Menendez pressed for Medicare policy change

Prosecutors do not plan to call former Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid as a witness in the case against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez

Prosecutors do not plan to call former Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid as a witness in the case against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez

Sebelius, who resigned her cabinet post in April 2014, now operates Sebelius Resources, a consulting firm based in Lawrence, Kansas. Bob Menendez yesterday that he pressed for a Medicare policy change in 2012 that would have benefited his friend Dr. Salomon Melgen. Reid is also expected to testify about the meetings and the pressure prosecutors say he faced from his colleague to help Melgen.

Two months before the meeting at Reid's office, Menendez met with Medicare's acting top administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, who said she thought the goal of the meeting was to discuss her Senate confirmation process.

Testifying under subpoena, Sibelius said it was the only time in her five and a half years as secretary that Reid had summoned her to a meeting.

Sebelius testified that she turned down an earlier request from Menendez to meet about the issue and didn't agree to talk to him until Melgen's appeal of the case was no longer before her agency. At issue was Melgen's practice of splitting single vials of the drug into multiple doses and billing Medicare for more than one vial. Each of which cost $2,000.

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"It was about Sen". She described it as "his meeting", and said that "the gist of the conversation involved his unhappiness that there was a C.M.S. policy that Senator Menendez felt was unclear and unfair to providers". He wanted me to take some action to change it.

Tavenner said she warned Sebelius, her boss, that Menendez had "not been happy" with CMS' determination that the billing policy was clear and would likely escalate the issue to Sebelius next. Once opened, it shouldn't be used again or there was a risk of infection ...

Defense attorneys have also said Menendez's meetings with government officials - though they could have aided Melgen's business interests - were "what members of Congress do" and were meant to influence future policy.

Jonathan Blum, a former HHS official, testified during the trial on Monday that Menendez didn't mention Melgen by name during the meeting, according to the AP.

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"No legislation came out of it?"

Simply arranging a meeting, hosting an event or making calls on someone's behalf is not enough to show an official act was taken, the Supreme Court said.

Federal prosecutors are trying to prove that New Jersey's senior senator made official representations on behalf of Melgen in return for gifts, trips, and campaign donations.

Marilyn Tavenner, former administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services leaves the federal courthouse after testifying in the federal corruption trial for Sen. "Menendez until out of our department", she added, stating that an individual billing dispute was not something she generally dealt with as the head of an agency of roughly 90,000 employees and a budget just under $1 trillion. "He was disappointed. There should be changes in the policy and he did not intend to let it stand and he would take it to the next step".

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"That was not something I was personally involved in on a basis like this", she said.

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