I talked briefly with Rick Scott, the chairman (and major funder) of Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, after he gave a short talk at the Heritage Foundation about his group’s efforts to create a grassroots movement against nationalized health care. After asking him about the reception he was getting for Republicans, I wanted to know whether his association with Columbia/HCA, the for-profit hospital company that he resigned from during an investigation that ended with a $1.7 billion fraud settlement, was a problem for CPR’s campaign.
TWI: Do you worry that your work at CPR could be seen as you nursing a grudge for what happened with Columbia/HCA?
RICK SCOTT: There’s no grudge. First off, if you go back and look at what we accomplished at Columbia/HCA, it was the lowest prices and best outcomes. I left and nothing happened to me. I can’t do anything about what people want to complain about. But if you look at what we’re doing, we’re doing the right things.
TWI: What, specifically?
RICK SCOTT: If you go look at Solantic [which Scott co-founded in 2001], we have transparency on prices, we’re dramatically less expensive than everyone else and we have a great service. Or go back and look at Columbia, look at all the objective measures. Go look at joint commission, accommodation, at accreditation. If you look at the top 100 hospitals, we started with less than seven percent of them. My last year, we had 27 percent of those hospitals. If you look at my management team, all of my management team went on and ran hospital companies.
TWI: People can still say, “Look, this was the guy who resigned in the biggest fraud settlement in American history.”
RICK SCOTT: But, you know, we were the biggest company. If you go back and look at the hospital industry, and the whole health care industry since the mid-1990s, it was basically constantly going through investigations. Great institutions, like ours, paid fines. It was too bad.
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