In Scott We [Don’t] Trust
This is Governor Rick Scott of Florida. Perhaps because he was elected with less than 50% of the vote, Scott prefers to rub elbows with fellow conservatives and pretend that the non-GOP portion of the state population doesn’t exist.
When Scott submitted his budget proposal last month (a budget that slashes billons from education and cuts one of the nation’s lowest corporate tax rates to zero), he did it at a Baptist church before a crowd of 1,000 or so elderly Central Florida tea partiers, who attended at the behest of Koch Bros.-front organization Americans for Prosperity.
Last night, Scott attended a county GOP dinner and dished about President Obama and Scott’s fellow state execs at the recent National Governors’ Association meeting:
“I was with the president,” Scott said of the recent National Governors Association meetings at the White House. “Most of the Republican governors said, look, just give us a block grant for Medicaid. We’ll take care of our citizens. But the president doesn’t trust us. And I said, look, from our standpoint, if I do the wrong thing, I’ll get unelected. So I care about the citizens of Florida. There’s a belief in D.C. that they care more about our citizens than we do. Why would that be?”
It is puzzling. Why on earth wouldn’t the president trust Rick Scott with a gigantic check to invest in health care services? Well, there’s this:
In July 1997, FBI agents raided Columbia/HCA accounting offices in seven states, including Florida. Within days, Columbia’s board of directors ousted [CEO] Scott, but gave him a nearly $10 million severance package, including stock shares worth $300 million and a $1 million a year consulting contract.
The company wound up paying more than $1.7 billion for defrauding the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs. Scott says he didn’t know about his company’s fraudulent billing practices and if he had, he’d have fired those responsible. But company whistleblower John Schilling of Naples says Scott must be lying.
“He’s pulling the wool over your eyes if he says that he wasn’t aware of this and he would have fired anybody if he would have been aware of it. I think it’s a bunch of malarkey,” Schilling said.
Schilling worked for Columbia as a Medicare reimbursement supervisor in Fort Myers. His whistleblower case, along with others, helped put an end to the fraud and hold the company accountable.
Could that have something to do with it? Kudos to the president for not trusting that beady-eyed weasel.