Remember this? This is Rachel Maddow's stellar segment on the "Swiftboat Veterans for Unaffordable Insurance", aka Rick Scott's organization, Conservatives for Patients Rights, the AstroTurf anti-health care reform group who led the opposition to any and all efforts to reform the health care system last year. As Rachel opined, "Having Rick Scott as your spokesman for health care reform is like having the eColi bacterium as your spokesman against handwashing."
Scott's involvement in Conservatives for Patients' Rights is just his latest venture. The real reason Floridians would be insane to even consider electing this man? His leadership of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain.
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.
Columbia/HCA settled the morass of fraud claims for $1.7 billion, the largest-ever settlement of a Medicare fraud investigation.
Scott will be quick to jump in and remind anyone who raises the Columbia/HCA fraud settlement as an issue that he personally was not charged with any crime. While that may be true, it is also true that the company was under HIS leadership, and it was a publicly-owned corporation at the time.
Not only was the government taken for a ride, shareholders were, too. When Scott resigned, he took his multi-million dollar golden parachute and waved goodbye to the mess he left behind. The only ones holding the bag at that point were the shareholders. After a painful cleanup and stock buyout making the company privately-held again, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is poised for another $4.6 billion public offering.
This is the man who thinks he can lead Florida. The man who led a company while that company was busy defrauding the federal government now wants to lead a state. Even more concerning, his candidacy is actually getting some traction, leading me to once again ask this question:
Why is Rick Scott running for governor in Florida?
Read more about Rick Scott at Media Matters. They have a rich treasure trove of information there. And if you are in Florida, I hope you'll ask, and then repeat, my question above.
Bonus: Since "outsider" status seems to be some kind of political magic shield right now, Floridians should also ask themselves why billionaire Jeff Greene was a Republican until he became a Democrat and decided to run for the Senate.