Rick Scott

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

Rick Scott is the Republican governor of Florida since January 2011. In the bitter 2010 primary election alone, he spent over $50 million of his own money to defeat Bill McCollum (R) by a narrow 3 percentage points.[1] Rick Scott is the President and CEO of Richard L. Scott Investments, LLC, the co-founder of Solantic Corporation, and a Trustee of Florida State Board of Administration.[2] Scott also founded the Colombia Hospital Corporation in 1987 which merged with in 1989 and is now the largest for-profit hospital chain in the United States.[3] Rick Scott is the founder of Conservatives for Patients Rights which opposes president Barack Obama's health care reform efforts.

Affiliations

[4]

  • Governor of Florida
  • President and CEO of Richard L. Scott Investments, LLC
  • Co-founder and Executive Director of Solantic Corporation
  • Director of CBCA, Inc.
  • Trustee of the Florida State Board of Administration
  • Founder of Colombia Hospital Corporation (now merged with Hospital Corporation of America Hospital Corporation of America (HCA))
  • Chairman of Enterprise Florida, Inc.
  • Former Director of Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, Inc.
  • Chairman of Space Florida Corporation
  • Former Director of Investment, Inc.
  • 2006-2008 Chairman, Member of Audit Committee, and Member of Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee Secure Computing Corporation

Fighting healthcare reform

Rick Scott is a multimillionaire former hospital CEO who, in 2009, emerged as a prominent leader of the opposition to U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare reform plans. Scott founded a group called Conservatives for Patients' Rights and put $5 million of his own money towards a television advertising campaign aimed at trying to build resistance to any proposal for a government-run health insurance program. Scott's ad campaign is being coordinated by CRC Public Relations, the group that masterminded the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" attacks against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry. In the ads, Scott argues that whatever effort Obama likely puts forth to change the health-care system, it will put the country on a slippery slope toward a bureaucratic, British-style national health service.

Video about Rick Scott's past in the health care industry.

According to the Politico news site, Scott has raised $20 million to fight health care reform.[5] Scott also founded the group Conservatives for Patients' Rights, which works against health care reform.

Also see below.

Cut State Department Health Budget and closed hospital during TB outbreak

In an austerity measure on March 26th, 2012 Rick Scott signed a bill cutting the State Department Health Budget and closing a State Hospital which treated severe cases of tuberculosis (TB). "Nine days later, the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) detailed in a report that Florida was experiencing its worst TB outbreak in 20 years in Jacksonville."[6] Rather than addressing the outbreak, "the governor’s office has either ignored or suppressed news of the outbreak, and it rushed ahead with plans to close the TB hospital as local officials kept information about the outbreak from the public."[6] The A.G. Holley State Hospital, opened in 1950 specifically to treat TB cases closed on July 2nd. [7] The CDC report was released only days before the hospital closed and after weeks of requesting open records by the Palm Beach Post. When the Post asked the State Health Service to comment, the spokesperson refused to acknowledge the outbreak and instead argued that cases had been decreasing.[8] Bob Harmon, Director of the Duval Health Department which had also been receiving TB patients told the Post that since the TB strain was first identified in 2008, the department had lost 26% of their staff and 25% of their revenue.[6] During A.G. Holley's closing and the Palm Beach Post investigation, Governor Scott was in London on a "trade mission" discussing the private aerospace industry with the British Prime Minister at an air show and would not make a public comment on the outbreak.[9]

Fraud controversy

Maggie Mahar at the Century Foundation's Health Beat blog has written about Scott in her book, Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Healthcare Costs So Much. She reports that Scott previously started a for-profit hospital chain in 1987 that later became the $23 billion Columbia/HCA. He was ousted from this post in 1997 after:

the FBI swooped down on HCA hospitals in five states. Within weeks, three executives were indicted on charges of Medicare fraud, and the board had ousted Scott.
The investigation revealed that the hospital chain had been bilking Medicare while simultaneously handing over kickbacks and perks to physicians who steered patients to its hospitals. ... The company did not fight the charges. In 2000, HCA (which by then had expunged “Columbia” from its name) pleaded guilty to no fewer than 14 felonies. Over the next two years, it would pay a total of $1.7 billion in criminal and civil fines.[10]

In 1997, Scott was forced out as head of the Columbia/HCA healthcare company as the result of a fraud investigation conducted against the company in the 1990s. The firm eventually pleaded guilty to charges that it overbilled state and federal health plans, and paid the government a record $1.7 billion in fines. Scott argues that he was never charged with any crime and that other health-care companies have also received fines for overbilling. However, court records show that the illegal activities during his tenure as chief executive officer were so extensive that he knew or should have known about them. One of the government complaints alleges that he was actively involved in kickback schemes in which doctors were illegally given large incentives for making referrals.[11] [12]

Scott was also once a partner in the Texas Rangers sports team with George W. Bush.[citation needed] He now runs an investment firm and owns a chain of walk-in urgent-care clinics in Florida called Solantic, which serves people who would benefit from having a "public option" for health insurance.[13]

Scott believes that free market principles are the solution to the U.S. health care problems.[14][15]

Attempting to coordinate other anti-health care reform groups against the "public option"

In October 2009, CNN obtained a memo in which Conservatives for Patients Rights leader Rick Scott urged opponents of reform to "synchronize their strategies" before attacking. Scott said CPR planned to remain focused on defeating the so-called "public option," a publicly-funded health insurance plan that would be affordable. He suggested to the other anti-reform groups that they each choose to focus their fire on "a single specific facet of each plan," like individual and employer mandates, "massive tax increases" or "deep cuts in Medicare."[16]

2010 elections

File:Rick Scott.jpg
Rick Scott (Credit:Reuters/Joe Skipper)

In 2010, Scott ran for governor of Florida as a political outsider in a year that favored them. In the primary election, he delivered a big surprise when he defeated former Florida congressman and state Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. In the fall election, Scott delivered yet another surprise when his Democratic opponent Alex Sink conceded the very close gubernatorial race.[1]

Federal Defense spending to boost state economy

Rick Scott's strategy for building Florida's economy has been to spend Federal Defense dollars in the aerospace industry, in which Florida holds many contractors and suppliers. A 2010 study found Florida's military spending to be at $30 billion, most of which was sourced federally. In 2011, Scott and Florida's Republican Legislature formed the Florida Defense Support Task Force which appeals to defence contractors.[17] The F-35 project, at 1.45 trillion, is described by Mother Jones as:[17]

" The most expensive weapons system in Pentagon history, it has suffered technical setbacks, nearly a decade of production delays, and substantial cost overruns; the Pentagon currently estimates each plane will cost $135 million to build and maintain."

Lockheed Martin, an advanced technology company contracted on the project, claimed the project would bring $1.59 billion to Florida's economy, which had 95 in-state F-35 suppliers as of May 2012.[17]

Vote to expand Medicare 2013

Richard Scott uncharacteristically supported the Medicaid expansion in its February 2013 reelection. The Washington Post suggested a possible motive for Scott's change in attitude might be that the legislation's passing could bring $66 billion in federal funds into the state budget which Scott overlooks. Still the budget was passed without Medicaid expansion as the Legislature opposed, dismissing what could have been health coverage for 1.3 million Florida citizens. Unless a special session is called, Medicaid will not be expanded in Florida and many other states in 2014.[18]

Contact

Office of Governor Rick Scott

State of Florida

The Capitol

400 S. Monroe St.

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001


Tel: (850) 488-7146

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles

External articles

External resources

  • Website, Rick Scott governor, accessed January 2011.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Rick Scott profile, The Washington Post, accessed January 2011.
  2. Richard L. Scott Executive Profile, Bloomberg Businessweek, Accessed May 30, 2013.
  3. Reed Abelson and Julie Creswell,Hospital Chain Inquiry Cited Unnecessary Cardiac Work The New York Times, August 6th, 2012.
  4. Executive Profile Richard L. Scott, Bloomberg Buisnessweek, accessed June 3rd, 2013.
  5. Jonathan Martin, "Group launches health care offensive", Politico.com, March 3, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Alex Seitz-Wald,Rick Scott's TB scandal, Salon, July 9th, 2012.
  7. Adam Weinstein,Rick Scott Shuts Down TB Hospital Amid "Worst Outbreak in 20 Years", Mother Jones, July 9th, 2012.
  8. Adam Weinstein,Rick Scott Shuts Down TB Hospital Amid "Worst Outbreak in 20 Years", Mother Jones, July 9th, 2012.
  9. Adam Weinstein,Rick Scott Shuts Down TB Hospital Amid "Worst Outbreak in 20 Years", Mother Jones, July 9th, 2012.
  10. Maggie Mahar, "Who Is Richard Scott -- and Why Is He Saying These Things about Health Care Reform?", Health Beat, March 3, 2009.
  11. url = http://www.casewatch.org/doj/hca/schilling.pdf
  12. url = http://www.casewatch.org/doj/hca/thompson.pdf
  13. Zachary Roth Health-Reform Foe Runs Firm Serving Patients Who Would Benefit From Public Option TPM Muckraker, September 30, 2009
  14. Dan Eggen, Washington Post Ex-Hospital CEO Battles Reform Effort: Ads Cite Long Waits In Canada and Britain May 11, 2009
  15. Jeff Woods Health Care Enemy No. 1: Rick Scott Leads Fight Against Obama Reforms The Nashville Scene (blog), May 11, 2009
  16. Pete Hamby Health care critic advises 'divide and conquer' strategy CNN Political Ticker. October 19, 2009
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Adam Weinstein,The $1.45 Trillion Fighter Jet—and the Florida Deficit Hawks Who Love It, Mother Jones, May 23rd, 2012.
  18. Sarah Kliff,Florida rejects Medicaid expansion, leaves 1 million uninsured, The Washington Post, May 5th, 2013.