President Donald Trump claims that he is “draining the swamp” but his own Medicare chief Seema Verma just got caught demanding tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to cover stolen jewelry, including Ivanka branded items, even as she decries the existence of publicly-funded healthcare.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services head Seema Verma traveled to San Francisco to deliver a speech in July 2018. During her speech, her luggage was stolen from her rented SUV. Rather than take the loss, Verma expected taxpayers to cover it by filing a $47,000 reimbursement claim to the Health and Human Services Department.
According to POLITICO:
Verma’s claim included $43,065 for about two dozen pieces of jewelry, based off an appraisal she’d received from a jeweler about three weeks after the theft. Among Verma’s stolen jewelry was an Ivanka Trump-brand pendant, made of gold, prasiolite and diamonds, that Verma’s jeweler valued at $5,900.
Verma’s claim also included about $2,000 to cover the cost of her stolen clothes and another $2,000 to cover the cost of other stolen goods, including a $325 claim for moisturizer and a $349 claim for noise-cancelling headphones.
Ultimately, she was only reimbursed just over $2,000. The problem is that taxpayer money should not be doled out for these kinds of losses. Unlike private health insurance that often does not cover many medical expenses, insurance would have reimbursed Verma had she bothered to insure her items. Furthermore, it’s more than a little hypocritical for Verma to demand taxpayers cover her stolen items as she attacks using taxpayer money to pay for healthcare. Because that’s what Verma does in her position even though she is supposed to be running these government healthcare programs and defending them. If taxpayer money should be used for anything, it’s making sure all Americans have access to the medical services they need.
Verma’s filing has drawn swift condemnation from lawmakers and ethics experts.
Verma is worried about wasting government money on “unnecessary” medical care for poor people, but she wants the government to reimburse her for $47,000 worth of jewels and clothes she took on a government trip, including 11 pairs of earrings. https://t.co/SR6a4p0fGa
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 8, 2019
The guy who keeps talking about how he’s draining The Swamp is going to be so angry when he hears that the president of the United States keeps hiring people who use taxpayer money like it’s their own personal piggy bank https://t.co/GlIDZaPNRg
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) December 8, 2019
My #MedicareforAll bill covers:
✅ mental health, dental & vision care
✅ comprehensive reproductive care
✅ long-term care services
✅ prescription drugs
❌ stolen jewelryhttps://t.co/lTJpP7sX9g
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) December 8, 2019
Taxpayers should not be asked to be the personal piggy bank of government officials. That’s the kind of swamp activity that Trump campaigned against and constantly claims to be cleaning up. Trump should fire Verma immediately, but he won’t because he didn’t drain the swamp, he made it worse.
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