Corporations Squeezing The Most Out Of Medicare

It was March 19, 1997 when the FBI, the IRS and the Dept. of  Health and Human Services knocked on the door of a company in El Paso,Texas. There was another government agency that was involved – Defense Department’s Criminal Investigation Service. The company under investigation was Columbia/HCA. CEO of the company was Rick Scott. The company’s headquarters was in Nashville, Tennessee.

Darla Moore, the head of Rainwater Inc., the wife of a billionare, was the one that had helped Scott with the initial investments several years earlier.

U.S. government agencies brought with them a fleet of Ryder trucks to haul away documents that were to be confiscated. Among the thousands of documents that were seized, the government was most interested about the ones concerning Medicare. Medicare fraud was the main focus (NY Times).

The settlements were being solved during the years between 2000-2002. Columbia pled guilty of 14 felonies. The charges: overcharging the government by claiming marketing costs as reimbursable, striking illegal deals with home care agencies, fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs, and by filing false data about use of hospital space.

Within a decade, Rick Scott had started a company out of nothing and turned it into the largest health care in the world. One worth $20 billion, owning 350 hospitals and 550 home health care offices in 38 states (NY Times). Scott’s company was buying out other hospitals like gangbusters.

After government agencies had raided locations in seven states, CEO Rick Scott was forced to resign. The company that he had built had to let him go. Scott was paid a settlement of $9.88 million, and left with 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million.

Columbia/HCA was fined by the government, a total of $1.7 billion, the largest in the history of the United States. Rick Scott refused to cooperate with the government and during his deposition he pled the fifth amendment 75 times, in order to not incriminate himself.

Scott would later co-found another health care company called Solantic in 2001. Scott invested $62 million in Solantic and years later would put the company in his wife’s name, after becoming the governor of Florida (St Petersburg Times).

And now Florida’s Governor Rick Scott wants the needy recipients of Florida to take mandatory drug tests. A law that he passed which takes effect on July 1, 2011 – requires all adults that apply for federal Temporary Assistance to take a drug test (CNN).

And here’s the dazzling part of the governor’s conniving scheme – all needy folks that apply will have to pay for the drug tests themselves. Which will profit private health care companies tremendously.

Rep. Corrine Brown fiercely attacked the governor and his passed legislation. Brown said that Scott could profit from the testing through his company Solantic.

According to the St Petersburg Times article, Scott sold his shares of Solantic to Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. But the controversy still surrounds the governor and his ties with the company. Not to mention the controversy that Scott has created with the bill. Many have called it unconstitutional.

Gov. Rick Scott is one of the least popular governors in America, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University. The poll shows that 57% of voters disapprove of Scott (The Miami Herald).  And he was once  involved in the biggest health care fraud case in America.