Thursday, April 02, 2009

Truly Brazen

The newest opponent to President Obama's still undefined health care proposal is Richard L. Scott, who is financing his own campaign against any move toward a publicly financed health care access program. A relentless bottom-line businessman, Mr. Scott is even starring in his own advertisements, according to this article in the NY Times.

Mr. Scott is starring in his own rotation of advertisements against the broad outlines of President Obama’s health care plans. (“Imagine waking up one day and all your medical decisions are made by a central, national board,” he warns in a radio spot.) He has dispatched camera crews to other countries to document the perils of socialized medicine.

The fun part of the story is that Mr. Scott has quite a history when it comes to providing health care:

Once lauded for building Columbia/HCA into the largest health care company in the world, Mr. Scott was ousted by his own board of directors in 1997 amid the nation’s biggest health care fraud scandal. The company’s guilty plea and payment of $1.7 billion to settle charges including the overbilling of state and federal health programs was taken as a repudiation of Mr. Scott’s relentless bottom-line approach.

“He hopes people don’t Google his name,” said John E. Hartwig, a former deputy inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, one of various state and federal agencies that investigated Columbia/HCA when Mr. Scott was its chief executive.

“He’s a great symbol from our point of view,” said Richard J. Kirsch, the national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now. “We cannot have a better first person to attack health care reform than someone who ran a company that ripped off the government of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Conservative health care activists, while glad to have a potential ally willing to spend $5 million out of his own pocket, are not fully embracing Mr. Scott, noting that he is entering a changed landscape in which some Republicans and industry groups that opposed President Bill Clinton’s health care proposals now view some form of change as necessary and inevitable.

Mr. Scott clearly views the provision of health care to be a great way to make money, a lot of it, something he was quite successful at until he got busted for creating a milieu in which fraud was required to keep the bottom line looking healthy. In that regard, while he may be an extreme example, he's not all that different than private health insurance companies who also are in the business of making a profit.

Perhaps someone from the liberal groups pushing for a single payer program should produce a rebuttal to Mr. Scott's ads, one in which the following appears:

"Imagine waking up one day and all of your medical decisions are made by bean-counters. It shouldn't be hard: those of you fortunate to have health insurance wake up to that fact every single day."

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Anonymous bo said...

Oh, dear! that was close! The word verifcation string is "flatio" LOL

Anyway, the perfect charicature for Mr. Scott, would be a giant sucking leech.

4:59 AM  

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