Harry Reid Picking Winners In Fiscal Cliff Deal

Tyler Durden's picture

Buried deep in the bowels of the much-heralded last-minute fiscal-cliff deal, that saved us from a fate worse than death and raised taxes on 77% of Americans, was a quiet little provision, inserted at the last minute, that sharply slashed Medicare payments to brain-tumor radiation provider Elekta by 58% while leaving its main competitor Varian's payments unchanged. As the WSJ reports, the provision was put through by none other than Harry Reid - who has a 'deep relationship' with Varian (the winner). Whether crony capitalism is alive-and-well is up for debate - as Varian suggests this 'levels the playing field' but it is the fact that Varian beefed up its outside lobbyists to 18 (from 10) and the provision was not added until the last day suggests this stinks. Once again, it appears, our government is picking winners - and losers (with Elekta as a foreign company unable to participate financially in American elections). As the WSJ notes, the insert looks like the kind of provision helping a specific company or industry that lawmakers have repeatedly vowed to halt. Nonetheless, even in the budget bill tackling the so-called fiscal cliff, lawmakers found time to craft such provisions.


Via WSJ,

The New Year's Day legislation that averted tax increases for millions of Americans brought an unwelcome surprise for Elekta AB, a Swedish maker of radiation tools designed to battle brain tumors.


A provision, inserted at the last minute, sharply cut Medicare payments for the company's product while leaving unchanged those of its direct competitor, Varian Medical Systems Inc., VAR -0.18% of Palo Alto, Calif.




The insert looks like the kind of provision helping a specific company or industry that lawmakers have repeatedly vowed to halt. Nonetheless, even in the budget bill tackling the so-called fiscal cliff, lawmakers found time to craft such provisions.




Mr. Reid has a deep relationship with Varian. About nine years ago, he secured federal funding for Varian to work with the Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, according to Oliver Hemmers, the center's director. The project looked at technologies that could X-ray cargo shipments as part of antiterror efforts.


The U.S. Department of Energy later transferred Varian's equipment to UNLV, and Varian has donated further equipment worth at least $1 million, said Dr. Hemmers. Varian and UNLV are now partnering on a multimillion-dollar Accelerator Center for research in the national-security, health and energy sectors that could create thousands of jobs in Nevada and has commercial potential for the company, Dr. Hemmers said.




Varian's political contributions are bipartisan, and overall it isn't a big donor. Elekta, as a non-U.S. company, can't participate financially in American elections.


Elekta's technology, known as Gamma Knife, and Varian's linear accelerator, or Linac, procedure are both used to target radiation on cancerous tumors. In 2006, after reviewing overall hospital costs for both systems, CMS said Gamma Knife users would be reimbursed about $7,000, while Linac use would get about half that. One reason for the discrepancy is that the Linac therapy, especially for brain tumors, sometimes required multiple treatments, according to CMS data and several neurosurgeons.


Varian began lobbying for the higher reimbursement, but it couldn't convince CMS. In November, the agency reaffirmed the separate rate structure.


Varian beefed up its 10 outside lobbyists by a further eight, according to Senate records. Taking advantage of Congress's budget-cutting state of mind, it instead sought to equalize rates. The provision doing so wasn't put in the bill until the last day of 2012, aides say.



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DaveyJones's picture

No relationship Harry Reid ever had was "deep". sanity is a prerequisite

SamAdams's picture

Dear Senator _____,


The Newtown tragedy is being used by dual-citizen Senators, Feinstein and Schumer, to trample on our American Bill of Rights and Constitution.  This has infuriated the public and makes this the perfect time to put forth a senate bill that disallows "future" appointment of congressional representatives who are not exclusively American.  This conflict of interest is appalling and there should be no question where our representative's allegiance lies.  


Can _____ and the rest of the nation count on you to put forth such a bill?


Respectfully yours,


Zer0head's picture

circa 1979


The affidavit also revealed that some of the reputed mobsters felt they had control over at least one top Nevada official. Harry Reid, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, has said federal authorities felt he was the "Mr. Clean" referred to in wiretapped conversations, But Reid has denied any connection to organized crime.



SamAdams's picture

Have you ever called Reid's office in Nevada?  He has a whole call center that will answer no questions about policy and will simply hang up on you if you persist.  Doesn't matter which caller answers, they will not put you in touch with anyone that can discuss Reid's policies.  I actually called Washington first, and they told me to contact Nevada, and then they repeatedly hung up on me.  This was in regard to the Audit the Fed resolution that passed the House and then got stuck on this traitors desk. 

bigdumbnugly's picture

Harry Reid - who has a 'deep relationship' with Varian (the winner)

that gives me some unwanted and freaky visuals...


OutLookingIn's picture

One must remember that -

Most "Bills" on the hill -

Are written by lobbyists.

With the full collusion and sign off by the politicians.

Cash is then delivered.


SafelyGraze's picture

"Once again, it appears, our government is picking winners - and losers"

.. which is one of the important roles of government.

otherwise, how can you ensure that the right corporation wins?

NotApplicable's picture

Wait... you called them? And expected... answers?


Begging criminals for permission to live is no way to go through life. All you're doing is to further empower them by promoting their facade of legitimacy.

Properly recognize their criminal nature and stay as far away from these psychopaths as possible. Nothing good can come from associating with them.

daxtonbrown's picture

I literally wrote Harry Reid's only biography. I always thought I was going to get whacked, he is that corrupt.

I worked with the guy who had been Harry Reid's campaign manager in the 60s and 70s. Don picked up "bags of cash" from pimp Joe Conforte at the Mustang Ranch brothel. I think Conforte got Reid his job as gaming commissioner (Dickey Smothers in the movie Casino), because Joe wanted to build a super casino. Conforte is now in Brazil fucking underage girls.

But it didn't stop there. Reid has long been propped up by Kirk Kerkorian at the MGM, where Reid muscled a $billion in loans to prop up City Center for Kerkorian/Dubai World and Pansy Ho (daughter of Macao pimp/casino mogul Stanley Ho).

Sig Rogich, friend of Ronald Reagan and a corrupt PR hack also got favors from Reid: in exchange for running Republicans For Reid Rogich got Reid to endorse the DesertXpress High Speed rail boondogfgle that Rogich had fingers in.

There's plenty more of this, a long history of squeezing people for money. I will be revising my book soon to add the latest bribes regarding HarveyWhittemore, Jim Rhodes, and the guy from Utah who just started squealing. If anyone in DC gave a fuck, Reid would be doing a perp walk Gagnon Style.


glenlloyd's picture

Reid is a weasel

Shizzmoney's picture

99% of legislators are ALL weasels.

Gene Parmesan's picture

Even weasels don't deserve to be besmirched to this degree.

Watauga's picture

Of the 99%, Dirty Harry is the most evil of all the weasels.  He is the evilest weasel.  And the weaselest evil.

dirtbagger's picture

WTF with the list?  Republicans don't take contributions too.  You and all the others who think everything is a left/right - Dem/GOP issue allow the corruption to continue.   Follow the money and they are all pretty much corrupt, some much more than others.  Compared to many of his peers, Reid is a piker when it comes to contributions and bringing the bacon back home.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Lots of weasels around.  

Especially at Bloomberg.

Astonishing item.

Sashay over to Bloomberg's economic calendar.  The GDP report for first look 2012 Q4 is tomorrow.

They have crashed "consensus" to 1%.  1%!!!

Goldman said what, 1.5% last week?  BAC 1.7%?

Bloomberg is setting up an absurd, monumental beat.

FYI, anything under 1.6% will yield an average for all of 2012 < 2%.

ekm's picture

I read somewhere a long time ago, people doubting how did Harry Reid become a multimillionaire?


He had no established business when he became a senator at first and all his accumulated paychecks do not add up to multimillions.


The explanation was given that since congress was exempt from insider trading, he would always front run knowing who'd win the gov contracts.

This article proves what I read some time ago.

SamAdams's picture

Same for Feinstein who holds BA in History and has worked in public office her entire life.  She married well though, more than once, to wealthy Talmudic Jews. 

Jena's picture

Not a single legislatore ever seems to come back from D.C. in worse financial shape than when they went there.  Corrupt bastards and bitches.

Tortfeasor's picture

Fire them all!

Resist. No matter what.

buzzsaw99's picture

On the bright side Reid looks a little worse every day.

fuu's picture

I'm the king of the links
I'm a menace at tennis
I'm sticking spinnaz on my rims
picking winnaz in business


New_Meat's picture

(with Elekta as a foreign company unable to participate financially in American elections)

Who knew?

- Ned

azengrcat's picture

Cutting off foriegn aid is equivalent to a tariff in the new bizzaro America.  

NotApplicable's picture

Well, while not defending aid at all, I'll note that the Vairan no longer has to worry about higher quality products from Elekta. So Vairan will feel no competitive pressure to improve their own, as Harry Reid has a much higher ROI for them than does improving their core business. 

thismarketisrigged's picture


adr's picture

Well Harry Reid picked a few thousand votes out of the back of a car to win his last election, so picking which company to back is easy.

Of course they would back the machine that requires multiple treatments. After all, what would the hospital do if it can't treat you over and over for the same thing? Each time you walk through the door, I'm pretty sure a sign with a dollar symbol lights up in each doctor's office.

Fuck Reid, fuck doctors, fuck hospitals, and well fuck everything. Life has become so fucking retarded that just living should grant you insanity.

JR's picture

And now, with American health care “still the finest in the world in spite of the negative effects government has already caused it,”  it is not likely to survive government medicine.

The failures of socialism throughout history are now going to be visited on America’s health care system: Socialized medicine with profits to the fascist industries and substandard care and the bill to American citizens.

Anusocracy's picture

It is the retards in life that are making life retarded.


NotApplicable's picture

"Don't worry, scrote. There are plenty of 'tards out there living really kick-ass lives."

LongSoupLine's picture

That fucker Reid is one of the biggest crooked pieces of shit there is. I hope that fucking shit eating ass locker falls in a fucking vat of molten roof tar and grabs Pelosi on the way down. Fucking prick.

FerretBrain's picture

Don't hold back...tell us how you really feel!  


Completely agree BTW

Whiner's picture

That's real ROI for Varian! Bullish! Learn how to play the Kleptocrats market at www.hreideatsshit.com

JR's picture

The Roman Empire began its decline under totalitarian emperors. And one of the chief corrupting factors occurred in the Roman Senate where emperors like Augustus packed the Senate with compromisers and sycophants.

How better to describe the decline of the American Empire than to put the power of the government in the hands of sycophant senators like Harry Reid.

In the absence of representative government, the Congress pushes through hugh pieces of legislation on pure political grounds to satisfy lobbyists. The measures are so long and complicated that crooked senators can insert largesse without even attracting notice. Of course, it is also a cover for those senators who don't want to notice and those senators who got something from Reid so they would look the other way.

If the Senate wanted to correct this, it would not allow these eleventh hour subterfuges; it appears the system is deliberately designed this way.

csmith's picture

"...even in the budget bill tackling the so-called fiscal cliff, lawmakers found time to craft such provisions."


It is EXACTLY these kinds of "midnight raids" on legislative due process which render our system of government completely and fully corrupt. When your fellow legislators don't even have time to REID the bill, let alone think about it for one minute, and you can push it through at 11:59pm under the pretense of some goofy deadline, this is the crap we end up with.

blu's picture

"lawmakers found time to craft such provisions."

Lawmakers don't even have to craft them; lobbyists send the provisions in emails and the lawmakers paste them in without even reading them.

NotApplicable's picture

You mean their aides paste them in.

As for "crafting provisions," that's code-talk for hookers and blow. It's a lot of work maintaining the self-delusions that prevent these people from having a conscience.

NidStyles's picture

What, are you surprised? Government has been like this since it's inception. Just look at how much pandering was done in the constitution.

Cynthia's picture

The heartless corruption of our cowardly politicians should enrage us all. When these same politicians tell us how Medicare is "broke" and needs to be "fixed," understand that the fixes will be at the expense of the older Americans, not the Wall Street firms who plunder the Medicare system and truly call the shots in DC. 

Spastica Rex's picture

What is this kind of government called in textbooks? Does it even have a name?

NotApplicable's picture

Freedom, duh.

Now pipe down and get back in line before they notice us!

DaveyJones's picture

"To Serve Man" ....it's a cookbook 

moroots's picture

government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power


Spastica Rex's picture

Wow! Thanks! Best thing I learned all day!