In office for only half a year, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has made clear to the people of his state what he’s made of: right-wing ideological Silly Putty.
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Scott had been CEO of the huge health care conglomerate, Columbia/HCA, until he was forced to resign after the corporation got caught in one of the biggest Medicare frauds in U.S. history. Now, having used his personal fortune to squeeze out a slim victory in last year’s governor’s race, he’s pulling off his own fraud against Floridians.
As a corporate dogmatist, Scott hates, hates, hates, anything having to do with public health care. He views one’s health not as a human matter, but as a marketplace issue to be decided by personal choice and competition. Thus, in a state with the second-highest rate of people without health coverage, he is rejecting federal health care funds. “There are a lot of programs that the federal government would like to give you that don’t fit your state,” says the governor (who, by the way, willingly accepts state-paid health coverage for himself)
What health care programs does he consider unfit for Florida? Here’s one: helping long-term patients get out of nursing homes to be cared for in their own homes. Hello, lots of elderly folks live in Florida. How does shunning this money help them? Then there’s money to provide hospice care for severely ill low-income children, in-home counseling to curb child abuse, education on preventing teen pregnancies, expansion of community health centers, and state prevention of rip-off premium hikes by insurance giants – all rejected by the governor.
It’s not these programs that “don’t fit” Florida – it’s Rick Scott. His fraudulent insistence that health care is best left to corporate profiteers helps to explain why only a third of Floridians approve of the job he’s doing.