On Friday, Rick Sanchez went after Conservatives For Patient's Rights, another one of these groups that likes to pretend to want "real reform" when what they really want is a big ol' dollop of status quo. Rick Scott, who heads up the organization, is a real piece of work, the kind of guy you cross the street to avoid. His Hospital Corporation of America bilked the government by fraudulently "upcoding" Medicare billing codes, and it ended up paying $1.7 billion in penalties for stealing from American taxpayers. You might also recall that when Health Care For America Now called Scott out in an advertisement, CPR and Scott manufactured a phony controversy that took me about five minutes to debunk. Scott has hobbies, too, among them "sitting on the board of a company used by Saudi Arabia and Iran to suppress Internet access." All you guys out there with green-tinted Twitter avatars should take note!
Sanchez's attention is focused on CPR's recent "Vacation" ad, in which CPR demands that Obama drop the public option, while pretending to be concerned with enacting health care reform. But this isn't the first time that Sanchez has gone after Rick Scott, and in this clip, he replays a contentious interview the two men had back on August 7 to call into question their current efforts. Of particular note to me was this exchange:
SANCHEZ: By the way, let me ask you a question. Your company was accused of something called "upcoding." That means they treated patients for something minor, but charged the government -- the taxpayers -- for something expensive. That was the accusation.
SCOTT: I have no idea. Rick, Rick, I have no idea. I never did anything with Medicare. I started a company, I bought hospitals, I bought HCA, I bought all the Humana hospitals...
Sanchez changes the subject, unfortunately, because the next question should have probed how on Earth this upcoding could have happened on Scott's watch, and if Scott actually believes that the CEO of a company is not ultimately responsible for its actions. Sanchez eventually worked his way back to it, as Scott attempted to suggest that the fines were paid out after he had left the company. Sanchez points out that the fraud itself took place during Scott's tenure. Scott's response to that is to point out that the fraud also took place before and after he was CEO.
So, Rick Scott came aboard, embraced fraudulent practices, which naturally continued after he left, and he thinks he deserves a pass from responsibility. Like I said, you see this guy coming up the sidewalk, give him a wide berth.