The Evilest of Evil CEOs Swiftboating Health Reform

Personal Health

Did I miss the blogospheric attacks on this guy or is this the first we've heard of it?  

You've probably seen the ads. Ominous voice-overs warn you about how health care reform "could put a bureaucrat in charge of your medical decisions, not you." A massive bulldozer with "government-run insurance plan" written on the side crushes your health care "choices." Canadians and Britons relay horror stories of their experiences dealing with health care in those nightmarish socialist dystopias.

The ads are the product of a multimillion-dollar ad campaign designed to derail health care reform—especially what's been dubbed the "public option," which would set up a government-run plan to compete with private insurers. The man behind this ad blitz is the person who might be Public Option Enemy No. 1: one-time hospital executive and longtime Republican donor Richard Scott.


Scott certainly is an odd spokesman for the right's health care agenda. The giant hospital company Scott led in the 1980s and 1990s, Columbia/HCA, was the subject of a seven-year federal investigation. The probe concluded with the company pleading guilty to 14 felony counts of criminal misconduct and paying $1.7 billion to settle civil charges relating to overbilling of state and federal governments—the largest settlement of its kind in American history. Scott, claiming ignorance of what was going on, was booted by his own board in 1997 and received a $10 million golden parachute with $300 million in stock options for his troubles. [...]

Scott doesn't seem eager to remind visitors to CPR's website of his past. Not surprisingly, the "Fast Facts about Richard L. Scott" section contains no mention of the HCA fraud scandal, though it does highlight the fact that HCA "became the world's largest private health care provider" and was named "one of the 50 best performing companies of the S&P 500" by BusinessWeek. The bio does mention Scott's current venture, a company called Solantic, which "provides urgent care services, immunizations and other services at 23 locations"—including some in Wal-Mart stores—"across Florida." What it doesn't explain is that Solantic makes a lot of its money by catering to the uninsured—giving Scott a direct financial interest in preventing the expansion of health insurance to all Americans.

It seems to me that it should be somebody's job to expose this man. He's the most evil of evil CEOs. He should be a reviled and loathed character on par with the lowliest criminals at this point, and yet he's on TV lying about health care for his own profit. How can this be?

His ads are running on a loop and there should, at least, be some sort of pushback. According to the article, he's just considered a "nuisance" by public plan advocates, which I think is just bizarre.

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