A new chapter in the "Donald J. Trump Book of Malevolence."
Trump has recently turned his attention to health care so who does he choose as his new healthcare czar? You can't make this stuff up. He goes for Rick Scott, the guy behind the largest medicare fraud in his nation's history.
This is the same Rick Scott who, as governor of Florida, absolutely denied the existence of climate change even as the Sunshine State was battered by one massive hurricane after another.
If the Trump administration has a domestic policy doctrine at this point, it could be described as the following practice: the appointment of industry insiders to Cabinet-level positions in order to deregulate or otherwise surgically dismantle the protections of a given department.
In this spirit comes the announcement that Florida Senator Rick Scott intends to deliver on President Trump’s promise that the GOP “will soon be known as the party of health care.” On Thursday, Trump told reporters that Scott, and fellow Republican Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, will lead the party’s push on health-care reform.
“They are going to come up with something really spectacular,” the president said.
If by spectacular, he means a candidate who was at the helm of a company that pleaded guilty to historic efforts to defraud Medicare, the president has found his man. In the 1990s, Scott was the CEO of Columbia/HCA, a company that, under his direction, owned more than 340 hospitals, 135 surgery centers, and 550 home-health locations by the time Scott resigned in 1997. That year, federal agents announced an investigation into whether or not the company defrauded Medicare and Medicaid on a massive scale. Turns out, they did: According to Politifact’s summary of the settlement Columbia/HCA made with the Justice Department, the company took the following actions while Scott was CEO:
Columbia billed Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs for tests that were not necessary or ordered by physicians;
The company attached false diagnosis codes to patient records to increase reimbursement to the hospitals;
The company illegally claimed non-reimbursable marketing and advertising costs as community education;
Columbia billed the government for home health-care visits for patients who did not qualify to receive them.In corporation-friendly America, scofflaws walk. No jail time. Just fines. Columbia paid $1.7 billion in fines and other costs and penalties but no one went to jail (sound familiar?).
Scott left the company in disgrace and with oodles of money. How much? Who knows but it was more than enough to buy him, a medicare scofflaw, a ticket to the Governor's Mansion.
In 2010, Scott spent $75 million of his own fortune to become the governor of Florida; after vowing he wouldn’t do that again, Scott then spent $12.8 million of his family’s money to propel his 2014 reelection campaign. To make it something of an exorbitant tradition, Scott self-financed his 2018 campaign to the tune of $63.6 million.Hmm, I wonder if Scott and Conrad Black are pals. They were both resident in Florida around the same time only, for part of it, Conrad's abode was a penitentiary cell.