Ric Scott is the Republican nominee for Governor of the state of Florida. We have had times in this country when governors of states were some of the most reprehensible people one could imagine.
We have had people like Orville Faubus of Arkansas who said that black children would go to school with white children over his dead body. We have had three separate governors of Illinois, Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, and George Ryan who went to prison.
We had a governor of Alaska who simply resigned in the middle of her term to capitalize on her popularity as a Vice Presidential candidate. She did, in fact, make at least $12 million having a book ghost written for her and making speeches to Right Wing Neoconservative groups.
We had a governor who had an affair with a Latin American woman, who left on what he told his wife was a hiking trip in the Appalachians and ended up in South America.
But now we have one of the most bizarre of all situations, in fact, two of them, but one much more outrageous than the other. Ric Scott, a rather wild-eyed, bald man of probably fifty-something, ran a company Columbia-HCA, a hospital company that cheated the government out of very large sums of money. So large were they, that the government fined his corporation $1.7 billion dollars.
Ric Scott carried on Medicare and Medicaid fraud. But now he is the candidate on the Neocon Party for the governorship of Florida, the state with perhaps the greatest number of Medicare and Medicaid patients per capita in the country. So, the question is…will he somehow try to steal the Medicare and Medicaid funds in Florida? Will he?
We have no idea, because he basically says that he is proud of his record as President of a company that stole from Medicare and Medicaid. He says that he takes responsibility but fails to say that Jay A. Jarrell and Robert W. Whiteside, each the head of a division of Columbia-HCA went to jail.
Rick Scott didn’t go to jail and that is why, astonishingly, he could run for governor of Florida. He walked away with $100 million…or perhaps more while the company he co-founded paid over a billion in fines for actions he apparently condoned. In his recent campaign for the Neocon nomination to be Florida’s governor, he is said to have spent $50 million.
Ric Scott got his start in the hospital business, after service in the Navy and after law school, by putting up $125,000 of his own money to join a partner…and there must have been others…to purchase two hospitals for $60 million. He then bought another hospital nearby and promptly closed it down. His two hospitals began to do well.
Then his company, Columbia, bought other hospitals–Basic American Medical, then Galen Health Care, then Healthtrust and HCA (for Hospital Corporation of America.) By 1997, Columbia-HCA had revenues of $23 billion. Little Ric Scott from Bloomington, IL, by way of Southern Methodist Law School and a Dallas law firm where one of his clients was Tom Hicks, billionaire buddy of George W. Bush, was doing quite well. But apparently not well enough for him.
Columbia-HCA decided that patients were not as important as profits for Ric Scott. As he said after his nomination as Neocon governor candidate, apparently the voters don’t care about anything except that he is very successful, once took $125,000 out of the bank for a short period of time until he could get funding to buy a $60 million hospital group. He apparently doesn’t know as every management consultant does, that most entrepreneurs use everything they have to get started and work on short rations, and they don’t have friends who can loan them $59,875,000 to go out and buy hospitals in order to cheat the elderly and poor.
Columbia-HCA, according to investigators and court records, were found to have conducted virtually every kind of fraud imaginable. They billed Medicare and Medicaid for services to ineligible patients. They billed for more expensive services than those actually performed.
They billed for lab tests that were never conducted and billed inaccurately (on purpose?) and more expensively for some other lab tests. They billed for home health care services that were never provided. They billed for unnecessary home health services. They referred patients in improper ways…kickbacks?…in improper relationships with physicians. And in some cases they simply committed fraud in cost reports.
In 2010, ten years after leaving Columbia-HCA with a reported $100 million, Ric Scott, on primary election night, was clearly proud of his victory. The people had confirmed what he feels, or so it seemed from his interview. People like successful if unethical executives and feel that fraud is just a part of business.
Yes, he was the head of a company that paid a $1.7 billion dollar fine for fraud against a system taking care of widows and orphans, the extremely aged and ill and the extremely impoverished and ill. Though despised by some, even perhaps hated by others, Ric Scott clearly sees himself as a successful man. As do Neocon Republicans in Florida.
Ric Scott is successful. He lives the American Dream. He likes to point out that his $125,000 (plus we would guess another $59,875,000 from other parties) enabled him to buy the string of companies that allowed his company to cheat Medicare and Medicaid out of….? We don’t know. Billions?
Ric Scott took responsibility, he says for the fraud. But others went to jail. He did not. Why? We mentioned that his client in Dallas was Tom Hicks. Tom Hicks is a neighbor and close friend of George W. Bush, son of the first President Bush, who is a close friend of Bill Clinton who was President at the time of Columbia-HCA fraud.
Hicks is a billionaire, and was owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team and obviously many other things, including media networks. In the 1990s Ric Scott was one of the owners of the Texas Rangers. George W. Bush was the President of the Texas Rangers.
Everyone knew everyone. Scott never went to jail.
After leaving Columbia-HCA, Scott, ever the entrepreneur, started a company, a group of clinics called Solantic. Solantic has been sued and in those suits settled out of court for what are alleged to be violations of discrimination against elderly employees.
One employee has come forward to allege that Scott has been up to his old tricks. Randy Prokes claims that Scott was over-billing Medicare, allowing nurse practitioners to see patients without a physician’s supervision and listing Prokes as physician in cases in which he was not involved.
Is Ric Scott simply an inveterate con artist or a man always plagued by disloyal and fraudulent employees? The fact that he settled out of court doesn’t mean much. Prokes could have been a dissatisfied employee. Or Scott could be a crook. We don’t know.
What we do know is that Ric Scott feels that he has a very good deal and has a good way to make money from his clinics. So when he heard that the People were about to have an advocate in a President named Barack Obama, who was dead serious about helping Americans get affordable health care, Ric Scott sprang into action.
He set up a militant lobbying organization called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, cleverly acronymed…CPR. He spent $5 million towards a $20 million ad campaign and toward what can only be described as mobs who disrupted town hall meetings by members of the House of Representatives, trying to explain the new health care bill.
Ric Scott has cheated Medicare, which raises the cost to Florida’s elderly population, most of whom are retired and on fixed incomes. Ric Scott has cheated the government, apparently cheated employees of Solantic. Ric Scott has tried to kill health care legislation that will release many people from the clutches of greedy bastards like Ric Scott and the multi-million dollar health insurance CEOs.
Ric Scott claimed to have very efficient, i.e. profitable hospitals. Not hard to do when you are raising prices and billing Medicare for things you never did. Ric Scott claims to be someone who wants to represent the people. Yet he clings to the idea that people want someone who is successful…i.e., in his distorted view of life…have millions no matter how they got them. He may be right.
Ric Scott tried to ruin health care reform to line his own pocket. Ric Scott to all outward observation denied older workers jobs and equal opportunities to the point that he was sued and had to settle out of court. Ric Scott, after paying the largest fine in U.S. history for fraud, has been accused of once more of cheating Medicare and, therefore, the elderly and the poor.
How stupid are the people of Florida? Even Republicans get old. Even sick Republicans get sick, lose jobs, need help from time to time. This only proves that Republicans have completely lost their minds.