Today’s Herald column: ‘For-profit government in Florida’

Miami Herald cartoon by Jim Morin

It’s not just Solantic.

Rick Scott, the CEO/governor of Florida, owns other businesses that could benefit from his policies, whether now, or after he leaves the governor’s mansion.

A clip:

The quote that might best sum up Florida Gov. Rick Scott came in 1994, when he was still president of Columbia/HCA.
Scott was among those opposing “Hillarycare” — the Clinton administration’s failed attempt at healthcare reform, and pushing for privatization of Medicare. He claimed companies like his could do a better job running not just Medicare, but also Medicaid and Veterans Administration hospitals.

“Let us make a profit. So what?” Scott told USA Today.

Of course, Columbia/HCA made its profit by lying to the federal government about the services it provided Medicare, Medicaid and military TRICARE patients, and by giving doctors “loans” they didn’t have to repay as incentives to refer more patients, and more profits, to its hospitals.

Why rehash this history?

Because it indicates that Rick Scott is to business what a shark is to the ocean — a mindless, glassy-eyed profit eater.
In a contest of trust, I’d take the shark.

Florida’s ethics laws are supposed to prevent him from making money on his $70 million investment in the governorship. But whether he profits now or profits later, Rick Scott’s policies clearly stand to benefit his family’s bottom line.

At issue is Solantic, the chain of walk-in clinics Scott founded in 2001. Scott spent millions of dollars via his Astroturf group Conservatives for Patients Rights in 2009 fighting the horror of more people getting health insurance — and thus not needing Solantic’s services.

Today, Scott’s $62 million Solantic investment is safely in the hands of his homemaker wife. You know, for ethical purposes.

If he succeeds in killing a pill mill database to track Oxycontin doctor-shopping by the Rush Limbaughs of the world (replaced by an $800,000 “strike force .?.?. !”), it could benefit both Solantic and Pharmaca, a pharmacy and herbal remedy chain that’s one of Scott’s lesser-known investments. Pharmaca got a $5.5 million cash injection from Richard L. Scott Investments, LLC, in 2003.

And there’s the potential Solantic bonanza from Scott and the GOP’s plan to drug test welfare recipients and the entire Florida public workforce, despite zero evidence of masses of struggling single moms, teachers, police officers and administrative personnel working while high.

The Legislature is preparing to realize Scott’s Medicaid privatization dream by shoving more indigent patients into HMOs, as has been done, disastrously, in Broward County. Low and behold, Mother Jones magazine points out this month that part of the 2005 pilot project in Broward involves allowing Medicaid recipients to use their benefits at private clinics, like Solantic. …

Read the rest here.
And then, read this.

The evidence is growing that Rick Scott ran for governor in order to lay the groundwork for future riches for himself and his cronies. As one commenter at the Herald points out, HCA veterans fill the ranks of Solantic, including the company’s CEO, and members of its board.

For example, CEO Karen Bowling worked for both Columbia/HCA AND Pharmaca.

Board member Charles Evans was president of HCA’s Eastern Group, which included operation of its Florida hospitals.

Another board member, Thomas Scully, specializes in “healthcare investments,” which in layman’s terms, means buying healthcare assets, like hospitals. His full profile from Businessweek:

Mr. Thomas A. Scully is a General Partner at Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe and Director at Wildcat Clo LLC. Mr. Scully focuses on healthcare investments at the firm. He joined the firm in 2004 as a Senior Operating Executive and became a General Partner in 2006. He supports the firm’s existing broad base of health investments and develops and evaluates new investment opportunities. Mr. Scully is a Senior Counsel at Alston & Bird since January 1, 2004. At Alston and Bird, his law practice focuses on healthcare regulatory and legislative matters, as well as on advising clients on health policy and strategies for healthcare delivery. Mr. Scully is also a Manager at Ardent Health Services LLC. Previously, he was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate as the Administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, where he served from 2001 to 2003. Mr. Scully was also the President and Chief Executive Officer at the Federation of American Hospitals for six years from January 1995 to May 2001. He practiced law as a Partner at Alston and Bird; Patton Boggs; and Akin, Gump, Strauss Hauer and Feld, where his practice focused on regulatory and legislative work in health care. Before joining the law firm, Mr. Scully worked at the White House in the first Bush administration: as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (‘OMB’) from 1992 to 1993; and as an Associate Director of OMB for Human Resources, Veterans and Labor from 1989 to 1992. In 1988, he worked on the Bush for President campaign. Mr. Scully was an Attorney at Akin Gump from 1985 to 1988 and he worked for the United States Senator Slade Gorton from 1980 to 1985. He is a Director of Solantic since June 23, 2008. Mr. Scully has been a Director of Select Medical Corporation and Select Medical Holdings Corporation since February 11, 2004 and MemberHealth, LLC since November 17, 2005. He fills an open seat on Select’s board, bringing the total number of board members to ten. Mr. Scully received a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1979 and a J.D. from Catholic University in 1986.

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4 Responses to Today’s Herald column: ‘For-profit government in Florida’

  1. Rupert says:

    As Betty Cracker said.
    Excellent column; it was nice to open the Herals this a.m.

  2. jreid says:

    Thank you guys :)

  3. Louie says:

    Please don’t stop stay on this scumbag until we have legislation in place to remove him or he gets arrested. excellent work on your part!

  4. Onceuponatime says:

    In light of the recent recall’s of Miami-Dade Mayor Alvarez, I saw a cool new bumper sticker: “RECALL RICK SCOTT!”

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