Rick Scott Just Can’t Stop Shoveling Federal Money to HCA

The resemblance is . . . striking.

Rick Scott, who remarkably is Florida’s Governor rather than an inmate in the federal prison system, just can’t break out of the behavior that resulted in HCA (where he was CEO) paying a record $1.7 billion in fines to the federal government for Medicare fraud and taking the Fifth Amendment no less than 75 times in a subsequent deposition. Today, we learn that despite apparently no longer owning a significant amount of HCA stock (pdf), Scott’s latest proposal for cutting state funding to hospitals in order to restore funding to education would selectively enrich HCA hospitals while putting in place draconian cuts at public hospitals that provide large amounts of service to the poor and uninsured.

Of course, we knew from even before Scott took office that he planned to punish public hospitals in the state at the expense of private ones (the original Miami Herald article on this topic no longer comes up when searching their site, so one of the multiple online copies is used here):

Florida’s government-owned hospitals will be in the political cross hairs after Tuesday’s inauguration of Rick Scott, once leader of the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain.

The governor-elect’s transition team has recommended creation of a panel to study whether government-owned hospitals — Miami-Dade’s Jackson Health System among them – are necessary.

So, given that Scott has a history of illegally enriching HCA and that we knew from before he was even sworn into office that he wanted to end public hospitals, this should not be a surprise:

Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to cut about $2 billion in public funding to hospitals that care for the poor is devastating and even ridiculous, say hospital leaders who predict patient care will suffer if it is enacted.

/snip/

But because most Medicaid dollars come from the federal government, the move would free up about $422 million in state tax dollars for education. The rest would be federal matching funds that Florida would lose, said Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association.

Oh that’s just brilliant, isn’t it? Scott wants to lose more than a billion and a half in federal funding just so he can cut hospital funding by a little under half a billion. But those cuts are not administered fairly:

What’s more, he and others say, Scott has structured the cuts in a way that hits hardest at “safety net” hospitals that provide the most care for poor people. Yet a few for-profit hospitals — including some owned by Scott’s former employer Hospital Corporation of America — would actually get more tax funds under his plan.

Tampa General Hospital and All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg would each face estimated cuts of more than $70 million, according to the Florida Hospital Association. But three Pinellas HCA hospitals — Largo Medical Center, St. Petersburg General and Northside — would each get a few million more.

The obligatory “I have not seen those numbers” quote from Scott denying that he was aware his plan enriches his old partners in crime is not in the least credible.

Only someone as warped as Rick Scott could come up with the idea that the proper way to fund education is to deny healthcare treatment for the poor while enriching healthcare robber barons. Scott’s plan has not yet been enacted into to law and there are even suggestions that some Republicans in the legislature won’t go along with the plan as structured, so there is a small bit of hope that at least a little bit of sanity can be folded back into Florida’s budgeting plan for next year.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

4 Responses to Rick Scott Just Can’t Stop Shoveling Federal Money to HCA

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @powellnyt @RikStevensAP Ooof. There is always next year!
2mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @JamesRisen: Given the costs the White House charges the media for flying with the president, that was a very expensive barter -- cake f…
16mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Your dogged and determined White House Press Pool hard at work reporting on the machinations of democracy: https://t.co/DCZIng2jgo
18mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @JamesRisen: Really? "On Air Force One, Pres Obama negotiates no press gaggle for @PressSec in exchange for "Death by Chocolate" Cake f…
19mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @trevortimm @JamesRisen As I said yesterday, that is a SHITLOAD of subpoenas for a prosecution case.
27mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @brianjbowe You don't have those vicious pumpkin eating squirrels we've got over on James? @nickmanes1
31mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @benjaminwittes @johnsonr @tcwittes I'm telling ya, the bunny rabbit would take Ben. It ain't no ordinary bunny rabbit!
36mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @brianjbowe Love the jack-o-art. @nickmanes1
38mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @wellsbennett @benjaminwittes @JyShapiro @Doranimated No one will fight Wells Bunny Rabbit Got mean streak mile wide https://t.co/0sTg7gPSEg
38mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @davidw76 Exactly. You never know which way the clown show will go.
44mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Transparency for thee, but not for me? http://t.co/0FNdj5ECsB via @joshgerstein with a nice channeling of Nat Hentoff
46mreplyretweetfavorite
January 2012
S M T W T F S
« Dec   Feb »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031