Health care entrepreneur Rick Scott is personally bankrolling a multimillion dollar campaign against health care reform. Scott used to run the largest hospital chain in the country, until the firm was found to have defrauded Medicare out of $2 billion. Scott was never charged, but he was sent packing in the wake of the scandal. He has since founded Solantic, a Florida chain of bare-bones walk-in clinics that profit by offering the uninsured lower rates than they'd get at the ER. Why are their rates lower? Because hospitals currently jack up the price of ER visits to compensate for the fact that so many uninsured patients don't pay their bills at all. If we had universal health insurance, everyone would pay the same price and Solantic wouldn't seem like such a good deal.
As Korten and I discuss in our interview, Scott has been accused of discriminating against employees who don't meet his marketing-driven image of an attractive, "clean cut," young staff. Solantic recently settled out of court with several staffers who said they were fired for refusing to enforce the company's biased hiring policies.
Korten's in-depth investigation of Rick Scott, his checkered business history, and his advocacy group Conservatives for Patients' Rights was published as a two-part series in Salon this week. His work was supported by a grant from the Nation Institute.