Rick Scott’s Self-Enriching Medicaid Plan
The wave of hard-right governors who swept into office in 2010 is remarkable, but no figure among the bunch is as remarkable as Florida governor Rick Scott. It’s a big state, and you’d think the conservative movement could have found a standard bearer who’s not a crook whose company was specifically involved in defrauding the government. But between resigning as CEO of Columbia/HCA because of his involvement in Medicare fraud and becoming governor, he founded a company called Solantic. Upon becoming governor he could have rid himself of Solantic-related conflicts of interest by selling his stake in the company and investing the funds in something else. But instead he deployed the fig leaf of transferring his ownership share to his wife.
Now, as Suzy Khim explains, he’s rapidly moving to use his authority as governor to enrich Solantic and therefore himself:
As part of a federally approved pilot program that began in 2005, certain Medicaid patients in Florida were allowed to start using their Medicaid dollars at private clinics like Solantic. The Medicaid bill that Scott is now pushing would expand the pilot privatization program to the entire state of Florida, offering Solantic a huge new business opportunity. [...]
On Tuesday, he signed an executive order requiring random drug testing of many state employees and applicants for state jobs. He’s also urged state legislators to pass a similar bill that would require drug testing of poor Floridians applying for welfare.
Among the services that Solantic offers: drug testing.
There are two possibilities here, neither of which reflect well on Scott. One is that Scott is pushing a bad policy agenda in order to enrich himself. The other is that Scott is pushing a good policy agenda whose political sustainability he’s undermining by creating the appearance that he’s just looking to enrich himself.