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The Shady (and Criminal) Life and Times of Rick Scott



Rick Scott’s shady dealings started back in his early days. In 1987, at age 34, he co-founded Columbia Hospital Corporation with two business partners; this merged with Hospital Corporation of America in 1989, to form Columbia/HCA and eventually became the largest private for-profit healthcare company in the U.S.

He was pressured to resign as chief executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997, amid a controversy over the company’s business and Medicare billing practices. During his tenure as chief executive, he oversaw the company while it defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs.

Rick Scott ‘oversaw the largest Medicare fraud’ in U.S. history, Florida Democratic Party says.

First, Gov. Rick Scott scared the bejesus out of seniors with an online ad claiming that Medicare rate cuts would lead them to lose access to their doctors, hospitals and preventive care.

Then, the Florida Democratic Party fired back at Scott, issuing a press release that called Scott “the ultimate Medicare thief.”

$1.7 Billion. That’s how much the federal government fined Columbia/HCA for Medicare and Medicaid fraud that took place under Rick Scott’s watch as CEO. That sum, which ultimately led to Scott’s ouster, set a record for the largest fine of its kind in history.

This is just one of many shady dealings Rick Scott, who is now running for U.S. Senator of Florida, has amassed throughout his private and political career.

Profiteering from drug tests of low-income families

Florida’s program was a tremendous success in the mind of Rick Scott. In actuality, it moved millions of public dollars into Rick Scott’s pocket. In 2011 he signed a law requiring that recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds undergo mandatory drug testing in order to receive benefits.

This was met with much ridicule, in that the supposed benefit of saving money not given to welfare recipients who tested positive for drug use was overshadowed by the cost of the tests—which were done by Solantic, a company that Scott started and transferred his ownership shares to his wife.

Never mind that 25% of welfare recipients are actually children. (Children of drug users do not need to eat. It is known.)

Scott made it a point to say these recipients of public money were required to be held accountable to the public. In a blatant display of hypocrisy, Scott refused to take a drug test as a recipient of public money when asked by The Daily Show.[3]

So, when are we going to start checking for other crimes? It’s almost as if there’s some kind of stigma associated with welfare.

An about face on the Affordable Care Act

He’s opposed to Obamacare and came up with a thing called “Conservatives for Patients’ Rights”, managed by CRC Public Relations of Swiftboating fame, which uses scare tactics and deceit against universal health care.[1]

Thus, pressured by the challenges of an aging constituency, Scott flip-flopped several times about expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. So far, the state House of Representatives has voted against expanding coverage. With no state-level exchange, ACA shoppers in Florida are directed to the federal exchange.

During the 2014 election, he came out in support of the ACA after his mother died without obtaining treatment. In 2015, after winning reelection, Scott promptly turned around and went back to opposing the ACA, because clearly, family is not as important as his career.

Baby killer

After it was discovered that two for-profit hospitals were in gross violation of the state health standards by having a death rate more than three times the national average on pediatric open-heart surgery, the state of Florida “fixed” the problem by repealing state standards. In what is assuredly a bout of amazing coincidence, Scott accepted a $100,000 donation from the company that owns the hospitals.[4][5]

And what special sort of self-serving asshole do you need to be to accept a $100,000 “donation” from a hospital in the first place? Shouldn’t it be the politicians donating to the hospitals? Rick Scott’s net worth is estimated to be between $83 million and $220 million.[6]

War on women

He signed into law an anti-abortion bill that cuts off women’s access and public funding to health services that provide abortion. It requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital – a type of formal affiliation that can be difficult to obtain. It requires annual inspection of clinics by health authorities and tightened rules on disposal of aborted fetal tissue. This in addition to slashing funding for cancer screenings, pap smears, and birth control. This runs the risk of having HIV and teen pregnancy rates skyrocket because of these regressive laws. [7]

Climate change

Despite living in the U.S. state most likely to be heavily impacted by anthropogenic global warming through hurricanes and rising ocean levels, Scott has verbally forbidden state employees from using the terms “climate change” or “global warming”.[8][9] When asked to comment on what he thinks is responsible for the increase in hurricane activity over previous decades, Scott’s response was “I’m not a scientist.”[10]

Denies critical healthcare to children and families living with HIV

“Given the increased number of those now living with HIV in Florida, it is deplorable that Governor Scott has continued to play with people’s lives while padding the pockets of a group of for-profit companies,” said Donna Stidham, Chief of Managed Care for AHF.

“Many of these patients, currently covered by PHC, have been seeing their doctor for years, even decades, and are thriving in care. These same patients will suffer disruption of treatment and can suffer substandard care if they are simply dumped into the general patient population, or if their care is jobbed out by huge, for-profit insurance companies for treatment by a family medicine doctor or general practitioner without HIV expertise.”

While Scott and his cronies continue to play “business as usual” politics, the 2,000 HIV patients currently covered by PHC have become vulnerable to maintaining the care they critically need to stay alive, as they will be forced to choose for-profit companies that don’t cover the doctors they have come to rely on and trust for over a decade of quality, life-saving care.[11]

Denies access to smokable cannabis to thousands of patients

The Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, is a constitutional law which was approved by 71.3 percent of Florida voters in the November 8, 2016, general election in the State of Florida.

Florida Legislature passed, and Governor Rick Scott signed, a provision that defines “medical use” to exclude “possession, use or administration of marijuana in a form for smoking.” John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who spearheaded and financed the successful campaign to make medical access to cannabis a constitutional right, filed a lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court on July 6, 2017, asking the court to declare the law implementing the 2016 constitutional amendment unenforceable.

Circuit Judge Karen Gievers agreed with constitutional law expert Jon Mills who was a part of the case, that Amendment 2 included a definition of “all types of medical marijuana.”

The state, approved by Rick Scott, immediately filed an appeal, which effectively blocked the implementation of Gievers’ ruling denying thousands of medical cannabis patients the right, under the constitutional law, to use cannabis in smokable form.

Had Rick Scott not decided to appeal Gievers ruling, it would have allowed the 115,000 authorized medical cannabis users the opportunity to smoke their medicine on the orders of a physician. But the impact has been placed on a delay for the appellate review. On behalf of the Department of Health, lawyers from the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice of appeal minutes after Gievers handed down her decision.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott’s opponent running for U.S. Senate, said he, unlike Rick Scott, supports letting patients with cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS and other conditions smoke medical marijuana in private.[12]

Gievers said the state’s ban caused irreparable harm to patients who could not get the treatment recommended for them.[13]

Hurricane Irma

An investigation by WFOR-TV found that after Hurricane Irma, Scott ignored existing debris removal contracts and instead issued emergency contracts for hurricane clean-up efforts. Florida state officials sent an email to several companies on September 11 inviting them to hand in bids for debris clean-up by the next day.

On September 13, state officials decided to use the services of MCM and Community Asphalt, two firms owned by individuals who are major contributors to the Republican Party and Scott’s campaigns. According to the television station, the emergency contracts cost $28 to $30 million more than the existing contracts. [14]

References



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Steven Peters

Owner & Publisher at Natural Revolution
Steven Peters has been a health advocate for more than a decade and proponent for alternative healing by ‘Empowering Natural Living’ through homeopathic approaches. He is also an activist for social justice and environmental causes in the GMO Labeling and Non-GMO grassroots movements across the country, and a staunch advocate for cannabis education and reform.

Read more about Steven Peters.
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