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Derailed

I always thought that Rick Scott would manage to destroy Florida by the end of his term, but I was wrong. At the rate he’s going he’ll destroy it LONG before then.

In just under two months Scott has taken command of a state with Titanic potential, and actively sought out an iceberg to steer it into. Much like the Titanic, yesterday he hit the big one. Unlike Scott, at least the ship builders Harland and Wolff had a vision to try to build a bold new mode of transportation. But Rick Scott? His only vision at this point appears to be seeking revenge against the nation’s first black President (or as Scott refers to them, one of “those people.”) who dared to tackle another industry in dire need of reform: health care. We all know about Rick Scott’s experience with that, where he left behind the company he owned and ran to make the history books in the subject of Medicare fraud. Perhaps his eyes are on a bigger prize now as a one man death panel who steers patients to private clinics, like his current company, Solantic. But that’s an issue for another day.

Rick Scott managed to get elected somehow, in spite of his past business background. Perhaps people in Florida were so desperate or naive that they actually bought what he was selling. I would imagine that even his die-hard supporters have a touch of voters remorse. The GOP certainly has buyers remorse after groveling at Scott’s feet when he defeated their preferred candidate, Bill McCollum. He not only flipped off voters, maybe a couple corporate donors, and his own party, he even seems confused about his own policies with yesterday’s rejection of high-speed rail. That decision has left many scratching their heads, and may have just convinced even the former doubters that he has become the Master Of Disaster for Florida. The only groups he seems to have catered to is that small minority of ignorant Tea Partiers who probably have trouble balancing their own bank accounts and think that fairies, not taxes, fill the potholes that are big enough for them to drive their pickup trucks through. (They’ll figure it out soon enough when the next hurricane comes along and they’re forced to rely on the former disaster management crew from Wal-Mart. But again, another issue for another day.)

The other group that’s happy about Scott’s decision? Why that would be a libertarian “think tank,” the Reason Foundation, which wrote the so-called report Scott relied on to base his decision on rather than an upcoming study from the Florida Department of Transportation he claimed to be waiting for. Counted among the he Reason Foundation’s Board of Trustees is none other than David H. Koch, of Koch Industries, and yes, one more rather large can of worms.

For someone who claims to be an outsider, well, sort of. He’s an outsider to reality. He wants to run Florida like a business? Sure, a bad one, but then look at his track record. His campaign promises? Well, you’re a sucker if you believed them.

The high-speed rail project was a good business decision that was a sorely needed “gift” to Florida, where traffic and gridlock have been a growing problem for decades. I can vouch for at least the last 30 years, but ask those who have dealt with it even longer. Of course for someone who travels by private jet as Scott does, that’s hardly a problem for him. As for the rest of us, well we can just keep on sucking exhaust fumes while we sit in traffic and spend hours moving through parking lots like I4 where it takes a large chunk out of your day to travel to a place that should only take an hour or two. Mind you, this is Florida, not the New York area or even California. We’re talking say  Tampa to Orlando.

The “gift” Florida got from the high-speed rail project brought us $2.4 billion in federal funds. The project would have created more than 23,000 jobs, some of which have already begun, where we have a 20 percent unemployment rate. Private businesses were lining up for bids on the project, bids that will never materialize if Scott gets his way. However, since the gift came from President Obama, well, Florida will just have to go without all that, even though Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs (never mind the 8700 jobs that he cut last week) and he claimed Florida would become a major attraction to the private sector and therefore prosperity for every resident. Not only has Scott doomed high-speed rail, we’re probably doomed form any other companies and jobs that may have come to Florida. People who actually know how to run a business, unlike Gov. Dictator, would probably view Florida as a really bad risk for investment as long as the Governor is a fickle operator who could pull the plug at any given moment as he did with the rail project. Of course, that’s over and above the problem of trusting a man whose first company became a textbook case on Medicare fraud.

Two days ago Scott went on (what else?) FOX-GOP-TV to proclaim “I know what needs to happen in Florida,” and “I know what our citizens need.” He was talking about one of his other “projects,” Medicaid and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He also blasted the “evil demon” stimulus bill, which he claims will cause dependency. (Today Scoot meets with BP claims czar Ken Feinberg over the problems of oil spill claims. Perhaps he’ll tell Feinberg  to withhold claims altogether so those whose businesses were hurt by the oil gusher don’t become too dependent on any relief?)

Does Scott “know what Florida needs? No. In fact he has proven he has absolutely no clue. While he turned down that $2.4 billion for high-speed rail, he said that he “believes Florida is better served by investments in ports, highways and other infrastructure to create long-term jobs.” What the clueless Governor fails to grasp is the not so little detail of how that $2.4 billion can be spent. One might ask Scott what part of the words “high-speed rail funds” he doesn’t understand, because the concept seems to have him stumped.

If the money isn’t used for high-speed rail as intended, Florida loses that money. In fact if Scott had bothered to study up on it, he would know that we got some of those funds because another clueless Governor turned them down as well. No, Scott may think he can use those funds any way he wants, perhaps even on himself or maybe use it for his wife’s Governor’s mansion redecorating fund for all we know. That money will now go elsewhere if Scott doesn’t change his mind. There’s a reason why, barely minutes after the news of Scott’s stupidity broke, states like California and New York were already scrambling for the funds as if billions of dollars had just descended from the heavens at their feet. High-speed rail is popular and a good thing. What happened to the Governor who recently said “he would be spending a great deal of time in Washington making sure Florida gets its fair share?” So far he’s taken our fair share and thrown it back in President Obama’s face.

As I write, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and yes, even Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica, who Scott managed to flip off as well yesterday are scrambling to do damage control with an end run around the decision.

There’s even talk of recall. Yesterday Representative Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg) filed legislation to permit the recall of state officials. You can read and track those bills: HJR785 here, and HB787 here. The bills may offer a glimmer of hope, considering the disastrous first couple of months of Scott’s “Dictator-like” rule where he operates away from the press but in front of Tea Baggers, the only choir he preaches to.

Scott is Mr. Fiscal when it comes to the serious needs of the homeless, the elderly, the mentally ill. State workers, the unemployed, teachers, students, veterans, and countless others I’ve not listed here will get no relief from Scott. When it comes to these things, he wants to cut, cut, cut. When it comes to lavish Inaugural festivities made possible with hefty donations from private businesses of course, well that’s another story. I’m sure there’s more than a donor or two who now wish they had that money back. But they’ll just have to get in line with the rest of us.

In just a few short weeks Scott has managed to turn the words “all aboard” into derailed plans for prosperity in the future, and he’s just getting warmed up. He’s moving on to several new icebergs, and if things don’t change pretty soon, we’ll all be going down with the ship.

Because uprooting and moving out-of-state is an unacceptable and pretty drastic alternative as a life-raft, for those who can still afford one.

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Shortly after he was elected Governor, Rick Scott proclaimed that Florida was “open for business.” He wasn’t kidding. Yesterday he spoke at his first meeting where he laid out his agenda. The meeting was itself open to business, but closed to the press, and therefore closed to the people of Florida.

In his typical hush-hush fashion, Scott met with business leaders from the Florida Council Of 100 at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. He chose to share his plans with businesses who are more likely to benefit from his policies than anyone else, and apparently sought to enlist their help to fulfill his promise in creating those 700,000 jobs he proposed during his campaign. It also seems to have served as a means to recruit the first recipients of those new jobs. Towards the end of the speech, Scott said this:

Finally let me tell you what I need from you.

I’m now looking for the best talent I can find to join my team in Tallahassee.

The meeting was private and closed to the press, but after the meeting Scott released a copy of his “prepared remarks,” so we can only assume those were the actual remarks delivered, and odd remarks they were.

It’s no secret that Scott intends to run the State like a business. He said as much during his campaign. However, the extent to those intentions becomes eerily clear after reading his prepared speech. I had to read it twice just to make sure I actually read it correctly, and I still came away thinking “whaa….??”

Before I explain why, I first want to address another alarming tactic Rick Scott practices: Secrecy. First there’s that whole Medicare fraud problem. While Scott was never charged with Medicare fraud, his former company Columbia/HCA is the record holder of Medicare fraud fines, to the tune of $1.7 billion, and Scott was at the helm when it occurred. However, Scott’s bio has kindly been “edited” on his new transition website. There’s no mention of the Columbia/HCA Medicare fraud. That history has been re-written: “when Rick Scott left Columbia/HCA in 1997 “it was one of the most admired companies in America.” (Well, sure if you admire fraud, or you’re writing a textbook on business ethics.) Also, during that investigation Scott took the fifth 75 times.

Then there’s Scott’s current company Solantic and that deposition he refuses to release. He’s also not a fan of public debate with political opponents, he’s loathe to talk with reporters, and famously refused to meet with even one newspaper editorial board during his campaign.

We’ve also witnessed the foreboding signs of things to come as far as transparency goes in the Sunshine State. While the new Senate President Mike Haridopolos grabbed a drill and made a great show of removing the doors to his office earlier in the week, it was little more than a photo-op disguised as an actual “open-door policy.” His office doors may be gone, but his first meeting to negotiate veto overrides with Rick Scott took place in the president’s box during an FSU-Clemson game on Saturday. So much for “government in the sunshine.”

Which brings us back to the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, where we find Rick Scott speaking to the Florida Council of 100, and where the press was not allowed. Even the details of who banned the press from the meeting are murky. Scott claims that no, it was NOT HIM who wouldn’t allow reporters in the meeting, certainly not! No, Scott blames that on the Council of 100:

(Scott) put the blame on the council for keeping reporters away. “It’s their decision and we’re respecting their decision,” Scott spokesman Brian Burgess said. “We respect the circumstances under which they invited us.”

The Council however, explained it this way:

Council of 100 President Susan Pareigis said Scott’s folks never asked for it to be open. “It’s a private membership meeting,” Pareigis said. “There’s no question-and-answer. It’s in-and-out and it’s pretty quick.”

Details aside, there’s no disputing that the meeting was very much a private meeting between the soon to be Governor and business leaders, and closed to the public and the press. That those businesses are privy to the Governor’s plans and the State’s future, but its citizens are not is cause for alarm in a climate where businesses and the candidates themselves are in a position to simply “buy” an elected office with little or no disclosure. When the entire Republican Party, from the newly elected Congressmen and women, to Governor, the Attorney General, and right on down to the State legislature are endorsed by the local and national Chambers Of Commerce, and essentially an arm of FOX, which may dictate policy and give them their marching orders, where if at all, do mere “voters” fit in? Where does it end?

Certainly not with yesterday’s meeting:

Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and future House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, are giving closed-door speeches to the group on Friday.

So much for those missing office doors. It’s Rick Scott and Mike Haridopolos who are unhinged, forget the empty symbolism. That may sound harsh, but read some of those “prepared remarks” from the speech Scott gave before our new corporate overlords yesterday. You be the judge. Keep in mind the “run Florida like a business” mindset of Rick Scott – who was never charged but whose company was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud.

The Orlando Sentinel summed up Scott’s ideas for Florida (or “Florida, Inc.”) this way:

What’s perhaps more interesting in the speech is the tone — the simple, declarative sentences — and his analysis of state government as if it were a business. Putting aside any debate on the merits of that approach — state government doesn’t exist to make a profit, and a good chunk of its expenditures are entitlements that people rely on and can’t easily be changed — Scott’s assertions are fundamental corporate-speak. For instance:

  • “The State of Florida is like a lot of companies.
  • “Its overhead is too high.
  • “It has more mid-level managers than it needs.
  • “Its financial controls are too weak.
  • “It hasn’t been clear about its core competencies.
  • “It doesn’t measure enough.
  • “And it lacks a sufficiently focused strategic plan.”

He may have a so-called business plan, but does he have a vision? If he does will we ever hear about it before it’s too late?

You can read Scott’s prepared remarks here.

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I thought things were bad last week when Republicans not only won back control of the House, but also took control of my state as well. All election analysis aside, people seem to agree that a lot of voters stayed home rather than vote because this Administration hasn’t moved quickly enough to clean up the mess that eight years of the Bush/Cheney Administration left us with. This made me angry at those voters for being unrealistic in their expectations. I was one of the people who have defended the Obama Administration since day one in spite of compromises with Republicans who don’t deserve them in the least.

I bit my nails and nearly made myself ill watching every minute of the struggle to get a watered down health care reform law passed and cheered for the result we ended up with. I defended Obama when other liberals and progressives complained that it wasn’t good enough. And the health care bill was just one example.

Today what headline did I wake up to?

This one:

“WHITE HOUSE GIVES IN ON BUSH TAX CUTS”

I see that President Obama wasn’t kidding when he said he was willing to make compromises with Republicans after his “shellacking” in the election last week.

Now, granted, I’m just an unemployed blogger, but I have to say this to the President and his Administration who seem a bit confused over the results of the election last week:

A large part of the reason you were “shellacked” in the election last week is because you’ve compromised too much in the name of “bipartisanship” already. Much of your base didn’t stay home because they like the Republicans better. If they did they would have voted for them.

So now it sounds as if you are compromising once again.

You’re going to continue to try “bipartisanship” once again.

That’s a shame because the Republicans have no interest in “bipartisanship” or “compromise.” They won’t stop until you completely give in to all their demands. And then they’ll kick you for it in return. Then demand something else.

For the next. Two. Years.

Here in Florida Democrats lost in this election big time. For starters, Alan Grayson who was a rare breed of congressmen who really stood up for working families and tried to do the right thing, lost. He’s the one who said the Republicans health care plan was “Don’t get sick, but if you do, die quickly.” and was chastised for doing so. Well, he was right. The Republicans are proving him right in that they threaten to repeal and replace the health care laws you fought for, and then watered down.

Today David Axelrod says that while you will veto such a repeal, you will “work with people” who “have constructive ideas about how to strengthen” it. Really? And who might that be? It certainly won’t be the Republicans. It won’t be the voters. We have no say in the matter and the closest we get to having any “input” beyond our vote is a request from the Democratic Party for contributions which you won’t use to defend congressmen who will actually make a difference, like Alan Grayson.

Grayson’s opponent Daniel Webster and Marco Rubio, courtesy of SCOTUS and Citizens United via truckloads of undisclosed donations that drowned out the opposition both won. They’re Republicans who want to defeat you and your policies.

Rick Scott, our newly elected Governor spent $73 million dollars of his own money and won, in spite of the fact that the former company he owned and ran was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud.

Yes. Medicare fraud. He’s now the Governor of Florida. He’s a Republican. He also wants to get rid of the health care reform law, but you know that since he was the one who led the fight against it in the first place when he formed Conservatives For Patients’ Rights. He hasn’t changed his position.

He’ll have lots of help with our newly elected Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi, who vows to continue to move forward in the lawsuit that was filed along with other states against the health care reform law. She also won courtesy of SCOTUS and Citizens United via truckloads of undisclosed donations and Karl Rove.

They all want the same thing, and it’s NOT compromise or bipartisanship. They want to cut everything, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education, and on and on. They also want a permanent Republican government and all the perks and money that come with it at our citizens expense.

Most of them are also millionaires. And now you’re going to sweeten the deal for them. You’re going to give them tax cuts that they don’t need when you could merely sit back and let them expire. This on top of the news yesterday that your “bipartisan” commission recommends drastic cuts to just about every conceivable thing they could come up with that didn’t interfere with incomes over $250,000 and the corporations who are pouring cash into funds used to elect the very people who want to defeat you and cut even more of these so called “entitlements” in order to further devastate what’s left of the middle class and sink this country into an oblivion of debt.

I’ll tell you what entitlements are: Tax cuts for the rich.

Mr. Axelrod says this is the only way the middle class can keep their tax cuts. Wrong. It’s not the only way. It’s the Republican’s way.

Mr. Axelrod says “We have to deal with the world as we find it,” and “The world of what it takes to get this done.” Wrong again. In 2008 I voted for “Change.” I didn’t vote for more of the “world as we find it.” If I wanted that I would have voted for the Republicans.

I voted for the candidate I thought would finally fight for the rights of the American people, and not the incompetent, foolish bullies who are dragging this country into a black hole and taking everyone in it with them.

If you plan to give in and not fight for us this time,  you’ve lost me for good. I won’t be fighting for you any longer.

“The world as we find it” isn’t good enough when there’s a better way. Not again.

Not this time.

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Yesterday’s New York Times published an editorial on last Tuesday’s election results. While most of the “Monday morning quarterback” analysis of the election has been to focus on the Republicans gaining a majority in the House, the editorial focused more on state elections, and for good reasons.

State elections got less attention in the media before the election and they may well slip under the radar now. But they shouldn’t.

For starters, statewide elections were extremely important for one simple reason: redistricting. This cycle showed a big push to elect Republican governors that would allow Republicans to redraw districts which will be more favorable to.. (Surprise!) Republicans, and the push was successful. They gained 10 Republican governors seats, and they are now in control of 20 states compared to the previous number of nine.

From the Times editorial:

The changes in state government will have another long-term effect as states begin the redistricting process to comply with the population changes documented in the 2010 census. This means that Republicans will be in a position to consolidate this year’s gains by redrawing Congressional and state legislative district lines to their advantage.

Sound familiar? It should. Last week Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendments 5 and 6, which will prevent districts from being redrawn unfairly to the advantage of Republicans. More importantly, when the state legislature tried to undercut them with Amendment 7 last July, it was thrown off the ballot because it was misleading to voters, which of course, was the entire point of Amendment 7 in the first place.

When Amendments 5 and 6 passed last week, the will of the people won out. Unfortunately, the day after the election, a suit was already being filed to undo Amendment 6, which would declare it invalid and prevent it from being enforced. Amendment 6 sets the rules for drawing Florida’s congressional districts.

Today Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolous (R-Merritt Island)) announced that Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Destin) will oversee the redrawing of Florida’s district lines based on the 2010 census.

If the name Gaetz sounds familiar to those who followed the debate over Amendments 5 and 6, the so-called “Fair Districts” amendments limiting the legislature’s ability to gerrymander districts that passed a statewide vote on Nov. 2, that’s because Gaetz’s son, state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, was a vocal opponent of 5 and 6.

In the week before the vote on Amendments 5 and 6, Matt penned an op-ed in theNorthwest Florida Daily News, urging readers to vote no on 5 and 6 because they would blunt “the conservative comeback” in Florida. The remarks were unusual, because anti-Fair Districts activists generally preferred to voice their opposition in less explicitly partisan terms. (Even if the Republican Party of Florida did largely fund the organized opposition to 5 and 6.) Matt’s argument was picked up by at least one tea party group, which included his op-ed in an email newsletter.

Voters in Florida may want fair districts, but the Republican controlled legislature is determined to change that as the above examples show.

Then there’s the fact that for some reason, a majority of voters in Florida elected Republican Rick Scott, who was not charged with Medicare fraud, to be their Governor. (But his company Columbia/HCA was fined more that $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud. His current company which runs private clinics,  Solantic, is also facing accusations. As Governor, Scott may now appoint the agency head who will be investigating Solantic as well.)

Among the things that Scott ran under during the campaign was his goal of privatizing Medicaid, which would direct recipients to private clinics, like the ones Scott owns. Scott also led the push to defeat President Obama’s health care reform legislation by forming his non-profit organization Conservatives For Patients Rights. Add to that, Florida is also leading the lawsuit against the new health care reform laws filed by Bill McCollum and joined by other states as well. A majority of Florida voters also elected Republican and FOX-GOP spokesmodel Pam Bondi (also brought to you via Sarah Palin’s endorsement) as Attorney General, who vows to continue the fight to strip health care reform away from Floridians who might benefit from it.

Rick Scott also plans to slash spending by cutting government jobs and education, stripping away regulations, eliminating income tax for businesses, reducing property taxes, and many other cuts in order to “run Florida like a business.” (Recall again, Scott oversaw the company with one of the largest fines ever charged in a Medicare fraud case, which he was forced to leave, and so was never himself charged with Medicare fraud.)

Now it remains to be seen which of these goals Scott will actually be able to reach. They are lofty goals indeed and some might even say unrealistic given the realities Florida is facing. Making all of those cuts while promising to add 700,000 jobs at the same time may involve some tricky maneuvers. Scott may well be adept at tricky maneuvers, but it will take some doing in that he faces a veto proof legislature who may have different goals of their own. Campaign promises and wishful thinking don’t count.

Going back to the Times editorial:

There is no way that these newly elected Republican lawmakers and governors can follow through on their promises to erase huge deficits without raising taxes — except by making irresponsibly draconian cuts in critical state services, particularly for the poor and for education.

The states, like the federal government, need to get control of spending. That may mean dealing with out-of-control pensions. It may mean careful cuts in services combined with, yes, higher taxes. But with millions of people out of work, this is the worst possible time for the states to try to solve all their problems by simply slashing health care spending, spending on higher and elementary education, and services for the elderly and the poor. It would lead to tens of thousands of layoffs and even lower state revenues.

Many other states have little left to cut in government services. Nonetheless, as Monica Davey and Michael Luo reported in The Times this week, many newly elected Republican governors say they will balance their budgets that way. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry and several state lawmakers have even floated the idea of dropping out of the Medicaid program and creating a low-cost insurance program for the poor.

That is an irresponsible, and counterproductive, way to try to close the state’s $25 billion deficit. It would mean giving up the federal government’s 60 percent share of the Texas program’s $40 billion annual cost. And for nearly four million participants, it would reduce the level of health care far below a minimum standard.

No matter what the politicians have promised, there is no sound way to balance budgets, protect the most vulnerable people, and the states’ own economies, without some tax increases.

There’s also the matter of the stimulus money, which Florida is getting a big chunk of for high-speed rail projects. Scott has waffled on his support or the lack thereof for high-speed-rail. While other Republican Governors have talked big against the stimulus while accepting those very funds and taking credit for receiving them at the same time, yesterday Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated that any states which refuse to proceed with high-speed rail projects will lose those stimulus funds. If that condition holds true for Florida Scott will have to walk a fine line. If he stands in the way and blocks plans for high-speed rail in Florida, he’ll also be blocking an estimated 23,000 jobs, not to mention stimulating business development that will boost Florida’s economy which is sorely needed.

NY Times:

The Republicans’ big wins in Washington will make the states’ plight even worse. As part of their campaigns, Republican members of Congress have vowed to cut discretionary spending, much of which goes to state capitols. Meanwhile, federal stimulus money — decried by the Republicans — is drying up.

Rick Scott made a lot of big campaign promises to voters, and apparently they believed him, given his history with business and Medicare fraud. He portrayed himself to be an outsider, when in fact he lined up rather quickly with Republican cronies in a now veto proof legislature. He has to keep them and voters happy all at the same time, or risk the wrath of both. That in itself should be interesting to watch.

NY Times:

These highly partisan exercises in self-aggrandizement go on every 10 years, but the unusually large number of states with both Republican legislatures and governorships will sharply reduce the ability of Democrats to bring a little balance to the process.

States have long been in the paradoxical position of being closer to the lives of voters than the federal government, while receiving far less scrutiny and attention. But if Republicans begin abusing the privilege they have been handed, imposing unconscionable cuts and claiming an unfair partisan advantage, they may find the public’s outrage turning back on them in a hurry.

In Florida it’s in fact quite safe to say that Republicans will “begin abusing the privilege they have been handed.” They already have. They began abusing that privilege in less than 24 hours after the election last Tuesday by filing suit against Amendment 6, which will go against the will of the voters and stack the deck against them and in favor of Republican lawmakers.

All this before Governor elect Rick Scott, who was never charged with Medicare fraud, is even sworn in.

So I have to ask those voters who chose Rick Scott a question: I know it’s early, but has “voters remorse” started to kick in yet?

 

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Florida’s soon to be Governor Rick Scott-who was never charged with Medicare fraud-has a brand new transition website up and running.

Funny thing about that website is his “bio” page. If you read that bio page, and you’ve followed the news concerning Scott’s Columbia/HCA history, you’re likely to notice what’s missing.

The website addresses Scott’s departure from Columbia/HCA in 1997, but there’s no mention of the circumstances of his departure, nor is there any mention that the company “was fined by the government for Medicare fraud with more than $1.7 billion in fines and settlements” after Scott’s 1997 departure. During his campaign, Scott glossed over these facts by saying things like he “accepted responsibility” acknowledged that the company “made mistakes” and that he was “never charged with Medicare fraud.”

Well, apparently the days of “glossing over” are gone now that Scott is the Governor-elect. Those dark days from Columbia/HCA history are nowhere to be found on Scott’s new website. The bio page says, among other glowing details, that when Rick Scott left Columbia/HCA in 1997 “it was one of the most admired companies in America.” No mention of Medicare fraud. That’s it, and then we skip on to the next chapter with America’s Health Network which merged with FOX Entertainment to become The Health Network and then Discovery Health followed by Solantic, the private urgent care clinics Scott now owns.

So as a “candidate” Scott admitted the scandal but tried to explain away the details. Now as “Governor-elect,” Scott isn’t even glossing over the details. He simply “erased” any mention of the Medicare fraud scandal all together.

Also in the news is the new agenda for the veto proof Florida legislature and they are moving ahead rather quickly on several issues. Among them is a push to privatize Medicaid which would benefit clinics just like the ones owned by Rick Scott:

House and Senate leaders today said they will use a special legislative session this month to try to override Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of money for Shands teaching hospital and to “send a message” about overhauling Medicaid.

Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos and incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon outlined a series of issues they hope to address during a brief session Nov. 16 when lawmakers return to Tallahassee for an otherwise ceremonial meeting.

Overriding the veto of $9.7 million for Shands has long been discussed. But Haridopolos and Cannon also said they want to pass a resolution that would express their intent to revamp Medicaid and seek more leeway from the federal government about how the program is run…..

….Though details were not immediately available, that could involve moving to a statewide system of requiring beneficiaries to enroll in managed care — an issue the House proposed during this spring’s session.

Then we come to another issue from Scott’s campaign: limiting lawsuits against doctors, and guess what? They aren’t wasting any time with that one either:

One other idea that Haridopolos and Cannon said could be part of the resolution is expressing support for limiting lawsuits against doctors who serve Medicaid beneficiaries.

So the Republicans in Tallahassee went from saying that Scott’s scandalous past was a “liability” and that he should have withdrawn from the race for Governor, and that Scott wasn’t a “real Republican,” to not only accepting him into the Party despite his company’s Medicare fraud scandal,  but helping him act on his policies, perhaps to benefit Scott’s own private clinics.

Now your new Governor, who invested $73 million of his own money for his campaign, can have his cake and eat it too, with the help of the Republican controlled Florida legislature.

Nice work if you can get it.

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“I don’t know how we market in Florida.”

"I don't recall, I don't know what you mean by...., what do you mean by...., I wouldn't know, I'm not sure, say the question again, I don't know what that definition is, I'm not sure I understand, I have no idea, I'm not sure what you mean by...., Could you define what you mean by....? It looks like my signature....but what's your question?"

Here is some long awaited footage from a deposition Rick Scott gave on March 17, 1995. Scott’s former company, Columbia/HCA Health was fined a record $1.7 billion on charges of Medicare fraud, although Scott was never charged. Scott invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination 75 times in another case.

To say he’s a bit “evasive” in this deposition is an understatement. Keep in mind as you watch, Scott is also a lawyer.

You can read a summary of the cases and depositions here.

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Here’s the newest ad from Alex Sink illustrating Rick Scott and his history with Columbia/HCA, Medicare fraud, Solantic, and his “profits over patients” and business practices. It’s definitely worth watching.

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