Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Rick Scott Problem: Florida's Latest Political Misque

After the electoral problems we faced in Florida in 2000 one hoped that our problems were behind us.  However, the elections in 2010 proved that my hope was misplaced and naive. This was the plea I sent to voters in Florida before the election of Rick Scott as our 44th Governor.  Admittedly it was the wrong track to take as it did not prevent Mr. Scott's election.  Perhaps the better way to go was to point out Alex Sink's strengths vs. Mr. Scott's weaknesses and disqualifications for holding a position of trust in any enterprise not to mention a state.

      If you have a loved one in Florida that might vote for this guy – please have a heart to heart with them and deal with only the facts.
      Rick Scott thinks he can be governor because he does not recognize the difference in the missions of business and governance.
      The changes he made in health care while in charge of Columbia and Columbia/HCA can still be felt by anyone entering a facility once owned by them – reduced patient care due to cutting staffing to unrealistic & sometimes unsupportable productivity goals – physicians limited only to supplies approved by non-physician managers and pressure on hospitals to meet expected increasing operating margins to support stock prices and we can go on.
      His headlong rush to acquire more hospitals to enrich himself led to creating an operating environment where malfeasance could occur instead of doing the hard work of ensuring that the business was run correctly – a problem that would have plagued him in any industry.
      Failure to take full responsibility for his actions preferring to sound a bit paranoid by saying the Federal Government went on a witch hunt and that he was a victim.
      Costing his former company, its patients, physicians, employees and investors $1.7 billion in fines and another $300 million (estimated) on his getaway – the golden parachute. That’s $2 billion dollars the board of directors parted with so they could be rid of Rick Scott. That could have provided a lot of good patient care but is instead being used to launch his political career.
      Let me make one thing perfectly clear – Rick Scott says he’s an outsider, a novice politico. I submit to you he’s been a practicing politician for some time now.
It seems that I am doomed to be a hopeful fool as I did allow myself to hope for the best despite the election of Rick Scott by a tide of youthful and Tea Partying supporters.  As the days dwindle down to his inauguration I see some reason to be concerned about his stand on these issues:
  • Health Care Reform - Rick Scott led a very visible opposition to the Health Care Reform Act when he spent a lot of his own money to form and act as the chief spokesperson the CPR campaign.  According to Rick's own web site he has not changed his desire to overturn the law that helps so many that are uninsured and therefore at the mercy of a for profit health care industry.
  • Public Education - Rick Scott has called for the expanded use of vouchers initiated by then Governor Jeb Bush.  The plan would eliminate many jobs in Florida as the wealthy would get unneeded  subsidies to send their children to exclusive and often restricted private schools.  Additionally, the plan would be open to massive fraud - an opportunity with which Mr. Scott  is familiar.
  • Public Safety - Rick Scott has floated the idea that the prisons in the state could make do with a little more than half their current budget.  He has also called for privatizing the health care of inmates makes sense too.  Mr. Scott is showing himself to be too wedded to a single issue - health care and additional opportunities for rip-offs.
Now we have an unindicted fraud-master surrounding himself with a bunch of yes men and women that he will be able to use to deflect any future charges of malfeasance.  He will be very busy reducing benefits to the unemployed, poor, working poor and lower middle class to the benefit of his wealthy buddies in the form of business breaks and lower property taxes.  Rick hasn't made me feel any better about his election, in fact, I am becoming more and more concerned about Florida's future with this rookie politician thinking he can just wing it.  Remember, he wasn't at fault at HCA - it was his other managers that let him down and he took one for the team - except the Scott team had one player and he got a great payoff to go away.

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