Normally Chris Evans' role as Houston ambulance-chasing attorney Mike Weiss and Chris Evans' unnatural power as an actor to make it real is the stuff Oscars are made of. But, the movie Puncture based on a true story (in theaters September 23) is a plea for help. As its unofficial website www.puncturemovie.com reveals, the drama is set against the very real and ruthless hospital supply chain cartel.
As a legal thriller, Puncture's plot sinks the hook in its audience when we learn that the emergency room nurse's boyfriend is an engineer who, because of her accident, was inspired to invent a life-saving needle that would prevent over 60,000 healthcare worker injuries a year. The problem is that Hollywood didn't make this up. Criminal enterprises have demonstrated a willingness to kill to protect what is conservatively over $80 Billion dollars of hospital supply skimming a year that results from eliminating free market competition in the purchasing of 1.3 Trillion dollars in supplies in our nation's health systems.
The Novation Cartel keeps life saving and healthcare cost-reducing technologies from entering US hospitals. It is one of the definitions of a monopoly. Don't ask me how I learned that over the last ten years. I last spoke with the guy portrayed in the movie Puncture as the emergency room nurse's engineer boyfriend about two months ago. His real name is Tom Shaw, the founder of Retractable Technologies. I called him because we were in the 2005 FW Weekly article Hijacking at the Hospital by Pablo Lastra about the Novation Cartel keeping our proven technologies out of the nation's hospitals. I wanted to see if things have changed in the market and if he had been able to grow his business after the settlement.
After Pablo Lastra got that article printed and my attorney Bret Landrith detailed how Novation LLC and the other Cartel members unlawfully restrained trade and employed kickbacks to monopolize the nation's hospitals, Novation LLC allowed some safety needles to be distributed to American Hospitals. Of course Lastra was stopped from publishing articles for that, Landrith was destroyed and lost his family, my healthcare supply chain expert witness and whistleblower Lynn James Everard was blacklisted from the industry and even the George Polk Award-winning journalist Mary Williams Walsh was taken off the healthcare beat as payback for Novation LLC having to open hospital markets to three or four line items of the thousands of items over which it controls prices and market access.
I went on to watch the Chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Hon. Patrick Leahy become involved when I exposed that the Kansas City US Attorney Todd Graves' replacement by Bradley Schlozman, like the firing of US Attorney Carol Lam, had been triggered because of their investigation of massive Medicare fraud in Novation Cartel hospitals. I had some hope when after the death of Assistant US Attorney and Northern District of Texas Medicare Fraud Prosecutor Thelma Quince Colbert, President Obama early in his administration revitalized the False Claims Act (the Justice Department's chief tool for deterring Medicare fraud) to now under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, expressly include the conduct of Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO's) and their business model of artificially inflating the costs of hospital supplies charged to Medicare and employer insurance plans while giving kickbacks to hospital administrators. But, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the never-tiring fighter of fraud and waste keeps pointing out, we still are not stopping the racketeering in healthcare that is preventing our nation from recovery.
It could be the US Attorney General Eric Holder knows that no attorney, not even Department of Justice attorneys, are going to obtain decisions based on fact and law from courts controlled by US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Roberts or even Missouri Chief Justice William Ray Price, Jr. in the state where arguably our nation's antitrust laws first became stronger than the monopolies.
The record clearly shows that where Chief Justices Roberts and Price had administrative control over the United States Judicial Council and the Missouri Judicial Committee, judges and reviewing appeals court judges repeatedly found that antitrust and RICO complaints brought against Novation Cartel members stating elements for claims with allegations of plausible supporting facts under controlling case law for the respective jurisdictions were to be dismissed before the evidence against Novation LLC could be presented.
No federal or state disciplinary complaint was ever actually investigated against the judges that misrepresented the express content of the complaints, even though the Missouri Judicial branch like those in most other states are undergoing budget cuts resulting directly from the increasing unaffordability of healthcare as the monopoly grows and more living wage American jobs and the tax base of the states is lost.
Tom Shaw told me that without the spotlight on them, the Novation Cartel members went back to restraining trade and restricting access to hospital markets for his retractable needles. He has new designs and processes to increase access to safety technologies for healthcare workers and millions in the bank but still cannot get credit at a bank to grow Retractable Technologies.
Chris Evans and his directors Adam and Mark Kassen were willing to take their great film-making talents and portray the young attorneys Michael Weiss and Paul Danziger challenging what went wrong in American Healthcare and coincidentally why our country is slipping in quality of life indices for developed nations. Why, while spending the most, we seem to be getting the least. If that were not enough, they have allowed (through very effective cinematography) their film to portray in a simple story how the American entrepreneurial spirit has the power to do amazing things like save millions of lives from the dangers of reused needles and the diseases spread in epidemics in one small plastic device. Yet, the greed and lawlessness of powerful corporations have choked the life out of even this last remaining American economic advantage.
Chris Evans, Adam and Mark Kassen better leave the country and go into hiding. Forget the Oscars. It is likely only a year in this administration remains and healthcare access is the defining domestic issue. This is a job for the world's most powerful man, straight out of the lyrics to Catch Me Now I Am Falling by the Kinks. Calling President Obama and all citizens all over the world........"