to speak up when you see wrong doing, whether it is in social security or any other agency in government. ingres's needs to know where the problems are so they can be addressed and hopefully changed for the better. each of you are in washington to tell your story, and i look very forward to hearing them. of our country's current problems, it ends and begins with congress. as importanthing as the social security disability programs, not letting politics hurt those most in need. time, congress has looked at things that it has deemed more important. this is pushing to eliminate backlogs with little interest. this point was driven home clearly the last time the senate considered a nominee to head the
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agency. during the 2007 confirmation process, many senators used the chance to criticize how long it took to get a hearing. another look to reduce the backlog and wait times for hearings, and we saw good results. shortly after he was confirmed, the agency rolled out a plan. the agency hired more to carry the load and also pressured them to decide more cases while spending less time on each case. as part of the plan, they pushed them all to the side. and they went as far as to set daily goals. to speed the process forward, the judges were encouraged to
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skip hearings all together and do what it thought was warranted. on the surface, the plant appeared to work. the wait times dropped from 514 days to as few as 353 days i 2012. wentumber of decisions inm 575,000 in 2008, 820,000 2012, an increase. announced that the agency had reversed a trend of the backlog. and with so much emphasis on the quality, other things diminished.
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and report today details how much it suffered in one particular office. in the huntington west virginia office. describes how one lawyer, several judges, and others exploited the program for their own personal benefit. together, they moved hundreds of claimants onto the disability rolls based on manufacture evidence and boilerplate decisions. as a result, they some millions of dollars flow, and they had bad behavior ignored. at the center of this miss, there was a judge. 2010, the last full year he decided cases, he was the third highest producing out of more than 1600. he decided 1375 cases and awarded benefits and 1371.
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99.7%.oval rate of he denied only four cases. he was outgunned only by one in georgia who decided 3200 caret -- cases, and one in harrisburg, pennsylvania, and many questioned how this is possible and when i asked how he was deciding such a high volume of cases, he said, you are just going to have to learn which corners to cut. judge was found that the got his cases from one area. a self-described multimillionaire. his practice focused solely on those seeking social security disability. and witnesses said you could not
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listen to television or listen to the radio without seeing his commercial. the third highest paid disability attorney in the country despite working in a town of only 500 people. he received almost $4 million in attorneys fees. morenly ones receiving $22 million and $6.3 million. but there is much more to the story. doctorse and several and others carried out a sophisticated plan to assure claimants would be approved for disability relying on questionable and in my opinion fraudulent methods. we will return next to the plan may carried out. for the plan to succeed, the top priority was getting the cases in front of the judge.
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generally, whenever a claimant is denied benefits and then appeals, the social security administration sends the case to whichever office is closest to where the claimant lives. this protects claimants who might otherwise have to travel a great distance, which would be difficult for someone who is disabled. the lawyer, however, discovered a way to make sure that all of his cases would go to the huntington office. he would require his clients sign a waiver requesting that his clients go to the kentucky office, a satellite office. which was located near the law offices. there was staff that traveled there once a month, and so no matter where the claimant lived, the claim would be assigned to huntington on appeal. directing the cases from there to the judge, however, would take additional effort. in the normal course, agency rules required cases to be assigned on a rotational basis
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with the oldest cases assigned a hearing date first, yet at the moment a case arrived in the office, before it was assigned, the judge would sometimes intercept those cases and assign them to himself. if some slipped past and were assigned to another judge, he would go into the court system and move the case to his docket. some of the office noticed what was happening and brought it to the attention of the chief judge. andrews. despite having the issue brought to him repeatedly over 10 years, the judge never once stopped this procedure. why approving a large volume of the cases, the judge met his agency mandate with very little effort. according to documents and committee interviews, the judge and lawyer coordinated on a list judge and the the lawyer coordinated on the list of clients. if he provided the judge with
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one additional piece of evidence that showed that they were disabled, and so every month, the judge would call the law office to let him know just what kind of evidence he needed. on the call, the judge would start by relaying the name and social security number of each person he was ready to approve. he would then say whether the new piece of evidence should relate to a mental or physical impairment. the list would then be typed up and saved on computers at the law firm. the staff referred to these monthly lists as the d.b. list daugherty. the list contains as many as 52 and thereach month, were 1823 people who were approved for disability benefits. after the judge told the liar that kind of medical evidence was needed was to make sure the doctor provided.
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providing a doctor would give it when needed. searching the internet for ones with checkered or difficult task. those had histories of malpractice or other things suspended. while practicing as an orthopedic surgeon, one was the subject of malpractice suits at his -- and had his medical license revoked and had his revoked inivileges several states. allowed him to come and examine people in the law office. they were examined in 15 minute blocks, and the doctor would see up to 35 clients per day. the medical report that was given mr. conn was modest as best. -- at best.
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residual functional capacity. that is an additional term we need to be aware of during this hearing. the second is commonly known as a document used by all social security, and a residual describes the claimant's ability . the agency standard in determining whether a claimant was entitled to benefits. to understand the problem with these filled out by the dr., it is important to understand what they contained. they asked to determine a couple of things. the number of hours that the claimant could sit, stand, or work in a normal eight hour workday, and they also require them to determine how they could do 22 other activities by marking one of a few your answers, never, occasionally, sometimes, or always, and it would be nearly impossible for
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claimants to be found with the exact same limitation. it was filled out the exact same way, next to impossible, and yet, the doctor found out the had -- they had almost the same. different variations of the form. for just one version he frequently signed, the doctor hadrted 97 claimants exactly the same limitations. this was not a coincidence. this was the step for getting the clients onto disability. these completely filled out before any took place. assigning oneugh, of the 15 prefilled forms for those who came through the door. they had no connection to the disability, even if they had no connection.
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the only difference was the name and social security number that changed. it was required to carefully entire fileimant's and write a comprehensive thesion, and based on decisions, his opinions were routinely citing only a single piece of evidence, namely reports from mr. conn's doctors, so they were shorter and much less detailed than others, and almost all had boilerplate paragraphs, including the following quote. " having satisfied that the information provided by dr. huffnagle represents the abilities --" be hundreds ofan
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pages if not thousands long. the only piece of evidence was looking for is those by the lawyer. secondly, most have already been evaluated and denied by the agency twice. professionals who do this all day, every day, and have dedicated their lives to it, and the opinions we have reviewed, augherty only had small portions changed. as such, he was able to do many decisions with little effort. le passed awaynag in 2010, the same forms he submittedtinue to be by others. we reviewed 102 signed by another doctor, and 95% were similar to those signed by dr. huffnagle.
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forms were also used for examining mr. conn's clients for mental impairment. would submit a mental to rank theng him claimant to 15 different abilities, including behavioral and emotional. unlimited, good, fair, poor, or none. once again, finding two c's should be next to impossible, and yet it was one of just five different forms. these five forms came from mr. conn's office, already filled out. office he routinely signs. only the names and social security numbers were changed, and the judge would decide on
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them before awarding benefits to clients.s it then goes back to why they did what they did. conn and the doctors and judges benefited, including financially. conn was paid over four point $5 million by the social security administration in attorneys fees. this included cases from judge daugherty. to $600his doctors up per claimant, helping them get considerable fees, sometimes spending less than 10 or 15 minutes with them. for the four years of records that the committee obtained, mr. dr.huffnagle -- dr.
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dr.nagle over $1 million, herr and dr. adkins. the agency looked the other way. the big numbers effectively let gherty do whatever he wanted, and that office rose to high productivity. they received salary increases. some even received bonuses for their productivity. one judge got national recognition when he was tapped to mentor other alj's and then promoted. while lawyers and doctors were getting rich through the broken issue was theeal claimants and the taxpayers paid the claimants suffer.
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those will certainly hurt who are receiving those benefits when the trust fund runs out of money, probably less than in 18 months. at the same time, the american taxpayer suffer. for the claimants on the d.b. list, it was millions in lifetime benefits. paid, the judge awarded $2.5 billion in the last six years. probably the most troubling issue our investigation uncovered is what happened when the details of this plan started in may 2000blic. 11, a reporter with the wall street journal ran a story about andrelationship of mr. conn the judges. they responded by clearing out what appeared to be an elaborate plan with the social security administration and the american people. after the story ran, judge conn decided mr.
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to speak with each other only using prepaid disposable cell phones. we were told this was to keep the conversations from being recorded. mr.e andrus working with against one ofte the women testified before us today. it was to film her in a day working from home in an attempt to get her fired for violating agency telecommuting rules. they never found her doing anything wrong. once the agency discovered what was going on, they placed judge leave.on administrative and then there was the systematic destruction of documents, once allegations began to surface. conn and the agency, the agency, took steps to destroyed documents known to be relevant to a congressional
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investigation, and it was found that mr. conn hired a local shredding company to shred over 3 million pages of documents. they shredded all copies of the they destroyed all office computers, along with the hard drives. there was also the number of e- mails that went missing. the agency, for its part, could not find any of judge daugher ty's e-mails. the agency approved a purchase of personal shredders for the offices. this occurred in the middle of a congressional investigation, when the agency was legally obligated to preserve all relevant documents. senator levin and i immediately office oflocal ssa inspector general agents to seize the shredders, which they did.
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while huntington management allowed this to have personal shredders, that is the question that needs to be answered. when the judge was asked about approving the purchase, he said he had not even considered it. this was a judge. you cannot lose sight of why we are here today. a bipartisan two year investigation shows there need to be programs. the judge, the lawyer, as his doctors stretched all of the agency rules. attorneys using doctors to provide focused medical evidence is not just isolated with mr. conn or even huntington, west virginia. just last year, there was the same thing happening in three other offices, and much like i began, i note that congress continues to be the problem, with the clock ticking on the
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agency, and some in congress refuse to acknowledge that this program is broken and in dire need of significant oversight. people who are truly disabled will pay the price. wouldmple reform that make a big difference would be including professionals from the social security administration to represent the government and ultimately the american taxpayer in decisions made by alj's. it would bring an important level, which is especially true now that most claimants have representation. as we learned in our previous reports, some claimant attorneys withhold evidence from the alj's , showing that the claimant has improved. alj is tasked with representing the government, the agency management breathing down to meet of alj's
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monthly quotas of deciding cases, this would bring needed races to the decision-making and a sure that they consider all of the medical evidence in the file. reform has long been a recommendation by social and it isdvisories, also supported by the ministry of law judges. his is one area where congress can find common ground. we also need to make sure that these alj's have the tools to render the proper decisions. the validityidding testing, like the minnesota personality inventory is ridiculous. these tests determine if an individual is malingering or lying about their symptoms. ssa found that they are alone in not using the mmpi. agencies, private disability insurance, and the
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medical community at large. i hope today's findings encourage others to take a hard look at this program and support much-needed reforms for this program that last used included almost 11 million americans with billions of dollars from the american taxpayers. i would hope that if you are if you are seeing manipulation, you will follow fouread of these courageous women, bringing it to the permanent subcommittee to our office. senator. >> thank you so much. senator levin, who chairs the subcommittee, under which this investigation is getting in place, i ask him to make a statement. i will make a short statement after that.
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senator levin? >> thank you, very much, senator carper, and first, let me thank work incoburn for his uncovering the abuses which are the subject of today's hearing. i also want to hang senator carper for supporting this investigative effort, for having his subcommittee hold this hearing today. this investigation began at the permanent subcommittee on investigations, which i chaired when senator coburn was a and then senator mccain became our ranking republican member, and that is now his position on our subcommittee. our subcommittee rules provide that the ranking minority initiate an inquiry. it is an unusual role. it is very important. will bentees that this a bipartisan subcommittee.
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that is true of the number of other rules, as well. it is our tradition, as well him and not just the rules, that we participate and work together in a bipartisan way, that our staff's work together, and that is what happened here. year, the minority led two year investigation, the subcommittee staff work together on document requests, conducted joint interviews, and dug into the facts, and the second year of the investigation, senator coburn became ranking member of the full committee, which he is now, the joint report being released today was drafted. prime example of a bipartisan of an oversight and we are happy that senator mccain is our ranking republican, and we are working together on many, many ongoing investigations. senator coburn has already
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described what this investigation has uncovered. abusive, fraudulent, long- standing. the case study shows how one , engaged in this ofavior, taking advantage federal disability programs designed to help the most vulnerable among us. manufacturing boilerplate medical forms, misusing waivers to submit claims that should have gone elsewhere, employing suspect doctors in order to conduct cursory medical exams, signing virtually any form put in front of him, colluding with administrative law judges, and breaking the rules and in properly favoring his clients. one is particularly striking.
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the administrative law judge, daugherty, signing cases to himself, secretly informing of which cases he got, what medical evidence would be need, relying on collusion, churning out short report quality decisions. this is going to the administrative law judge daugherty. after a negative media report on conn, which tarnished the name of his office, the judge
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teamed up with mr. conn to discredit the social security employee that they believe had blown the whistle. in addition to improper and thes, the evidence almost nonexistent oversight by social security officials, it allowed the abuse to continue for years. and with the assignments, there is his outsize influence and the mishandling of the cases by administrative law judge daugher ty, but nothing was done to stop it. after the taken only practices were exposed in the streetand in the "wall journal" article mentioned today. of conn was paid millions
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dollars in attorneys fees, and he was the third highest disability paid lawyer at the social security administration. the doctor providing medical and five of them split $2 million. daugherty never explained the origins of multiple cash deposits to his bank accounts, totaling 96 thousand dollars. so where are we today? administrative law judge daugherty was placed on administrative leave and retired and is no longer deciding disability cases. was month, judge andrus also placed on administrative leave and is undergoing a review about whether or not he should
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have other action taken against him. there has been no accountability for the actions of eric conn. maybe our hearing and this report will begin this process. they did not reach the conclusion about whether the benefits were related to all of conn.aimants of mr. nor is the report to denigrate the officials that keep our programs going despite limited resources and backbreaking caseloads. this is because of the hard- working employees who blew the whistle on the misconduct they observed. those federal employees testified today of two former members of mr. conn's office,
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who also helped blow the whistle. these are courageous witnesses, and our first panel is a extraordinary panel. our nation is in your debt. it is not to attack the social security programs that play a critical role in the lives of many americans. it is to highlight the abuse from a group of legal and medical professionals exploiting this program, also to suppress the need for greater oversight in the agencies and by this , and we must have great efficiency. also, it will help with similar abuses in the future, and i want to thank you, mr. chairman, for pitching in the way you have, and i went to thank senator coburn and his staff for spearheading this. >> my thanks to both you and to
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dr. coburn for those introductory statements. usually do not have the chairman of the committee or the subcommittee, ranking member, give a statement of this length, and this is an extraordinary thing. this has taken several years to do and a huge amount of effort, and i am grateful to those. as we try tor grapple with the nation's fiscal woes, there are essentially three things. one, we need to look at our entitlement programs and ask what steps we need to take in order to save money in those entitlement programs, in order to save those programs for our children and our grandchildren, and how do we do so in a way that is sensitive for the least in our society? deserving people. that is number one.
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some deficit reduction. we need tord thing, go from a culture of spin thrift -- spendthrift to a culture of thrift. just as we need a culture of thrift, we also need a culture that says there is zero tolerance for fraud. there is zero tolerance for dishonesty. there is zero tolerance for wasting taxpayer money in order to benefit a relative handful. entitlement spending in this country amounts to over half of what we spend. social security is a big part of that, and most receiving social security benefit and deserve that.
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we want to make sure that the moneys that are spent in the social security disability program, and we talk about 1.5 years, and we actually direct money. we originally had hoped to have panels here. we all know the government is in a shut down. some folks have asked to be excused and for a chance to come back later this month. we expect to schedule a second hearing the social security administration to come in and tell us what we are doing in order to address these kinds of problems, and we look forward to that hearing. we are not going away on this? it is a big problem. what i have heard here today is
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not making me particularly proud of what has been happening, but whatever state, if true, then we have to do our dead level best efforts to make sure it stops, and in this case, our first , the oldwitnesses saying of the buck stops here, with these witnesses, the buck stops with them. we pray fairly regularly, and among the things we pray for is wisdom, to know that we do the right thing, and we pray for strength and courage so that we can be able to do what we know is the right thing, and what you all have done was not an easy thing to do. it was the right thing to do. hopefully you will be an example for the rest of us.
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preceding up to today. we want to thank you for being , citizens and fellow employees who bring forth evidence of potential file nation's of the law, and most agencies, with fellow our inspector generals and congress can address waste, fraud, and abuse. without each of you, this hearing would not be possible, so thank you for enabling us to address these issues. administering an oath of office and inviting you to go ahead with your statements. as a rankingn, member of the subcommittee, let me just stop right now. to make ald like brief statement, go ahead, please.
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that was brief. we are not always that brief. case is a senior technician with the social security administration. she works at the huntington, west virginia, office of adjudication and review. she is here before our committee to discuss the operations of the huntington office. a personal in capacity and is not representing the views of the social security administration. welcome. our next witness is jennifer. she is a former master docket clerk of the social security administration, where she works in the huntington, west virginia, office. she is also here before our committee to describe her experiences with disclosure with that office. she appears today in a personal views do not her represent those of the social security administration. jamie slaone.
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-- sloane. she is a resident of pikeville, kentucky. and we want to thank you for appearing before our panel today , and finally, melinda l. mar tin, a former employee of the law firm. i am not sure for how long, but we are grateful to you for making time to come all of the , and the next thing before ask youify, we want to to stand and raise your right hand, please. do you swear that the testimony
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you are about to give will be true, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? please be seated. if you would like to proceed, your entire testimony is made part of the record, and you're welcome to summarize. carper, senator coburn, members of the committee, good afternoon. my name is sarah carver. joinedember 2000 one, i the social security administration office of disability and review, called odar. over the course of my employment at the administration, i have held the position of senior case administrator, and in addition to my duties, i was elected to the position as union steward odar, andntington
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prior to that, i was a paralegal, where i are narrowly focused on claimants seeking social security disability benefits. i am a university graduate with a degree in legal study. to 2006, i routinely receive performance awards for the quality and production of my work in the huntington odar office. however, in 2006, those awards came to an abrupt stop when there was a new hearing office director. coincidentally, i had been voicing my concerns about what i received -- perceived as improper processing of claims at the huntington office. not only did i report my concerns to mr. hall, i also reported them to other members of the huntington management
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team throughout the year. these members consist of arthur jerry mead, john patterson, gary rowland, and chief andrus. despite many retaliatory actions against me. i reported to management on numerous occasions what i perceived as inappropriate actions involving huntingtonodar management and attorney eric c. conn. sent a memo,i requesting justification on a request of the fully favorable disposition of judge daugherty. i received something that would substantiate the overt
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favoritism, and management continuously sweeping things under the rug in regards to in thety and conn, and e-mail, i warned them that the, quote, eric conn situation is going to bite this office in the butt one day. they changed the way conn's cases were handled. instead of any corrective action being taken, the situation only escalated. i continued reporting to management for several years thereafter before i kept my concerns out of the office. as a result of my multiple disclosures, i have suffered tremendously. has been allowed to harass, intimidate, oppress, ostracize,ipline, monitor, and make my life as
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miserable as possible for the last seven years. knowing that a private investigator was hired to follow me has been very traumatizing. i still fear for my safety and the safety of my family. also knowing that employees have been terminated for their has left mewith me with such a burdensome feeling. perhaps, i should mention at this point that the agency has asked me to inform you that i am testifying in my personal, not official, capacity, and that the agency does not sanction my testimony. every employee in the ,untington, west virginia, odar including management, is considered a public servant and is held to a higher standard of conduct. where is the accountability in this agency? why does the agency promote and reward management for its activity?
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goals andduction benchmarks are important. however, they should not diminish the importance of equality of work we perform for the american people. changes need to be made in the agency to not only allow for timely processing of claims without sacrificing quality, but also, important, a system needs to be put in place and monitored by an outside source to assure and claimants representatives are held accountable for failing to follow the regulations and agency policies. i appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. thank you. >> ms. carver, thank you so much. ma'am? you make sure that -- there you go. afternoon.
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my name is jennifer griffith. i am a wife, a mother of two, and student, as well as a former employee of the huntington, west virginia, office of social security disability review. i am honored to be before you today and to describe mice. while working there. october is a special month for me. it was this month when my son was born 12 years ago. >> today is your son's 16th birthday? >> yes, it is. >> give my best. tell him we appreciate him sharing his mom. as a caselso working technician. beginning in late 2005 or early 2006, on too many occasions to list, i began to be called into the office and issued verbal reprimand aced on cases being docketed improper or incompletely or not docketed
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timely. i was not able to answer her questions and had no ideas what was causing the docket issues. in an attempt to determine what was occurring, i began to run various reports on a daily basis and keep track of cases i docketed each day. i determined, in fact, the docketing issues were occurring aughertyjudge david b. d was assigning cases to himself before i was ever aware that cases were transferred to odar. the system provided no safeguards at the time to provide who had made the improper assignment. i immediately brought this to the attention of the hearing office director and others, including judge charlie andrus, thinking my explanation would explain and alleviate what appeared to be mistakes on my part. instead, it was the beginning of the end of my career. i began to question how judge filesrty was accessing
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not going through the docketing process. if they had not been assigned to an alj, how did he even know they were in the office? simple. he had prior knowledge greed taking cases from the master docket without proper docketing, he self scheduled cases and awarded all of them in a favorable ways. in 2007, other area attorneys complained that conn was receiving preferential treatment herty, and ig forwarded them on to speak with others. period, all of his cases were decided favorably, on the record, without hearings, 100% approval. others increased their efforts to stop my reporting. i decided to make each notification in writing and to include my union representative. i thought i was doing the right thing. i simply wanted retaliation to stop and to be able to do my job
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without constant threat of reprimand. things increased, and the investigations and retaliation by odar management increased. i took that action came into question, including how long i spent in the bathroom. writtenbal and reprimands, i was told in 2007 in an annual progress review that their goal was to make sure i was no longer improved there and that there was nothing i can do about it. after years of trying to get huntington odar management to correct the cases of judge daugherty for mr. conn, it occurred to me that things were not going to change print it affected my health and my family, and my position suggested i leave my employment and ithe huntington odar, left. they do not contact me until
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2011, apparently according to a rumored wall street journal investigation. in addition to my cooperation with the investigation, i have spoken with others and theicipated in writing article with the wall street journal . appealing, i settled, and i have a non-disclosure agreement for five years. 2011, we found an attorney to sue judgedaugherty conn, and we are pursuing that because we hope we can receive justification for the american taxpayers. there are not nearly enough safeguards built into catch the types of fraud that occurred here.
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large numbers of disability issues, there are going to be managers who need to meet those goals and receive compensation. in my experience, it was quantity, with little or no regard for quality. my family has not been the same ,ince my employment with odar and financially, we will never have the kind of financial security we had at that time, but i can look at my children with a clear conscience and know that whatever happens, i did everything possible to make sure that the american public knew about it. thank you, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very, very much for that statement and again for joining us today. sloane, welcome, and you can make your statement. thank you. >> my name is jamie slone, and i live in kentucky. i am married and have four children. law firmfor the conn
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until 2012. mind of my responsibilities at the firm was to get calls from the administrative law judge ty, who calleder each month and gave information for 30 to 50 social security claimants represented by eric conn. thet name, last name, claimant's social security number, and either mental or physical. i created a list which was known as the monthlyd.b. throughout the office. another employee called each claimant on that list and scheduled an exam with the doctor. you're in my tenure with the firm, jessica was normally responsible for scheduling wasintments, depending it visible or mental, ms. newman scheduled the appointment with the doctor to provide an opinion on the claimants allege disability. when the medical opinions were ty sented, judge daugher
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a barcode to the firm to attach to the paperwork for the electronic file system. the judge issued a decision approving the claim without holding a hearing. if you have any questions, i would be happy to answer. thank you. >> thank you, ms. slone. you can proceed. can you make sure that your microphone is on? >> my name is melinda martin. i was married in june 2012, and n lawked at the eric con firm until 2012, ranging from receptionist to several supervisory positions to assisting a manager at the office. you're in my time at the firm, i witnessed several inappropriate and between eric conn others and previously submitted an affidavit which out lines the relationship between mr. conn and some of those judges i saw
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during my time working at the office. if you have any questions, i will be pleased to answer. >> thank you, ms. martin. this is not a trial. this is a committee hearing. this is an opportunity for us to get at the truce. i think it was thomas jefferson who said the the american people know the truth, and you will not make a mistake. what we're trying to do is garner as much truth as we can. let me ask. i do not know who would like to do this. staff come and go and senators come and go for a hearing like this because they have other things they have to be doing at the same time, but maybe a couple of you can take some time and explained what was going on here, just in your own words. what was going on here? someone feel comfortable doing that? please do. that it in my opinion was a mass collusion between a
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judge and an attorney. it was something that was very the day, within days of my employment, and it just increased. and it was done with such openness. wasas not something that going on behind the scenes. i mean, we had office statistics , and jennifer us in a system to where we were able to view these reports, it became more apparent. of can see the mass members favorable decisions going out. this was something that really came to light when ever this electronic folder came


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