Thom Hartmann takes apart media obsession with FanGate, suggesting perhaps Rick Scott did that on purpose to distract from his criminal record.
October 17, 2014

Thom Hartmann's point is well-taken here. All of the actual issues around Rick Scott have evaporated into the vaporous void known as Fangate. Did the rules permit a fan? Why did Crist have a fan? Was it some strange distraction or was he just wanting to not be Richard Nixon on a hot day under hot lights?

It was a debate stunt, and Crist's team can make a great political ad about it. But what about the truth about Rick Scott?

I was stunned when he was elected in 2010. At best, Rick Scott is the most miserable manager on the planet. At worst, he's criminally responsible for overseeing widespread Medicare and Medicaid fraud while running Columbia/HCA. I wrote about it in May, 2010, hoping that someone in media would pay enough attention to start sounding the trumpets.

Columbia/HCA didn't just scheme to defraud Medicare a little bit. They schemed to commit fraud on a mega-fraud basis. And it wasn't just insurance companies they tried to rip off. It was Medicare, Medicaid, and even TRICARE, the health plan that covers our veterans. It wasn't only overbilling, either. Here's a partial list:

  • Intentional year-end record fraud alleging payments from the government less than actually received, leaving the government with the burden of overpaying them.
  • Payment of kickbacks to providers to inflate claims billed to Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE.
  • Billing costs to the government which were not allowed.
  • Inflating the cost of transferring patients from HCA facilities to other, non-HCA facilities.
  • Inflating claims for indigent patients.
  • Paying kickbacks for diabetes patients.
  • Overbilling states for Medicaid patients.

The entire list and summary of the case is on the DOJ website.

Just to underscore that, it was the largest Medicare/Medicaid fraud case prosecuted ever, and that record stands today.

Since he's been governor, he's blocked Medicaid expansion in Florida, he's pushed legislation through requiring drug tests for welfare recipients, he's tried to sell Florida's prisons to privatizers, claimed imperial authority to appoint judges without any oversight or approval from the legislature or voters, ordered and supervised voter purges just before the 2012 election, allowed his chief of staff to engage in unethical government contract activities, cut aid to rape crisis centers, turned down federal high speed rail money, funded tax cuts with unemployment benefits cuts, screwed the poor to give more to the rich, worked hard to privatize Florida's schools, and sold Florida State University to the Kochs.

Those are just a few of Scott's "accomplishments." Do you think he might not want any of that to come up in a debate, or if it did, to have a way to bury his answers?

And so #FanGate was born. But it still won't blow away the harm he's done to Florida.

Charlie Crist has had a nice surge in the polls over the past week. Hopefully those are reliable enough polls that he's outside of the margin of error. But I don't trust anything until the one poll that counts on Election Day. Let's hope Scott doesn't have another four years to destroy Florida more than he already has.

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