Politics / Woods
Health Care Enemy No. 1: Rick Scott Leads Fight Against Obama Reforms
By Jeff Woods
on Mon, May 11, 2009 at 9:14 PM
Here's a TV ad by Conservatives for Patients' Rights. Doesn't Rick Scott make a really credible spokesman?
click to enlarge
Liberals are slapping their knees in delight over the choice of Rick Scott (of Columbia/HCA infamy) to head up Conservatives for Patients' Rights, a new group planning to spend $20 million to derail President Obama's health-care reforms. If they want to lose the PR war on this one, the opponents couldn't have picked a better spokesman. Scott is truly Health Care Enemy No. 1, as The Nation calls him in this article. Operating right here in Nashville (aren't we proud!) Columbia/HCA defrauded taxpayers by fudging Medicare and Medicaid expense reports and paid $1.7 billion in civil settlements, the biggest fine ever. Scott was forced to resign as CEO but wafted away with a golden parachute.
Rachel Maddow is mocking all this on her MSNBC program tonight and showing old footage of Scott stepping to the podium apparently announcing Columbia/HCA's decision to put its headquarters in Nashville. And who's that clapping madly in the background? Why, it's Phil Bredesen! How embarrassing for Phil. Lucky thing he wasn't chosen as HHS secretary, right? From The Nation:
Having Scott lead the charge against healthcare reform is like tapping Bernie Madoff to campaign against tighter securities regulation. You see, the for-profit hospital chain Scott helped found--the one he ran and built his entire reputation on--was discovered to be in the habit of defrauding the government out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
This is the man who will be delivering what Politico called the "pro-free-market message."
Congressman Pete Stark, a veteran of the last bruising round of fighting over healthcare reform, remembers Scott all too well. Stark recently sent his colleagues a letter hoping to refresh their memories. Calling Scott a "swindler," the letter said, "If he is the conservative spokesperson against healthcare reform, there is no debate."
Here's the Wonk Room's review of Scott's group's $20 million TV and radio ad campaign. By the way, it's coordinated by the PR firm that brought us the Swift Boat ads.