09/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Rick Sanchez Grills Rick Scott On Town Halls, Medicare Fraud (VIDEO)

CNN's Rick Sanchez went hard after Rick Scott, leader of Conservatives For Patients' Rights, first on his role in the anti-reform town hall protests and then on his old company's Medicare fraud.

Scott questioned the organization's role in disruptive protests at Democratic town halls.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, yeah. Do you take credit... There is your website. We take it all the way to the very top. People can see it. It is CPR, Conservatives for Patients' Rights. There, you tell people where they can go, to these town hall meetings. You tell them what they can do. You show them videos of what's been done so far. Some people have used the word orchestrated. I'm not sure what word you would use. Do you take credit for making sure this is going on?

SCOTT: It would be nice to, right? I believe that people ought to show up to these meetings and be nicer about it. They ought to show up and tell them what they think. I think they ought to show up whatever side you are on. You ought to let people know. We are going through a significant debate about what ought to happen in health care. Show up and tell them what you think.

SANCHEZ: Let's be fair about this. You are not trying to get everybody to go. You are ginning up the people who are going to object on your side. You have a lot to gain.

Scott merely responded with his strong belief that "government-run health care will be bad for you as a patient and a taxpayer and bad for our country. Most important, it would be bad for you as a patient." So Sanchez went after Scott's stance as an unbiased observer, given that he founded Columbia/HCA, a health care company found guilty of huge Medicare fraud.

Scott was ousted by his own board of directors in 1997 in the midst of the biggest health care fraud scandal in U.S. history, a scandal that ultimately led to a payment of $1.7 billion to settle charges including the overbilling of state and federal health programs.

Scott defended his former company, saying other health care companies had paid fines too. Sanchez cut in: "You are the guy that is sitting here telling us we can't allow the government to do this because it won't work and they might take over or do some things that are wrong. How much more wrong can you be than what you just said? Not only has your company screwed up and you just admitted it ... You are saying, look at all the other companies, they did the same thing."

Scott dodged the accusations, denying any involvement in the fraud or in paying the fines. After accusing him of "playing with the facts," Sanchez concluded:

I guess the point I am making, though, is look... some people are going to look at your record and some of the things that you and I just talked about and say, this is the guy who is leading this charge. Is he the one that we should be listening to? Not exactly a perfect past when it comes to what's right for taxpayers and patients.


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