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New Super PAC Founded to Defend Democratic Donor Accused of Medicare Fraud
Doctor billed Medicare $18.2 million in 2012
(Free Beacon) – A super PAC has launched with hopes of protecting a high-dollar Democratic donor and Florida doctor accused of Medicare fraud.
The newly created PAC, called the Patient’s Right to Excellent Medicine (PREM), claims to consist of a coalition of patients who find themselves “disgusted and distressed” by “inaccurate” reports on Dr. Asad Qamar, a cardiologist based in Ocala, Fla. who iscurrently under investigation by the Department of Justice for alleged Medicare fraud.
The super PAC, which was registered with the Federal Election Commission last Wednesday, seeks to defend Qamar from whistleblowers who have filed lawsuits against him, and from government officials, and a “sensation-seeking media” who may report on Qamar. It will run advertisements proclaiming his innocence, and has printed its first full-page ad in the Ocala-Star Banner. Harold Thomas Beck II is listed as the national director and treasurer of the PAC, whose address is a post office box in Custer City, Pennsylvania, according to Ocala magazine.
“We are patients of Doctor Asad U. Qamar and ICE. We are disgusted and distressed by the recent inaccurate portrayal of this extraordinary physician and superb facility by spiteful, money-hungry whistleblowers, members of the government with no practical knowledge of medicine, and a sensation-seeking media. It is time for it to stop! Join us today,” a message on the PAC’s website says.
The group also vows to “turn the tables” on anyone they see as trying to put Dr. Qamar “out of business.”
“We need your membership in our organization to prove to those who would be so bold as to attempt to put Dr. Qamar and ICE out of business that there are thousands of us out here who will not sit idly by and allow them to pursue their corrupt acts with immunity. No!”
“We are prepared to hold each and every one
of them accountable for their actions and intend to do just that beginning with the spiteful money-hungry whistleblowers who left town after doing their damage. Let’s make them prove what they are saying. We want to see the evidence or make them recant what they said,” the site continues.
Qamar finds himself in the midst of an investigation into Medicare fraud. The Justice Department in January intervened into lawsuits filed by two whistleblowers claiming Qamar had defrauded the government. Due to the lawsuits, and subsequent investigation, Qamar was suspended in March from receiving Medicare payments.
Qamar, who runs a cardiology practice called the Institute for Cardiovascular Excellence (ICE), was paid $18.2 million in 2012 from Medicare—making him the second highest recipient of Medicare reimbursements in 2012.
The average reimbursement for the 880,664 doctors who billed Medicare in 2012 was $87,883. Only a handful of physicians billed the program for more than $10 million. One such doctor was Dr. Salomon Melgen, who donated heavily to Sen. Robert Menendez (D. N.J.), and was indicted for Medicare fraud earlier this year. Menendez was also indicted on federal corruption charges.
Qamar stepped up donations to Democratic politicians, some in the names of his children, after being hit by fraud charges. In total, Qamar has given more than $450,000 to Democrat politicians, state parties, and committees in recent years.
Requests for comment made to Patient’s Right to Excellent Medicine and to FTI Strategic Communication—a New York-based firm that has handled communications work for Qamar’s office—were not returned by press time.
UPDATE: Lou Colasuonno, a spokesperson for Dr. Qamar, said the following in an emailed statement to the Washington Free Beacon following publication: “Dr. Qamar’s tireless, innovative work has dramatically improved the health and quality of life for thousands of his patients and it is not surprising that there is now a groundswell of support from many who believe that the doctor and his dedicated staff have been unfairly targeted.”