One-time Medicare fraudster and current Florida governor, Rick Scott, is now trying to pass legislation that would change some of the rules for Medicaid in Florida. The catch is that these rules changes would open up some amazing opportunities for health care company Solantic, which is owned by the governor.
In 2005, a Florida Medicaid pilot program started letting certain patients use their Medicaid dollars at private clinics, like the numerous Solantic clinics that Rick Scott owns. The proposed law, which is now with Florida legislators, would also give privately managed care companies broad new powers to limit access or decrease benefits to Medicaid patients, according to Mother Jones. Despite the fact that the trial program has had numerous problems with reduced access and patient delays, Scott and the Republicans look like they are going to try and force it through anyway, in the name of saving money.
Rick Scott also recently made an executive order that requires many state workers to take random drug tests, and has pushed Florida legislators to make the same requirement for Welfare recipients. Of course, Solantic also offers drug testing. Quite a nice side benefit for Mr. Scott. Of course, Scott got rid of any conflict of interest, at least in his deluded mind, by giving his $62 million share of Solantic to his wife.
Now there may be a case that the Medicaid changes will be better for Florida (that’s not what the studies of the current trial program have shown, but you can still make a case). You can also make a case that people taking money from the government, either through a job or an entitlement, should be subjected to drug testing. But should an elected official be able to push through legislation and sign executive orders that will eventually put millions in his own pocket?
Making matters even more murky is the fact that Rick Scott made his fortune by defrauding government health care programs. Scott was the head of Columbia/HCA Healthcare, which was found guilty of fraud to the tune of $2 billion, the largest fraud case in history at the time. Scott left the company, complete with golden parachute and hundreds of millions in ill-gotten gains, just before the verdict. His testimony in the case was largely just his repetition of his 5th amendment rights.
How in the world can the state allow someone like this to draft legislation and create laws that will directly benefit himself? How can passing a company to your wife’s name make it OK to make laws that will fill the company’s coffers?
These are the kind of questions you get to ask when you elect a fraudster as a governor.