Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dumb Answer by Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott is stuck on talking points and cannot speak like a normal human being. Case in point is Scott being questioned on a Tampa Bay Times investigative article on Scott's former company Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). Turns out HCA has been overcharging patients who come into trauma centers.

As the Times' investigation noted, since trauma center response fees were created in 2002, the tab has steadily ballooned, increasing at 20 times the rate of inflation since 2006. Today the average non-HCA trauma center response fee is about $6,754. But HCA can charge as much as $33,000 — the highest in the state.

Scott was questioned by the press corp. on the overbilling of HCA. Scott went into usual conservative talking points about competition.

Q: The Tampa Bay Times just published an investigation regarding the fees that trauma centers can charge patients the moment they arrive. It can go up to $33,000 before any procedure is done. Is this proper in your mind? And what should the government’s role be to monitor these fees?

Scott: What I’ve always believed in healthcare is people need to know what it’s going to cost. You know, let’s create competition so patients have an option. Let’s make sure people can afford to buy the insurance they want to buy, at least make sure to reward people for taking care of themselves so in the case of health care I want to make sure that it’s transparent people know what it’s going to cost them.

Q: With trauma centers, you can’t determine which you are going to and usually there is an accident that you can’t control to become a trauma patient, so what should government’s role be in regulating these fees?

Scott: I believe in transparency. I think people ought to know what things are going to cost.

Scott does not believe in transparency. Scott's staff have used nongovernment email addresses, refused to release his travel schedule, and with held information on the TB outbreak all to avoid complying with Florida's Sunshine laws.

Furthermore, Scott was forced to resign from HCA because the company massively overbilled Medicare. the Justice Department found HCA guilty of fraud.

Previously, on December 14, 2000, HCA subsidiaries pled guilty to substantial criminal conduct and paid more than $840 million in criminal fines, civil restitution and penalties. Combined with today's separate administrative settlement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), under which HCA will pay an additional $250 million to resolve overpayment claims arising from certain of its cost reporting practices, the government will have recovered $1.7 billion from HCA, by far the largest recovery ever reached by the government in a health care fraud investigation.

Still believe Rick Scott cares about transparency?

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