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Democrats revisit 'Madoff of Medicare' as Team Scott touts boss's hospital history

You may recall that Gov. Rick Scott was forced out of the worldwide hospital chain he founded just before the company paid a record $1.7 billion in fines for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. (His severance was worth about $310 million.) It was one central themes of the 2010 campaign: Democrats spent millions to remind voters, Scott spent millions more to explain it away.

The fraud arguably could be the root of Scott's approval problems. But it has largely slipped out of the political discussion as the focus has been on the fresh news Scott makes on almost a daily basis as head of the nation's fourth largest state.

But Columbia/HCA is back.

At a Senate committee hearing today to present Scott's budget recommendation for next year, budget director Jerry McDaniel attempted to use Scott's hospital history as a selling point for a spending proposal that boosts education dollars by cutting Medicaid.

Cue this release from the Florida Democratic Party: 

This is not an article from The Onion.

Today, Gov. Rick Scott’s Budget Director Jerry McDaniel attempted to sell the Governor’s budget to members of the Senate Budget Committee by reiterating that the Madoff of Medicare knows a thing or two about Medicare/Medicaid, given he made “a lot of money” serving patients in these programs.

Not sure touting the Governor’s record-breaking fraud history is the best selling point for reforming Medicaid and Medicare.

Podcast available here (timestamp 1:53:56). Transcript below:

"The governor operated 343 hospitals while he was in business. 

“He was very successful at it. He said his best paying clients were Medicaid and Medicare.

“He loved serving those populations.

“He was able to make a lot of money doing that."



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Of course Scott knows where the Medicaid money can be cut without truly hurting the hospitals.

That knowledge comes from how his company made so much money that they felt obliged to try to hide the profits from the government.


Now that I'm on Medicare, I'm amazed how little was paid for my cancer treatment, including hospitalization. Much less than BCBS pays. And Medicaid pays far less. The paying public is going to see its access to health care cut if Medicaid does not pay. Especially since poor adults in Florida are rarely eligible for Medicaid, costing the hospsitals far more. Also, these cuts mean less federal matching funds. There are some nightmare stories out there about the poor care some of Scott's hospitals provided in addition to the Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare fraud.

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