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Governor Scott of Florida

January 2011

Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D.

What do the following two people have in common? The first is a person who, according to Wikipedia:

In 1987 helped found the Columbia Hospital Corporation with two business partners; this merged with Hospital Corporation of America in 1989 to form Columbia/HCA and eventually became the largest private for-profit health care company in the U.S. He was forced to resign as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 amid a scandal over the company’s business and Medicare billing practices.

The second is the person who was just elected governor of Florida.

The answer: they are the same person — Rick Scott.

Following his election in Florida last November, a profile by Rick Kroll, on the Mother Jones website, had the following additional information on now-governor Scott:

Scott brings to the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee quite a checkered past. For starters, there’s that $1.7 billion federal fine — the largest of its kind [at that time] in American history — slapped on the hospital chain that Scott founded and led as CEO, Columbia/HCA, for health care overbilling. (Scott was not charged in the federal investigation, but the company pleaded guilty to 14 felony charges.) Since then, Scott has fended off similar accusations of overbilling by Solantic, the health clinic chain he subsequently founded and in which he’s the majority investor.

As for Scott’s policy positions, they hew pretty closely to the Republican party line. He’s pro-life. He opposes same-sex marriage rights. He’s called for bringing an Arizona-type immigration law to Florida ... And despite the BP Macondo well disaster, Scott wants to expand offshore drilling off of Florida’s coastlines.

Good luck, Florida! May your residents, shores and beaches survive Gov. Scott.

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