Below is one of the first interviews since Tuesday’s Florida primary with Republican candidate for governor Rick Scott. While Florida Pundit wrote frequently about the Florida Senate race and our unqualified support for Marco Rubio, we thought long about taking a position in the governor race, but ultimately chose not to endorse a candidate.
Long-time conservative Florida politician Bill McCollum ran against entrepreneur Rick Scott who positioned himself as the outsider challenging politics as usual. We could see good in both candidates, but didn’t like the negative tone of the race where Scott accused McCollum of being just another typical politician without principles and McCollum accused Scott of unethical behavior specifically as CEO of a hospital chain that was found guilty of Medicare fraud.
Now that Rick Scott is the Republican nominee we hope that he continues to focus on his 7-7-7 plan which lays out seven sensible steps to create 700,000 jobs in Florida over seven years. He will also need to honestly and openly answer questions about his record as a businessman particularly around the HCA Medicare fraud scandal and address the doubts that many who voted for his Republican opponents still have.
In this interview, Scott is effective in explaining the central theme of jobs in his campaign. He rightly condemns Obama’s policies including Obamacare which he fought as the head of Conservatives for Patients Rights, a group he founded.
On the HCA question he makes the case that his company did a lot of good things in terms of providing cost-effective health care to patients. He will need to elaborate his response on the fraud scandal. He rightly takes responsibility for what happened and explains that he and his company weren’t good at interpreting government rules.
We sympathize with the difficulty of dealing with convoluted government bureaucracy, but also recognize that many medical providers ranging from individual physicians to large hospital chains have managed to avoid a conviction of fraud. It is important to understand that Scott was never charged with any wrongdoing. According to Wikipedia Scott “had argued that the company should fight the government’s charges, saying, ‘My belief when I was there was that if we did something wrong, then we would live up to any of our mistakes. If we didn’t do something wrong, we should not settle things.'”
It sounds like Scott honestly believed when he was CEO that his company had done nothing wrong and his fault was in not having enough controls in place to detect the company’s problematic practices. HCA was growing rapidly and anyone who has worked in a fast-growing business knows the challenge of balancing growth with maintaining control of the operation.
Scott should move quickly to explain what happened and be more specific on what he has learned from the experience so that he can focus on his pro-freedom agenda which differs sharply from his Democrat opponent Alex Sink, an ardent supporter of Obamacare and the Obama agenda.